Opinion

Censorship and Why Opinion Pieces Are “Newsworthy”: OPINION

By Caroline Gilmore ~ Marketing Manager

A couple of weeks ago, The Critograph’s Instagram posted a photo reminding readers to check out the latest issue which contained a segment in it entitled “Faith’s Faith: David’s Trust and the Afterlife,” written by Faith Mccray, Copy Desk Chief.

The post was met with mixed responses, from people supporting the column to those condemning it.

One commenter wrote “The irony of this being right after your post about pride (joy emoji),” which prompted alumni Peter Lynch to ask “This is journalism?”.

The harsh reactions to this post were confusing for a multitude of reasons. 

First, the Psalm in question, Psalm 16, has nothing to do with pride, LGBTQ+ relationships, or anything remotely related to those values.

Rather, Psalm 16 talks about David’s relationship with God and how he has learned to trust in him and rejoice in his salvation and protection even when things seem like they will never improve.

If anything, this Psalm could be applied to the struggles that many LGBTQ+ people face, of feeling disconnected from their families, or even society as a whole, but still having hope that things will get better, the same way that David trusted in God.

The idea that LGBTQ+ pride and religion do not belong together is a false argument built on the belief that the two communities do not intermingle, however it would be over-generalizing and stereotyping to assume that all LGBTQ+ people are not religious, or that all religious people do not support the LGBTQ+ community.

Believing either of those assumptions creates more division among a community that is already so marginalized and can only continue cycles of harm.

Second, this segment, where Mccray writes an exegesis on a piece of scripture, has been published in The Critograph four times before.

However, this is the first time that The Critograph’s Instagram account has ever posted about the segment.

The only conclusion that can be made is that the added publicity for the article also drew more scrutiny.

Third, The Critograph has published articles about the Wiccan religion, opinion articles, poetry, horoscopes and other topics that are not traditionally considered “newsworthy” or “journalism”, but we still believe are valued perspectives and artistic contributions of our campus community.

Fourth, Lynch asked if there was interest in Christian-based content on campus.

The University of Lynchburg is associated with the Christian church. There are several religious groups on campus, including CRU Ministry, which seeks to involve college students in Christianity. There are also organizations representing other religions, including the Hinduism club and the Buddhist society.

The Critograph allows for the publication of religious texts from any group or author on campus, regardless of their religion. Simply put, if anyone wants to write articles on texts of other faiths, they are more than welcome to do so and submit at critograph@lynchburg.edu.

Lastly, I would like to remind the Critograph’s readers that we do welcome your criticism. In fact, we would like you to write to us if you ever have an issue with the content published. 

We welcome you to write a letter to our Editor-in-Chief, Alyssa Wilson, and we will publish it in the next edition of the Critograph, with her reply.

Thank you for supporting our collective Hornet voice.

Nerd Factor: The Buzz About Buzz

Dr. Mike ~ UL Communications Studies Professor

Recently I watched this summer’s Pixar blockbuster that wasn’t a blockbuster, Lightyear. I found myself enjoying a film on a streaming platform that a few months earlier just did not generate much excitement in the theaters. I started to wonder, would Lightyear be a much stronger film if it wasn’t about Buzz Lightyear? And if so, then why was Buzz Lightyear in Lightyear?

Lightyear rolls out as a strange subspecies of prequel. Offering itself up as a curious kind of origin story, the film does not explore Buzz Lightyear’s life before he met Woody and the rest of the Toy Story gang. After all, how could it? Buzz’s realization that he is a toy is at the comedic heart of the original Toy Story (1995). We can’t have Buzz learn that he is a toy only to somehow have him forget that he is a toy to then learn he is a toy again later. 

While we know that there are hundreds of Buzz Lightyear toys out there in the Toy Story universe, we also cannot follow a different Buzz because we know that the “real” Buzz Lightyear is the one owned by the young boy Andy. We may have learned to accept that Buzz moved on to be Bonnie’s toy later, but Buzz’s individuality, his essence as a character, comes from Andy’s name scrawled on the bottom of his boot. 

Leaving aside that paradoxically inspiring yet somehow also soul-crushing existential theory about identity, we must consider that any attempt to expand Buzz Lightyear’s story backwards in time cannot comfortably work within the continuity established by Toy Story. 

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Faith’s Faith: David’s Trust and The Afterlife

Faith McCray ~ Copy Desk Chief 

Photo of Sunset over Bridge By Faith McCray

Psalm 16 is a miktam of David. 1 Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. 2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” 3 I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.” 4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips. 5 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. 6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. 7 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. 8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, 10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. 11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

David asked the Lord to keep him safe, as he was constantly battling something in his life (Psalm 119:8;Psalm 144:1). David learned to trust in the Lord for safety at a young age. His battle with Goliath is a great example of this (1 Samuel 17:46-47). 

