Columbia Daily Spectator                      January 17, 2001  

OPINION

By Seth Kimmel
Columbia Daily Spectator
  

We DO Like Strawberries, Dean
                    Drop that ''URH Hears You'' sign where you stand, stop swindling the
                    University out of its well-deserved 30-cent profit on mini-packaged
                    cream-cheeses, and cease subjecting our holy columns to your meaningless
                    rubbish, recklessly discarded in the virgin Columbia Recycles receptacles! I'll
                    start forking over the cash for an extra schmeer on my sesame bagel, but I
                    vow to fight all other charges to the chair, still sizzling as the lone star rises
                    over capitol's sky.

                    But since this is a respected college newspaper, staffed by journalistic giants,
                    I'll do my best to stop the barking, pick up the ball, and get to the point. Here
                    is what I actually think: The first steps toward cashing in on my vast future
                    wealth, hard-earned Ecuadorian tender paid at highly-competitive developing
                    nation rates, is most certainly not neon blue candy-canes down the center of
                    South Field, nor banners reminiscent of Reichstagian pre-speech decoration,
                    nor king-size classes, nor new cattle car-like hall dorms, nor even a pretty
                    name like E & E to make us feel warm and fuzzy. Instead, why don't you
                    start by quitting the crack-down on the cleverest marching band in the world?

                    I regretfully relate that I was absent at the bi-annual hoopla of last May's
                    $10,000 midnight orgy because I was temporarily occupied by a certain
                    Dulcinea in the plains of La Mancha. Needless to say, this past December's
                    debacle did nothing to allay my despair. A 200 person limit or exile to the
                    tradition-less, post-modern waterworld of glassy repulsiveness? A
                    nicely-timed fire alarm to break up the only legitimate show of Columbia
                    school spirit? Blue arm-bands for the ass-clown student counters and a
                    reading room full of studious first-years upset that the poor excuse for this
                    year's rowdiness was disturbing their misguided Lit-Hum cramming?

                    President Rupp, why don't you take a diminutive salary decrease from your
                    Citibank-Volvo $500,000 a year wage and cut the student body some slack?
                    That, in my humble opinion, might actually help the Endowment in 30 years
                    when my fellow Columbians are wealthy big-wigs who fondly recall drinking
                    in the Reading Room as they chant ''fuck the Administration'' with all the
                    gusto they can muster after having already cheered on the fire-hydrant and
                    Barnard jokes.

                    If I come back to my alma mater in 10 years and the band is marching instead
                    of madly scrambling, the football team is winning instead of losing
                    embarrassingly, and the library renovations are finally complete, you can be
                    damned sure the phat check will not be sent. I mean, did the information
                    revolution really have to claim the catwalk, the brilliantly aged wood tables,
                    and the poor Butler lighting that made us all feel like Faust himself, gloriously
                    enclosed in a dim study discussing a deal with the devil?

                    But, echo the cries from Low, we slip down the slope of the all-important
                    rankings toward the cursed 20s. Why are our alumni's hearts hardened,
                    mourns Rupp? The answer, closely guarded by the super-computer cabalists
                    of the future, is found in Biblical exegesis, whose method arrives directly from
                    Sinai via a few mistaken medieval Joachims into this daily paper. God,
                    Harvard graduate, proclaimed that it must be so. Which is to say that the
                    decision made by those quite possibly stingy alumni to coldly pass on the
                    collection plate ultimately emerges from their undergraduate experience of
                    crowded classes, bureaucratic battles, and a pick-ax melee at the registrar.

                    I most certainly do not claim to know all the in's and out's and
                    what-have-you's of this case, but I am sadly willing to wager that the ironic,
                    skeptically apathetic, mildly bitter, exilic attitude that I love about this campus
                    is inversely proportional to alumni giving. Attend the institution, teach at the
                    institution, perform interactive improv art at the institution, but don't write it a
                    check, runs the theory. Never mind the ''catch-22'' I've just created for
                    myself here, and just appreciate the reductively well-intentioned socialists on
                    CollegeWalk before you have to face the Administration groveling at your
                    graduated feet. I only hope Enlargement and Enhancement doesn't ultimately
                    ruin everything for which I'd be willing to give back, not the least of which is
                    an evening of true Orgo Night, a stuffy graduate lecture on the ''Subaltern,''
                    and the 30 Years War waged in the name of the Strawberry Statement's
                    legacy.