Lawsuit-free since 9/14/05

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Send Us Your Essays-- TBOC!'s First Contest

Because we've gotten no responses to this post, we decided to announce a contest.

For those of you who didn't know, Margaret Kent Bass' class, entitled "10 Ways to Fight Hate on Campus," has had numerous in-class discussions about Take Back Our Campus. The students were also assigned to write essays about us-- who we are, what we do and why they think we're doing it. Needless to say, not a one bothered contacting us, though we're always available at takebackourcampus@yahoo.com.

Not that we're unflattered. As the immortal (though apparently imprisonable) Wilde wrote, "There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about...." But we'd still like to know what they're saying.

Thus, we've decided to up the stakes and sponsor a contest. Our original offer of an interview still stands. We're even willing to do a live conference call with class. (If the class is interested, e-mail us and we'll set up a time.)

Without further ado, we proudly present TBOC!'s first contest: The Ineluctable Fact That We'll Get Your Essays Competition.

The rules are these-- send us your essays at takebackourcampus@yahoo.com (your names aren't important, you can leave them off the papers and send from anonymous accounts) and we'll pick the two we like the best. [We'll probably choose an attractive young female who happens to mention that I'm cute.-- CE. No we won't. The size of your ego already makes our web-hosting bills nearly unmanageable.-- Ed. Fuck!-- CE.]

First prize is Strunk and White's The Elements of Style (fourth edition. Second prize is The Political Science Student Writer's Manual (fourth edition) by Gregory M. Scott and Stephen M. Garrison. Best of all, both volumes will be autographed with a personal message from TBOC!'s very own ace grammarian, Christian Evangelist. [This is exactly what I mean.-- Ed.]

To ensure your anonymity, we'll send the books and our choices to Margaret and she can dole them out in class. We are completely serious about this.

Send away to: takebackourcampus@yahoo.com.

Happy mailings!

Monday, November 29, 2004

Sites to watch out for

If there's anything you can learn from thefacebook.com, it's mostly stuff we already know. Despite this, facebook is a real up-and-comer on the net, and one of the many rapidly growing ways for college students to simultaneously avoid human contact and waste their time, beyond simply throwing away endless hours on checking and re-checking the profiles of those on their buddy lists. What makes facebook a vastly superior time waster is its ability to allow the cloistered sluser to browse through more complete "profiles" of students, including an assortment of ugly mugs. Most folks' photographs, however, simply mimic the indispensable poster of Belushi and a bottle of whiskey from Animal House.

However, not all the new sites we've stumbled across lately are that fun. For instance, we've also mentioned the SLU Dems' blog. See the post entitled "Sample"? That means "sample of what will seemingly never exist." Unfortunately, it looks like that's about as exciting as things get over there in liberal webspace. Did I forget to mention the three deleted comments for the post? In fact, you might want to skip the blog entirely and just head straight for their homepage, where you'll be treated to a cartoon! I can't say that I've been this excited by a website since BillOReilly.com started offering a premium membership.

Don't worry too much, however. One needn't go to the un-blog of the SLU Dems' to experience liberal politics at their whiniest. After all, why would you when there's always the blog of the former author of The "Left" Side of the Hill? Yes, if any of you miss the pious self-indulgence of SLU's very own Great White Hope, you're in luck. You can still catch him on a semi-regular basis at Blogger's third blog bearing the title The Life of Brian (there's also The Life of Brian and The Life of Brian). Sure, it's not as pretty as TheHillNews.com, but never fear, it's just as dim.

Until later, happy surfing!

