I was immeasurably thrilled when I was given the opportunity to start writing opinion for the Nexus regularly. It was something I did in high school, and now I suppose I’ve been called up to AAA (I’m thinking the big leagues would have to be something like The New Yorker or The Times of London).

Moreover, there is not a more rewarding position anywhere on the paper. I remember my friends writing news would languish in obscurity, while we on the opinion page received admiring, almost tender, letters of heartfelt gratitude. One reader wrote me, “I’ve wiped my ass with your article on three occasions,” while another wrote, “Drop dead, faggot.” It’s appreciation like that, moments that remind me of the readers, somewhere out there, who are genuinely touched by my words that kept me from hanging up my cleats (oh yes, I’ll be using many cheap baseball metaphors over the course of my time here). After all, how could our campus get by without one of its 21,000 students broadcasting his opinions from a school-sanctioned soap box?

Well, clearly it couldn’t. Being an unselfish kind of guy, I’m more than willing to vent for pay.

I think my first opinion, like this first article in general, should be a kind of introduction. My hope is that readers (you) will take my opinion pieces in stride. Fan mail of the kind above is nice, but the real victories for those of us who collect and produce a perspective on campus life are thoughtful comments and cogent adaptations. I hope to hear disagreements and altered concurrences; I want to be made a fool of in response. However, in all cases, I think opinions (whether original or responsive) ought to be offered with confidence and in good humor. The poles and extremes of opinion are dangerous places. A caustic or bitter opinion is diluted and easily shirked off; sometimes, it presents an image of the author as a rambling, disturbed lunatic.

Somewhere above, I suppose, is my philosophy for this column. I think in debate, whether formal or casual, the winner holds himself above the fray. If at any time, here, I start to sound like the adoring fans who have, at various times, accused me of racial profiling, accessory to rape, homophobia and faggotry, I will resign immediately. If, in support of my point, I ever feel the need to invoke human rights violations in North Korea, I will perform harakiri in front of Storke Tower.

If, at my time with the Nexus, I can persuade in no other way, I would be happy to graduate knowing that I managed to make a convincing argument in favor of perspective. At times, certainly, I will come off as a snide, arrogant bitch. Honestly, though, I’m up against the lovely ladies and gentlemen who give weekly sex advice, a columnist who explores the world of drugs and those who engage in political punditry for your attention on the Opinion page. There’s only so much time to publish articles as a UCSB student, and only so much space. Life is short, and I’m ready to share with you what I know.

Ben Moss isn’t a bitch, he’s simply opinionated.