TJ’s Senior Column: peace out


TJ Lindstrom, Multimedia Editor

I leave The Carroll News at a weird time — for the world and for JCU. 

The role of a writer threatens to be replaced or substantially altered by new AI technologies. The university administration, it seems to me (and probably anyone with eyes) has sold out. 

I wish there wasn’t such a negative connotation to the word “sellout.” I don’t think there is anything wrong with selling out, per se. John Carroll exists in a much broader economic system, within which it is not the master of its own fate. If it is losing money, it must change course. And, for reasons beyond their control, the liberal arts are not a money maker. 

And so, the temptation is always there to sellout, to become an organ of industry. 

I think these two developments –– ChatGPT and the commodification of JCU —  present a unified problem. That is, an increasingly alienated system of work presents the temptation to inhabit the form of something without any of its essence. To go through the motions. To avoid risk and its reward. To be empty. Devoid of substance. 

The greatest lie is that this system somehow rewards innovation. The system rewards mediocrity. If you keep your head down and run with the wind at your back, you’re safe. The innovators always are and always will be the ones who buck the status quo. That is what it means to innovate. 

The winds are blowing strong now. It’s easy to raise up a sail, dedicate yourself to a degree in something you hate but promises stability and use ChatGPT to avoid that work that you also hate. And who is to blame you? It is the most rational thing to do. 

Those winds are grander than any of us, and sailing against them is tricky and, at times, absurd.

It is easier to go through the motions and inhabit the form alone. To never give it a second thought. 

ChatGPT can inhabit the form of a writer, but it’s not a writer. A business school can take the form of a liberal arts college, but it’s not a liberal arts college. 

The thing that gives writing its meaning, its essence, is us — the human behind the text. The thing that gives John Carroll its meaning, its essence, is us –– the students behind the tuition. 

While the Bolerfication of JCU threatens to suck the spirit, the lifeblood, the meaning out of this beautiful place, there are little corners still much alive, still outside the reach of Boler’s long arm. One of those places is, and must always be, The Carroll News. 

Laboring away hour after hour, asking questions, sharing important voices and reporting the important news, all for sub-minimum wage pay. We do it because we understand it is what gives this place its meaning. It’s us, it’s the radio station, it’s The Carroll Review, it’s the book club I just joined, it’s CSSA, it’s Campus Ministry. 

We do it because we know there is greater glory, sweeter reward than simply passing the classes we need to pass and never looking back

So I leave JCU worried. 

But then I think of those that came before me, those who have become my dearest friends. Josie Schuman ‘21 and Sophia Maltese ‘21, my first bosses here who taught me everything I know. I think of Nick Sack ‘23, my partner in crime. I think of Laken Kincaid ‘24, the latest soul to take up this half-crazy, half-beautiful mission of keeping a sinking ship afloat. 

I think of all those section editors I worked with this year and last: Grace Sherban ‘25, Sophia Giallanza ‘25, Clarie Schuppel ‘24, Ashley McCall ‘23, Patrick Kane ‘23, Eric Fogle ‘23, Corrine McDevitt ‘23, Jack Giba ‘22, Anna Meyer ‘22, Kaitlin Ryan ‘22. 

Then I stop worrying.

To this paper I love so much, to this paper I trust so much: 

Onward On, bitches.