Saturday, November 27, 2004

A request for the peanut gallery

It's fine if you don't want to use your real name on a comment. We don't, so why would we expect you to? That said, if those of you posting simply as "Anonymous," or "anonymous," or "anon" could create some other consistent, unique nom de plume, it sure would help keeping track of who is saying what. It can become difficult to reply to things when there are 10 or 20 different people all posting as "Anonymous." If you're lacking ideas, try something descriptive of your online persona. If you're like most of our readers, you could try something like "semiliterate@best," "obsequious_sycophant," or "i<3slurs88." Of course it doesn't have to end there. You can spice it up with an assortment of unusual ascii characters, or even 13375p34k, like "53m|1|73r473," or "[0853qu|0u5]5yc0ph4n7." Whatever you chose, I'm sure we'll all dig it, and it will take our little conversations to a whole new level.

TTFN, lovemuffins.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Dear Margaret's Class,

We hear you've been diligently working on some essays about us. Care to share? We at TBOC! are big believers in academia. Unfortunately, we know that it is generally quite lazy. We would, however, like to give your class the benefit of the doubt and not presume you would simply turn in sloppy work about TBOC!--filled with idle speculation and fanciful naiveté about what we're trying to do, why we're doing it, or what style of argyle pattern is indeed my favorite--without having bothered to at least contact us for interviews beforehand.

So, we've talked it over and decided to extend an offer to your class for the opportunity of a lifetime. No, not a copy of Associate Professor John Jaunzems' first book, should it ever be written. And no, we can't proffer that Associate Professor Mike Owen will ever retract his support of South African apartheid.

Rather, we've got an even better offer: you all write a single list of questions for us and email it along, and we'll answer it--on the site of course. Don't worry, we'll be gentle, and we promise to make it more interesting than the SLU Dems' blog. Just have MKB check your grammar (but not the syntax, please).

Finally, when you've run the last spell-check, why not send us your completed essays? We'll even print the ones we like best.

Please send your essays to: takebackourcampus@yahoo.com.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

A Thanksgiving Prayer and One Thanksgiving Fact

"A Thanksgiving Prayer"

"Thanks for the wild turkey and
the passenger pigeons, destined
to be shit out through wholesome
American guts.

Thanks for a continent to despoil
and poison.

Thanks for Indians to provide a
modicum of challenge and

Thanks for vast herds of bison to
kill and skin leaving the
carcasses to rot.

Thanks for bounties on wolves
and coyotes.

Thanks for the American dream,
To vulgarize and to falsify until
the bare lies shine through.

Thanks for the KKK.

For nigger-killin' lawmen,
feelin' their notches.

For decent church-goin' women,
with their mean, pinched, bitter,
evil faces.

Thanks for 'Kill a Queer for
Christ' stickers.

Thanks for laboratory AIDS.

Thanks for Prohibition and the
war against drugs.

Thanks for a country where
nobody's allowed to mind their
own business.

Thanks for a nation of finks.

Yes, thanks for all the
memories-- all right let's see
your arms!

You always were a headache and
you always were a bore.

Thanks for the last and greatest
betrayal of the last and greatest
of human dreams."

--William Burroughs

A Thanksgiving Fact--Ratio of the number of pardons George W. Bush has issued turkeys to those he has issued human beings-- 4:1
(Updated from the November 2002 Harper's Index.)

"Genocide? Pass the Turkey."

TBOC! revisits some of last year's musings over the holiday

by Mitchel Cohen
with much material contributed by Peter Linebaugh and others whose names have been lost

The year was 1492. The Taino-Arawak people of the Bahamas discovered Christopher Columbus on their beach.

In A People's History of the United States, historian Howard Zinn writes how Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island'sbeaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. Columbus later wrote of this in his log. Here is what he wrote:

"They brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks, bells. They willingly traded everything they owned. They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of sugar cane. They would make fine servants. With 50 men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want."

And so the conquest began, and the Thanotocracy ­ the regime of death ­ was inaugurated, for the first time, on the continent the Indians called "Turtle Island."

