Satire: Demand for The Outdex

Sam Kohl ’22

It’s become cheap fodder for outspoken student leaders in the community: “We are more divided than ever… COVID, blah blah… heated national political discourse, blah blah…” Yuck. But solutions to these problems are rarely, if ever, proposed. 

     Sure, the student council will inevitably whip up some inter-form activity in an attempt to jog our collective memory of what Haverford can be, or at least what we were before COVID. But despite these well-meaning efforts, if divides in our community exist, compulsory fun is not the way to solve them. We need to look elsewhere. 

     So came to me the perfect solution one night: a satirical news section at the end of the Index, à la The Onion. It would be tasteful, relevant, and, most importantly, hilarious. But my initial burst of motivation soon faded when I learned that The Index previously had a satirical news section, aptly named The Outdex, that was purged from the paper a number of years ago. I immediately filled with violent rage: “How could they not see the awesome potential of such a section?” I lamented to myself. Over that weekend, I turned my emotions down and let them reduce into a thick, hearty sauce that I could bring into school on Monday. 

     When the day finally came, I made it a mission to seek out the first Index editor I could find: “Why aren’t you guys running The Outdex anymore?” I could see the color drain from his face when he heard those words. I saw beads of sweat begin to pour down his face, soaking his mask in what one can only classify as shame. His eyes seemed to dart about the classroom, as if the pencil sharpener would find him an adequate response. Then, all of a sudden, he seemed to switch to some sort of autopilot mode; it was like I was watching a movie and he was one of those Soviet sleeper agents who had just heard his triggering phrase. He quickly uttered: “It is at this point that I must exercise my Fifth Amendment right to protection from self-incrimination as well as my Sixth Amendment right to have an attorney present during any and all questioning.” Damn. 

     I returned to my seat, defeated. I thought this idea if it did die, would do so in a grander fashion than this. I hoped that it would go down with a fiery explosion, a blast heard round the world. But it seemed to have ended, right in front of my eyes, with nothing more than a whimper. But I wasn’t done just yet. I knew I only had one or two more good attempts to get this idea off the ground, so I decided a change of scenery would be most advantageous; the new target: la clase de español. One afternoon, I went to work: during a five-minute break, I began talking: “Hey guys, did you know The Index used to have a joke news section? We should totally bring that back.” 

Outdex now!… Outdex now!” the class began to shout in shocking synchronism.

     The Index editors in the room eyed each other knowingly, as if security guards ready to remove disruptors at an event. They immediately interjected: “Sure, it sounds like a great idea on paper, but in practice, kids begin to make fun of each other and it becomes toxic.” 

      Unbeknownst to them, the viral DNA of The Outdex had already entered the class’s collective unconscious: there was no escaping the idea. “Outdex now!… Outdex now!” the class began to shout in shocking synchronism. It was at this point that I realized that the conspiracy to destroy The Outdex ran much deeper than just Index editors. Were the faculty in on it too? Seemingly right on cue, the teacher sprung into action: “¡Chicos! Un descanso de máscara. ¡Vámonos!” (A mask break, let’s go). 

     This seemed to calm the class down. I then saw the Index editors and the teacher exchange nods, as if to say, “Crisis averted, good work.” I was thoroughly disgusted, but not surprised. However, I was surprised to see this article idea appear on the Index’s list. Do they have sinister, possibly hellacious ulterior motives? Likely. But here I write to them, the wardens of the intellectual prison in which I am held captive: please bring back The Outdex