He confessed that God is in fact his Lord. David also mentions that the Lord is his sole good. Without God, David was and is nothing. 

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Nerd Factor: Batgirl Interrupted

by Dr. Mike Robinson ~ UL Communications Study Professor

https://www.theverge.com/2022/8/3/23289562/megamerger-hbo-max-warner-bros-discovery-batgirl

In this modern era of superhero movie dominance, the recent decision to shelve the completed $90 million Batgirl movie prophesies dark times to come at HBO Max. 

As a character, Batgirl has long faced an uphill struggle. The first version of the character was created mostly to be a romantic foil for Robin the Boy Wonder, someone to keep the youthful sidekick busy while her mentor Batwoman tried to lure Batman into matrimony. 

The best-known version of the character arrived in comics and on television in the same year. Barbara Gordon was introduced as a way to improve ratings when the show’s popularity waned. While that Batgirl could not save the series, she became a mainstay in the DC Comics universe for about two decades until a violent attack by the Joker left Gordon paralyzed. Since then, a few other characters have claimed the role and Gordon herself recovered and resumed her crime fighting. 

Old school superhero fans have a curious attitude about the media. We hold comic books as sacred, the original texts that gave us our beloved heroes. Comic books are where superheroes are at their best However, we also love to see those characters make it to the screens of other media. Film looms particularly large in this way, the size of the audiences and the screen itself gives everything that big movie feel. Aside from an unimpressive performance by Alicia Silverstone in the painful Batman & Robin movie, Batgirl has not appeared in any other big screen Batman adventure. That is why the prospect of a Batgirl movie was so exciting. Even though this particular project was actually going to run exclusively on HBO Max, it felt big in a big screen way. 

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David’s Response to Absalom 

Faith McCray ~ Copy Desk Chief 

Close-up photo of leaves with the words “Psalm 3”, Faith McCray 

Psalm 3 is a Psalm of David.1 Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! 2 Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” 3 But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. 4 I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain. 5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. 6 I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side. 7 Arise, Lord! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. 8 From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.  

This Psalm was written by David when he fled from his son, Absalom. During this time Absalom attempted to overthrow David and even tried sending 12,000 men to kill him (2 Samuel 17: 1-3). Most readers will probably not be able to relate to the exact circumstances that are being described. However, they can recall events in their own lives when people have hurt them. 

David’s fight with Absalom was not the first time that he was mocked. When David was a child, he was mocked by many people. An example of this is Goliath. Goliath was a Philistine giant from Gath. He was known to have stood six cubits and a span (1 Samuel 17).  

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Nerd Factor: We Think You May Find Our Spider-Man Just a Bit Different

By Dr. Michael Robinson ~ UL Communication Studies Professor

Amazing Fantasy #15 https://www.marvel.com/comics/issue/81303/amazing_fantasy_facsimile_edition_2019_1

Except for its cover story, Amazing Fantasy #15 was a routine comic filled with conventional twist-ending sci-fi stories. An elderly man’s commitment to ringing the town bell is rewarded during a disaster. A fleeing criminal makes the mistake of trusting a talking mummy in a museum. An ordinary family couple turns out to be Martians hiding out amongst humanity. 

Spider-Man was something new. When that wall-crawling “long underwear type” first hit the stands on August 1, 1962, he changed everything. 

You know the origin story by now because of the fairly faithful movie adaptations. A young orphan named Peter Parker lives with his kindly Uncle Ben and Aunt May. The older couple dote upon and encourage the boy as much as their modest means allow. Yet for all his academic acumen, Peter is lonely, unable to fit in with the cruel bullies and popular snobs of his high school. 

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Nerd Factor: Neal Adams Was There

Dr. Mike ~ UL Communications Study Professor

https://www.republicworld.com/entertainment-news/hollywood-news/legendary-comic-artist-neal-adams-who-drew-superhero-characters-like-batman-dies-at-80-articleshow.html

Over the weekend, we lost one of the truly great figures in comics art when Neal Adams passed away at the age of 90. Adams was a titan of the industry. His bold artistic style literally broke the comics page, moving out from the common practice of rectilinear panels with wild abandon. Pulse pounding action sequences on Adam’s pages were spaced around diagonal lines and sometimes the figures of characters themselves. Adams was also a master of expression. You always knew exactly what his heroes and villains were thinking by the looks on their faces. 