You probably already know a good piece of the story: How Columbus's army took Arawak and Taino people prisoners and insisted that they take him to the source of their gold, which they used in tiny ornaments in their ears. And how, with utter contempt and cruelty, Columbus took many more Indians prisoner and put them aboard the Nina and the Pinta ­ the Santa Maria having run aground on the island of Hispañola (today, the Dominican Republic and Haiti). When some refused to be taken prisoner, they were run through with swords and bled to death. Then the Nina and the Pinta set sail for the Azores and Spain. During the long voyage, many of the Indian prisoners died. Here'spart of Columbus'sreport to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain:

"The Indians are so naive and so free with their possessions that no one who has not witnessed them would believe it. When you ask for something they have, they never say no. To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone." Columbus concluded his report by asking for a little help from the King and Queen, and in return he would bring them "as much gold as they need, and as many slaves as they ask."

Columbus returned to the New World ­ "new" for Europeans, that is ­ with 17 ships and more than 1,200 men. Their aim was clear: Slaves, and gold. They went from island to island in the Caribbean, taking Indians as captives.

But word spread ahead of them. By the time they got to Fort Navidad on Haiti, the Taino had risen up and killed all the sailors left behind on the last voyage, after the sailors had roamed the island in gangs raping women and taking children and women as slaves. Columbus later wrote: "Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold."

The Indians began fighting back, but were no match for the war technology of the Spaniard conquerors, even though they greatly outnumbered them. In eight years, Columbus'smen murdered more than 100,000 Indians on Haiti alone. Overall, dying as slaves in the mines, directly murdered, or dying from diseases brought to the Caribbean by the Spaniards, over 3 million Indian people were murdered in the Americas between 1492 and 1508.

What Columbus did to the Arawaks of the Bahamas and the Taino of the Caribbean, Cortez did to the Aztecs of Mexico, Pizarro to the Incas of Peru, and the English settlers of Virginia and Massachusetts to the Powhatans and the Pequots. Literally millions of native peoples were slaughtered. And the gold, slaves and other resources were used in Europe ­ to spur the growth of the new money economy rising out of feudalism. Karl Marx would later call this "the primitive accumulation of capital." These were the violent beginnings of an intricate system of technology, business, politics and culture that would dominate the world for the next five centuries.

In the North American English colonies, the pattern was set early. In 1585, before there was any permanent English settlement in Virginia, Richard Grenville landed there with seven ships. The Indians he met were hospitable, but when one of them stole a small silver cup, Grenville sacked and burned the whole Indian village.

The Jamestown colony was established in Virginia in 1607, inside the territory of an Indian confederacy, led by the chief, Powhatan. Powhatan watched the English settle on his people'sland, but did not attack. And the English began starving. Some of them ran away and joined the Indians, where they would at least be fed. Indeed, throughout colonial times tens of thousands of indentured servants, prisoners and slaves ­ from Wales and Scotland as well as from Africa ­ ran away to live in Indian communities, inter-marry, and raise their children there.

In the summer of 1610 the governor of Jamestown colony asked Powhatan to return the runaways, who were living among the Indians. Powhatan left the choice to those who ran away, and none wanted to go back. The governor of Jamestown then sent soldiers to take revenge. They descended on an Indian community, killed 15 or 16 Indians, burned the houses, cut down the corn growing around the village, took the female leader of the tribe and her children into boats, then ended up throwing the children overboard and shooting out their brains in the water. The female leader was later taken off the boat and stabbed to death.

By 1621, the atrocities committed by the English had grown, and word spread throughout the Indian villages. The Indians fought back, and killed 347 colonists. From then on it was total war. Not able to enslave the Indians the English aristocracy decided to exterminate them.

And then the Pilgrims arrived.

When the Pilgrims came to New England they too were coming not to vacant land but to territory inhabited by tribes of Indians. The story goes that the Pilgrims, who were Christians of the Puritan sect, were fleeing religious persecution in Europe. They had fled England and went to Holland, and from there sailed aboard the Mayflower, where they landed near what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Religious persecution or not, they immediately turned to their religion to rationalize their persecution of others. They appealed to the Bible, Psalms 2:8: "Ask of me, and I shall give thee, the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." To justify their use of force to take the land, they cited Romans 13:2: "Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation."

