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You came, you ‘mounted,’ you failed

October 27th, 2011

The action verb “to mount” has several meanings. One meaning defines the verb as follows: “to fix securely to a support.” To use it in a sentence, one could say, “The mechanic mounted the engine in my car.” To use the verb in a sexual context, mounting means “to climb onto a male or female for sexual intercourse.”

For Penn State University junior Kristina Helfer, a Daily Collegian reporter and weekly staff columnist, the latter definition is the focus of her column, “Mounting Nittany.” The column goes beyond basic copulation chatter; more so, it chronicles Helfer’s “sexcapades” at Penn State in an attempt to be this generation’s “Sex and the City” column.

However, Helfer is no Carrie Bradshaw.

“Though I am only 20 …” Helfer writes, “I feel like I am finally beginning to figure out human physiology and maybe even relationships. You could say I’ve been around the block a few times, but I’m still experiencing new things every day, especially in Happy Valley on the weekends.”

Her sexual banter, in fact, is far from anything Sarah Jessica Parker’s character would ever write; the editors of the fictional New York Star would have looked at Helfer’s writing, laughed, and torn it up as a disgrace to student journalism.

Unfortunately for the “Mounting Nittany” columnist, the reactions of most employers will be synonymous after reading about Helfer faking an orgasm or having sex under a “crabapple tree.”

This column is certainly no resume booster; instead, it’s boosting a bad reputation for the columnist. One student at Penn State summed up the majority of the comments posted on the column’s site: “Sounds like Kristina just wants a pat on the back for having a lot of sex … well, congrats … now stop writing in my school paper.”

Whereas Bradshaw’s columns always posed a question and concluded with an amicable and moral lesson, Helfer’s attempt lacks the wit and the lesson. She asks questions about faking orgasms, such as “Do we just want to get it over with because the guy or girl is a dead fish?” Here’s a better question: Where is Helfner’s class? It seems like it was lost somewhere between the sheets.

The quality of her writing is sub-par, hardly journalism by any standard. But most importantly, besides the fact that it’s a sex column failure, it’s above all, a disgrace to her college newspaper; one that has created successful writers who have gone on to work at nationally ranked publications such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

We don’t need someone chronicling his or her sex life on a weekly basis in a publication that claims to have prestige. The poor quality writing that is “Mounting Nittany” would be better suited floating around the Internet in the form of a blog.

Hopefully The Daily Collegian realizes this and looses Helfner’s byline before the poor girl looses every chance of ever getting a job.