There is a tendency among longtime fans to be a bit insufferable about the impact of older comics. I would never want to be one of those “the book is better” types. However, if you really love superhero movies, tv shows, and games, I want to share with you how much Neal Adams contributed to what you love. 

Good X-Men stories: Given the popularity of the X-Men today, many people don’t realize just how miserable X-Men comics were back in the old days. It was a rare miss for the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby duo. Eventually the comic would be converted to reprints. For a few glorious issues though, writer Roy Thomas and Neal Adams showed the true action and drama potential of these characters in Uncanny X-Men #56-63 (1969). While this burst wasn’t enough to stave off the reprint area, I am convinced that these glorious issues showed the power of this concept (particularly in some stories involving the Sentinels) that other creators wanted to bring them back. 

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Dear Critograph, Thank You.

Hunter Epperson ~ Copy-Desk-Chief

Photo of The Critograph team at the University of Lynchburg. Photo taken by Declan Austin. 

As I wrote this piece, my final story for the Critograph, I will admit, it was a very bittersweet moment, especially trying to say goodbye to an organization that has given me so much. 

In August 2020, my friend Kelli Carter told me to reach out to Dr. Ghislaine Lewis about joining The Critograph team to get my hands into journalism work; since I have changed my communication studies emphasis from social influence to journalism. 

As time went on, I reached out to Dr. Lewis about possibly joining The Critograph team as a volunteer staff writer, and I remember my  virtual interview with her and Grace Cavanaugh and subsequently being offered the job as a staff writer.

I remember when I wrote my first journalism article, with no prior experience, and Dr. Lewis ripped it apart.

She provided me feedback, and sat down with me to help me learn from my mistakes, which I am grateful for, and it truly did help transform me into the writer I am today.

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Hope For The Future 

Faith McCray ~ Assistant Editor

Photo Created By Faith McCray on May 2, 2022

For my final Critograph edition of the semester I have decided to do something different. As we continue to approach finals week and graduation for our seniors, I want to address this to them specifically, but of course anyone can take something away from this. 

Since I started writing for the Critograph, I have focused solely on Psalms within the bible. However, this week I have chosen to focus on a specific verse in Jeremiah 29. This verse you may ask, is Jeremiah 29:11

Jeremiah 29 explains Jeremiah’s letter to those who were exiled in 597 B.C. This letter was written sometime between 597 B.C. and the destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred in 586 B.C. God informed Jeremiah that he allowed some people to be taken to Babylon: however, when he did this he told Jeremiah that he would one day bring them back. 

For Jeremiah’s audience this could hardly be seen as a good deed. This was because not everyone had been taken away from Jerusalem. Therefore, this letter was written solely for the people who had been sent into exile. These citizens were sent into exile to prove to them that God had a plan for them and that everything in the end was going to work out for the better. 

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Semester Report on the Senate

Claire King ~ Vice President of Internal Affairs and President-Elect

Photo of SGA Board at the election open forum featuring Matthew Gillet, Ariel Lineberry, and Amelia Simmons on April 18, 2022 taken by Claire King

While navigating through the challenges of leading during a pandemic, the Student Government Association Senate of 2021-2022 has succeeded in serving our community in a multitude of ways. This group represents all voices on campus, and has demonstrated their continuous commitment to making decisions that uplift the student body. 

So far, the Senate has upheld inclusivity and respect by approving Lynchburg’s first NAACP Chapter, assisting in the name change process of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, and approving the Inclusive Excellence and Anti-bullying Amendments to the Student Government Association Constitution. 

The Senate has also emphasized its care for our environment and community by approving the Lynchburg Environmental Sustainability Society and conducting an incredibly successful Hurricane Relief Drive to help those who were negatively impacted by hurricane Ida. 

Moreover, the Senate has supported and attended events by speaker Brenda Tracey to step up against sexual assault and physical violence and senators signed the Set The Expectation Community Pledge to protect our friends, organization, and greater community from sexual assault. 

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Nerd Factor: Weather or Not

Dr. Mike ~ UL Communication Studies Professor

https://www.marvel.com/comics/discover/1194/storm

An old saying goes– everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. Unless you live in the Marvel Universe. There, some superheroes like Thor and Storm can and often do control atmospheric conditions. It must be strange to live in a world where weather control exists. 

Unsurprisingly, weather is usually a weapon for Thor. As the Norse God of Thunder, Thor will summon down lightning and let loose terrible storms to smite his enemies. Thor prefers clonking his foes with his mighty hammer Mjolnir. The thunder and lightning arrive when Thor faces a particularly dangerous opponent that provokes his anger or frustration. These downbursts pummel monsters and drive down armies.

