If you’re reading this, chances are you’re smack in the middle of Campus Kickoff season, which means you’re being bombarded from all sides with a slightly unhealthy overload of school spirit. And that’s okay. Back-to-school festivities are great for newbies to get acclimated to an unfamiliar environment, and soften the blow for returning students who are slowly realizing they don’t get to go to the beach again for a while.
What’s not okay for some students, though, is the UVSS’s new event slogan, #MakeUVicLitAgain. It takes one quick peek at social media to see that while feedback isn’t widespread, it’s not very positive. As a colleague of mine put it on Twitter, it’s “the peak of cringe-worthy student politics.” One student on Facebook asked, “Who picked this slogan? I need to know where to direct my secondhand embarrassment.” And slimjimihendrix over at the UVic subreddit summed up the general vibe, saying it’s “a terrible slogan that annoys me a lot.”
All of this is true. At best, #MakeUVicLitAgain is a quick and easy reference to current events, using slang that will be dated in a year (maybe two). It was likely considered amongst a few other equally bad/lazy slogans, and was probably picked because it made those on the planning committee chuckle. At worst, it’s an implicit acknowledgement of Donald Trump’s ugly, racist, sexist political campaign that doesn’t need any more attention than it’s already had.
But it’s funny that something so uninspired should provoke anything more than an equally uninspired reaction. Sure, concerns about the connection between the term ‘lit’ and intoxication, and the implicit approval of intoxication culture therein, are valid. (Though I would argue that defining the term solely as “getting drunk” is reductive, and ignores contexts where it’s used to denote the state of being “turned up,” or the state of partying in general, which is probably what the UVSS was going for, but then again, why would they give out bottle openers with the hashtag on it if they weren’t aware of the drinking connection, and oh my god why is blood coming out of my ears help?!) But as far as “drama” goes, this barely measures up to previous snafus.
Even the board of directors seems unconvinced. Responding to the slogan’s critics, Director of Events Jordan Quitzau meekly defended it as “political satire” (it’s not), and said it “makes fun” of Trump “more than anything else” (it doesn’t). The closest any of this comes to making fun of Trump was when Quitzau said he’s had “tons of people” tell him in person that they love the slogan, which is such a Trump move that I have to ask if it was intentional.
The greater irony here, of course, is that in writing this, I’m only going to make the situation worse. But if this is the controversy we need to kick off the school year, so be it. Nice work, Jordan. You made UVic lit again. But next time, leave the low-energy slogans at home, m’kay?