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Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Folk Tales

Bruce Hill---who is slightly younger than I---tells of the thrilling days of yesteryear: "...when I was a student politician - the main power blocs at the time were the Trotskyites and the Maoists...".

Just thinking about that gives me the giggles. I cannot imagine Trotskyites and Maoists being taken seriously, let alone as main power blocs.

I not only grew up in the capital of capitalism, I grew up in its insulated heartland, and I went to college there too. We were far from any coast on which nasty and absurd ideas about communism might make landfall. Our battle cry was not "Free Mumia!" but "Free Beer!" The two main power blocs at my university were the St. Pat's Board Reps and the Inter-Fraternity Council. The St. Pat's board thought the IFC was a bunch of pussies and the IFC thought the Board was a bunch of drunks, and unless you were in either group you didn't give a shit what they thought. UMR is an engineering college, and most of our time was spent sweating over books. The rest of it was spent drunk (being that there wasn't a lot else to do there).

I remember one genuine political protest while I was there, over the taking of American hostages in Iran. The students thought this was a bad idea, and gathered to say so. Let me be clear: the students wanted to tell Iran that they disapproved of Iran taking American hostages. It was my opinion that Iran would not be moved at the protests of American students, and so any demonstrations would be foolish posturing. Nobody asked my opinion, though, and I didn't bother to give it.

(It occurs to me now, though, that we probably had more Iranians just on our campus than the hostage-takers had Americans. We could've staged a counter-strike! Ah, but I was young and idealistic then...)

So Bruce seems like a grim survivor from a land we thought existed only in fairy tales, come to tell us of the epic wars between the Elves and Dwarves. Come, Unca Bruce, and tell again the tale of the time the vampire kiwis fought a bloody battle with the were-hedgehogs for control of the soapbox at the south end of the East Car Park...