While not quite as powerful as Thor, Storm has a greater range of weather control. All forms of weather are hers to manipulate. Storm will often use thunderstorms in battle too, but she can also create blizzards to freeze her foes or fog to obscure the movements of her X-Men teammates. While technically not a god in the sense that Thor is, Storm was regarded as a goddess in her younger days. Storm’s powers are directly linked to her emotions. A bad mood could unintentionally lead to a thunderstorm. A good mood could mean a beautiful day. For many years in the X-Men comics, the need for Storm to control her moods frustrated her. This was also a thematic representation of her move from Africa to the United States. Storm often longed to return to the free spirit days of her time living in Kenya (these days she is Queen of Mars, but that’s a different story altogether).

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Mystic Magic: The Seven Chakras – A Rainbow of Strength

Em Maxey ~ Assistant Editor

Photo by: Hands on Health

As you grow through your spiritual journey one term you will constantly hear is “chakra” or “chakras.” This term refers to the seven strongest spiritual points in the body. These chakras are identified by location, color, and element. Before you read more about the specifics of chakras, remember that the colors are used to bring attention to and grow the chakras. The colors of the chakras are often worn during meditation specific to certain chakras. The stones mentioned are not the only stones which represent the specific chakra. Stones that enhance the characteristics of the chakras are used as well as some stones that are within the same colors of the chakra. 

The root chakra is the first of the chakras. Also known as muladhara, the root chakra is located in the feet and is an earth elemental chakra. This is the grounding, foundational chakra that is also known for financial stability. Muladhara’s most intensive growth is between one and seven years of age. The most common mantra is “I cannot grow from an unsteady foundation.” Mantras are Buddhist and Hinduist meditation repetition sayings to guide the body to its goal. The root chakra is represented in red and often affiliated with hematite stone for its strength and mass. 

The next of the chakras is the sacral chakra, a water elemental chakra. The sacral chakra rules sexual energy and creativity. The sacral chakra is also known as swadhisthana and is located in the lower abdomen below the naval. The most of the growth of the sacral chakra is during the ages of eight to fourteen. The sacral chakra is orange and represented by the tiger’s eye. The most popular mantra for the sacral chakra is “I will always honor others but not before myself.” 

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Nerd Factor: Punching Hitler Right in the Mouth

Dr. Mike ~ UL Communication Studies Professor

The cover to Captain America #1 is one of my all-time favorite comic book covers. Released a few days before Christmas in 1940, the cover depicts the debut of our most patriotic hero. This image is a particularly fine example of the dynamic artwork of Cap’s co-creator, Jack Kirby. You can almost hear the savage blow that the good Captain delivered right to Hitler’s face, knocking the despot back and sending his red tie flying. His Nazi underlings look on, shocked and afraid, trying and failing to stop Captain America. 

The cover is important because Captain America has gone on to be one of our most prominent superheroes. Although his costume is a bit different here—the abdominal stripes are a bit narrower, the head covering is more like a helmet than a mask, and the shield is more angular—visually this is pretty much the Cap we know today, athletic, action-oriented, and wearing his patriotism. 

As I have gotten older, I have come to love this cover for other reasons. I am always impressed by how early Captain America is laying into the Nazis here. It was 1940. America would not formerly go to war until a year later. Cap was leading the way. Writer Joe Simon and artist Jack Kirby were both Jewish. They knew what was going on in the world. They knew what this country should be doing and whom we should be fighting. 

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No More Hatred

Faith McCray ~ Assistant Editor

Photo By Faith McCray

Psalm 41 is a Psalm of David. 1 Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the Lord delivers them in times of trouble. 2 The Lord protects and preserves them— they are counted among the blessed in the land— he does not give them over to the desire of their foes. 3 The Lord sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness. 4 I said, “Have mercy on me, Lord; heal me, for I have sinned against you.” 5 My enemies say of me in malice, “When will he die and his name perish?” 6 When one of them comes to see me, he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander; then he goes out and spreads it around. 7 All my enemies whisper together against me; they imagine the worst for me, saying, 8 “A vile disease has afflicted him; he will never get up from the place where he lies.” 9 Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me. 10 But may you have mercy on me, Lord; raise me up, that I may repay them. 11 I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me. 12 Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever. 13 Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen.

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If God Is For His People 

Faith McCray ~ Assistant Editor:

Photo By Faith McCray

Psalm 124 is a Psalm of David. 1 If the Lord had not been on our side— let Israel say— 2 if the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us, 3 they would have swallowed us alive when their anger flared against us; 4 the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, 5 the raging waters would have swept us away. 6 Praise be to the Lord, who has not let us be torn by their teeth. 7 We have escaped like a bird from the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. 8 Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

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