The "Love @ Duke" Recess headline was a monumental event this month, not because it is symptomatic of the Internet-induced "@" epidemic that has infiltrated our society. Rather, with its juxtaposition to beer bottle caps, the headline resigns itself to the self-evidence of the fact that "love" is really just a euphemism for "alcohol" on this campus. The two entities have long vied for preeminence as sexual lubricants in society, but the latter has clearly won out here at Duke, reducing "love" to another word for alcohol that makes us seem not quite so pathetic when we discuss our sexual encounters. While "love" obviously also has its own merits, completely independent of sex, it was unfortunately not discussed in the poll. The interesting thing about the article is aaaaaaaaaaaaah oh my gosh it's two smirking Bill Englishes! Geez, what horror! I know I selected the picture, but still, what a harrowing sight.
What was I thinking? I guess initially my dream was to visually outwasp the queen wasp himself. So I pondered, what's waspier than a snow-white male whose name is William Edward English trampling on feminism, diversity, acceptance of homosexuals and anything else he doesn't think is conservative, with his hair parted exactly, with the "conservative smirk" so thickly on his face that he makes John Zimmerman look like he isn't smirking? With the name William Edward English? Well the answer turned out to be nothing. So I just went with the same smirking photo of Bill English. Anyway, since we do have his photo in the head of this column, Sy-(Snootles)-and-the-Ramblin-(Root-Beer)-Gnome thought it necessary to provide a Bill English column, so here is an abridged version:
"1) I attended an event put on by someone I consider a feminist. It was terrible. It was a waste of my money. Therefore, feminism is terrible, with no possible justification whatsoever. 2) I discovered that Duke is using my tuition money to pay for something I disagree with. I could use this money to go on another trip to Europe. Therefore, feminism is terrible, with no possible justification whatsoever. 3) Due to my dislike of liberalism, I am unable to listen to any theories propounded by people I think are liberal. I am able, though, to rip those theories in print, despite not understanding them. 4) I have reduced everything in this world to the binary liberal-conservative distinction. Anything unsound that anyone says that I think is a liberal automatically disproves every argument any liberal has ever said. I don't like anything liberal, I have decided. 5) I have no idea what I'm for. I just know what I'm against, liberalism, anything that uses my money for something that is liberal and also feminism, which is terrible, with no justification whatsoever."
Ah, yes. Only English can combine quite reasonable, intelligent and important analysis with stunning leaps in logic in such a jaw-dropping way, while he sits there, smirking away at us (New Sense has material somewhat similar to English's, but without the reasonable, intelligent part). Actually, English is quite a nice guy, but it would piss everyone off to learn that, because people enjoy hating him. It would also piss people off to know that he isn't a racist bigot. But I won't prevent his enemies from thinking this, because then they couldn't condemn everything he says without having to think about it, which would screw everything up. We wouldn't want to have any actual exchange of ideas between opposing viewpoints that educate both sides, or educate anyone for that matter. Far better to fire off snide, smirking, slanted assaults that benefit no one. The fact of the matter is, though, that "liberals" need English so they can tell themselves that they are at a "conservative" campus, which they like to think, much in the way English indulges in the fact that he is at a "liberal" campus. They also both need each other to work up their vehement venomous abhorrence, which seems essential to their existences, much like the green mathmos in the 1968 flick "Barbarella," which starred Jane Fonda searching for Duran Duran. To be fair to English, THEODORE HUXTABLE'S PROTEGE will also provide a sample column by self-described liberals on campus, who, while they may disagree with self-described conservative columnists, employ their favorite rhetorical tools.
"1) I talked to a poor person today and they said they were poor. In my opinion, this is wrong! 2) Although I have no idea how to prevent war or what we should do about our current international situation, I would like to condemn a potential war without addressing any of these issues. 3) Capitalism is bad, not that I have any idea how economic systems work or which one would be better. 4) I am taking a class with only two African-American students in it. Therefore, Duke is racist! 5) Globalization is bad because, although there is compelling empirical and theoretical evidence indicating it can improve the lives of poor people all over the world, the U.S. benefits from it, which means it must be bad."
It is this invigorating system of campus discussion that trashes Nan Keohane for being both liberal and conservative every week. It is difficult to say whether such columns, were written by "conservatives" or "liberals" to explain intelligently and sympathetically some issues other people might not have considered or whether they are just masturbatory indulgences written to get off on pissing off one's enemies. The Chronicle, meanwhile, publishes it all willingly, knowing full well how much people read things that piss them off (it would be difficult to say what percentage of New Sense's readership is people who hate New Sense and everyone writing within it, but I would say it's 80 percent at the least). Why do you think they keep tossing out columns by Faran Krentcil?
THEODORE HUXTABLE'S PROTEGE thinks that, the above text notwithstanding, Chronicle columns are getting better, and all columnists, and activists, deserve a ton of respect for actually doing something about things they care about, much as the Duke band deserves respect for playing "Soul-Finger" by the Bar-Kays and the Pizza Palace deserves respect for throwing down "Revolution #9."