The Puritans lived in uneasy truce with the Pequot Indians, who occupied what is now southern Connecticut and Rhode Island. But they wanted them out of the way; they wanted their land. And they wanted to establish their rule firmly over Connecticut settlers in that area.

The way the different Indian peoples lived ­ communally, consensually, making decisions through tribal councils ­ contrasted dramatically with the Puritans, Christian fundamentalist values. For the Puritans, men decided everything, whereas in the Iroquois federation of what is now New York state women chose the men who represented the clans at village and tribal councils; it was the women who were responsible for deciding on whether or not to go to war. The Christian idea of male dominance and female subordination was conspicuously absent in Iroquois society.

There were many other cultural differences: The Iroquois did not use harsh punishment on children. They did not insist on early weaning or early toilet training, but gradually allowed children to learn to care for themselves. On the other hand, the pastor of the Pilgrim colony, John Robinson, advised his parishioners: "And surely there is in all children a stubbornness, and stoutness of mind arising from natural pride, which must, in the first place, be broken and beaten down." The Pilgrims embraced those strict, brutal practices.

Each tribe held to different sexual/marriage relationships; they practiced many different sexualities, and celebrated them. These ideas repelled the Puritan hierarchy and attracted some of the European "commoners". Native people did not believe in ownership of land ­ that concept was totally alien; they utilized the land, lived on it. The idea of "ownership" was ridiculous, absurd. The European Christians, on the other hand, in the spirit of the emerging capitalism, wanted to own and control everything land, children, sexuality, and other human beings.

In 1636 an armed expedition left Boston to attack the Narragansett Indians on Block Island. The English landed and killed some Indians, but the rest hid in the thick forests of the island and the English went from one deserted village to the next, destroying crops. Then they sailed back to the mainland and raided Pequot villages along the coast, destroying crops again.

The English went on setting fire to wigwams in the village. They burned village after village to the ground. As one of the leading theologians of his day, Dr. Cotton Mather put it: "No less than 600 Pequot souls were brought down to hell that day." And Cotton Mather, clutching his bible, spurred the English to slaughter more Indians in the name of Christianity.

One colonist rationalized the plague that had destroyed the Patuxet people ­ a combination of slavery, murder by the colonists and disease brought by the English ­ as "the Wonderful Preparation of the Lord Jesus Christ by His Providence for His People's Abode in the Western World."

The Pilgrims robbed Wampanoag graves for the food that had been buried with the dead for religious reasons. Whenever the Pilgrims realized they were being watched, they shot at the Wampanoags and scalped them. Scalping had been unknown among Native Americans in New England prior to its introduction by the English, who began the practice by offering the heads of their enemies and later accepted scalps.

Three hundred thousand Indians were murdered in New England over the next few years. It was the Puritan elite who wanted the war, a war for land, for gold, for power. It is important to note that ordinary Englishmen did not want this war. Often, very often, they refused to fight.

There has always been a strong anti-war movement in the United States and when some Europeans refused to kill Indians, that was the start of this proud heritage. Some European intellectuals like Roger Williams spoke out against the genocide. And some erstwhile colonists joined the Indians and even took up arms against the invaders from England. In the end, however, the Indian population of 10 million that was in North America when Columbus came was reduced to less than one million.

"What do you think of Western Civilization?" Mahatma Gandhi was asked in the 1940s. To which Gandhi replied: "Western Civilization? I think it would be a good idea." And so enters "Civilization," the civilization of Christian Europe, a "civilizing force" that couldn'thave been more threatened by the beautiful communal anarchy of the Indians they encountered, and so they slaughtered them.

