If someone pitched Honi Soit on Shark Tank they would get laughed out of the room. It is a weekly student newspaper run by (alleged) stimulant-addicts, and contributors are paid in social media likes. If you’re considering writing for Honi in spite of this, be aware of the cabal of bored students hoping to flex their intellectual superiority in the comments.
In one of my first forays into writing I got ratioed by a kangaroo fanatic. I would have replied, but at the time my ego was too great and my rebuttals too meagre. I alluded to this experience recently when a job interviewer asked about a time I overcame a challenge. I am still seeking employment.
Honi recently published a perspective piece about student attitudes towards mandatory military service. It suffered a similar fate, as a man – who made it through 141 words before missing the point – questioned the validity of calling South Korea “democratically advanced”. 17 further comments followed, with hot takes about democracy and screenshots from different websites. Interesting points are raised later in the piece by interviewed students – exploring proximity to conflict, social stigma and reactionary misogyny. Unfortunately, no one really cares about these students’ experiences when the thrill of belittling someone on the internet is at stake.
Ultimately, the role of the Honi contributor is to generate dopamine. For the author, there are few greater thrills than scrolling through the likes on your article and seeing people you have never met indicate an appreciation for what you have written. Occasionally you will get a private message, which is significantly more thoughtful and far less superficially valuable than if they had just commented something similar on the post.
You may well have spent thirty unpaid hours with your editor to refine a piece of work that you are proud of, but a pseudo-intellectual will notice an assumption you made in a filler sentence or attach themselves to a poorly articulated half-point that was ruined during the edit. To them you must say thank you, as their comments boost your engagement. It’s a win-win for you, and a lose-lose for them, because either no one knows just how brilliant their opinion is, or they can see it and don’t care.
If you’ve considered writing for Honi but have been scared off by the potential for public embarrassment, just give it a go. In my experience, everyone is really supportive, and if you happen to be good enough at this writing thing to forge a career out of it, you’ve got decades of unhinged abuse from the general public ahead of you. This might be as good as it will ever get.
7/10: Dopamine miners
James Frederiksen Arts/Meco IV