Letter to the Editor: In Response to “‘The Pillowman’ not UCCS’ best”

February 25, 2020

Caitlyn Dieckmann, writer for the Scribe, presents a valid argument about The Pillowman, however her article “The Pillowman’ not UCCS’ best” falls short of any actual substance or quality. In a world shrouded by fake news, biased journalism, and hastily written clickbait nonsense their article struggles to showcase any real quality or substance.

Caitlyn begins her review with a glaring mistake, one she may have caught had they actually been paying attention to the play. Katurian points out, within the play, “You can’t have two commas in a title. You can’t have one comma in a title.” Combine this with their misspelled name right below and reader is immediately left questioning the quality of writing and editing. Perhaps Caitlyn’s title is merely ahead of its time, or perhaps this is an indication of the glaring issues in journalism to come within this piece. Not even a sentence in we can recognize the half-rate journalism begin to shine through.

Without any context or established information, they begin their claim by saying “The effort that UCCS students put into their work is unmatched.”

In this simple sentence Caitlyn sets up an enormous claim, discrediting the work of fellow artists throughout the community as unequal to the work of the students. While this claim is flattering at best, she provides no evidence to support it as such and no credibility for herself to make such a claim. When the primary goal of a journalist is to establish trust and credibility so that their audience can believe their information, Caitlyn leaves the readers wondering who she even is. Several times throughout the piece, in fact, she repeatedly refers to herself as someone who understands the role of acting, directing, costume design and even the arts in general without so much as a blurb to inform the reader of how or why she might be qualified to make these assessments. She furthers this discredit by not italicizing the play name throughout the piece, a small detail that anyone in the industry would recognize as an amateur mistake.

Their synopsis of the play cuts itself off in the middle, describing the plot as “quite hard to explain, unless you see the play.” If her job is to create a concise image of what has happened for the reader to be able to judge, Caitlyn cowers from this responsibility and ushers it on to the reader. This sentence in itself contradicts Caitlyn’s argument by stating that the play was able to capture the ideas of the story and plot and convey them in a way that makes them understandable. Rather than direct the reader to the script, they point the reader right back to the same supposedly terrible production in order to understand it. As well, the plot is quite easy to sum up in less than three lines:

Two brothers find themselves executed while in the custody of a totalitarian police force for their crimes against children. Told through fantastical realism, the play showcases the struggles of growing up, finding your place in the world, and ultimately the role that death plays in our ability to escape the torture.

Her failure to establish credibility or trust though isn’t her only glaring failure as a journalist. Caitlyn’s article as a whole assesses nothing real within the production. Anyone with eyes can find faults or struggles within the performance, but her review stops there.

Rather than discussing anything of substance or worth, to give the readers an informed opinion, they showcase the faults in performance as though they are the only pieces at play in a production of this sort. Caitlyn’s assessment that “It was not something I would choose to direct unless I had an exceptional cast” only further showcases her lack of understanding of the implications of art in the world around us. In an ever-growing existential battle with the struggles of existence and humanity, “The Pillowman” speaks to the core demographic of a college university by creating an open dialogue about issues such as suicide, ethical justice, the future and if we should all just end the suffering with a bullet.

Caitlyn’s review fails to take into account anything beyond the surface in favor of putting down her peers and fellow students. Rather than providing the student body with honest, engaging, and trustworthy journalism, Caitlyn sells out the ideas of the arts and their real impact on the community for a clickbait article that showcases the faults of the modern journalist and the critic.

Maybe Caitlyn was under the pressures of deadlines from her producer, or perhaps she took on one too many articles this week, either way, the quality of journalism needs to be addressed because Facebook articles are much easier to access.