These are the Puritans that the Indians "saved", and whom we celebrate in the holiday, Thanksgiving. Tisquantum, also known as Squanto, was a member of the Patuxet Indian nation, and Samoset was of the Wabonake Indian nation, which lived in Maine. They went to Puritan villages and, having learned to speak English, brought deer meat and beaver skins for the hungry, cold Pilgrims. Tisquantum stayed with them and helped them survive their first years in their New World. He taught them how to navigate the waters, fish and cultivate corn and other vegetables. He pointed out poisonous plants and showed how other plants could be used as medicines. He also negotiated a peace treaty between the Pilgrims and Massasoit, head chief of the Wampanoags, a treaty that gave the Pilgrims everything and the Indians nothing. And even that treaty, like hundreds to follow, was soon broken.

We learn in school to celebrate this as the First Thanksgiving. A community college named "Massasoit" today commemorates that indigenous leader who saved the Pilgrims.

Richard B. Williams, a Lakota Sioux and the executive director of the American Indian College Fund ­ a historian, educator and the founder of the Upward Bound Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder ­ casts this tale in a very different light:

"One day in 1605, a young Patuxet Indian boy named Tisquantum and his dog were out hunting when they spotted a large English merchant ship off the coast of Plymouth, Mass. Tisquantum, who later became known as Squanto, had no idea that life as he knew it was about to change forever.

"His role in helping the Pilgrims to survive the harsh New England winter and celebrate the "first" Thanksgiving has been much storied as a legend of happy endings, with the English and the Indians coming together at the same table in racial harmony. Few people, however, know the story of Squanto's sad life and the demise of his tribe as a result of its generosity. Each year, as the nation sits down to a meal that is celebrated by all cultures and races ­ the day we know as Thanksgiving ­ the story of Squanto and the fate of the Patuxet tribe is a footnote in history that deserves re-examination.

"The day that Capt. George Weymouth anchored off the coast of Massachusetts, he and his sailors captured Squanto and four other tribesmen and took them back to England as slaves because Weymouth thought his financial backers "might like to see" some Indians. Squanto was taken to live with Sir Ferdinando Gorges, owner of the Plymouth Company. Gorges quickly saw Squanto's value to his company's exploits in the new world and taught his young charge to speak English so that his captains could negotiate trade deals with the Indians.

"In 1614, Squanto was brought back to America to act as a guide and interpreter to assist in the mapping of the New England coast, but was kidnapped along with 27 other Indians and taken to Malaga, Spain, to be sold as slaves for about $25 a piece. When local priests learned of the fate of the Indians, they took them from the slave traders, Christianized them and eventually sent them back to America in 1618.

"But his return home was short-lived. Squanto was recognized by one of Gorges, captains, was captured a third time and sent back to England as Gorges, slave. He was later sent back to New England with Thomas Dermer to finish mapping the coast, after which he was promised his freedom. In 1619, however, upon returning to his homeland, Squanto learned that his entire tribe had been wiped out by smallpox contracted from the Europeans two years before. He was the last surviving member of his tribe.

"In November 1620, the Pilgrims made their now-famous voyage to the coast of Plymouth, which had previously been the center of Patuxet culture. The next year, on March 22, 1621, Squanto was sent to negotiate a peace treaty between the Wampanoag Confederation of tribes and the Pilgrims. We also know that Squanto'sskills as a fisherman and farmer were crucial to the survival of the Pilgrims that first year ­ contributions which changed history.

"But in November 1622, Squanto himself would also succumb to smallpox during a trading expedition to the Massachustts Indians. The Patuxet, like so many other tribes, had become extinct.

"Feasts of gratitude and giving thanks have been a part of Indian culture for thousands of years. In Lakota culture, it's called a Wopila; in Navajo, it's Hozhoni; in Cherokee, it's Selu i-tse-i; and in Ho Chunk it's Wicawas warocu sto waroc. Each tribe, each Indian nation, has its own form of Thanksgiving. But for Indian culture, Thanksgiving doesn't end when the dishes are put away. It is something we celebrate all year long ­ at the birth of a baby, a safe journey, a new home."

My own feeling? The Indians should have left the Pilgrims to their own devices, even if it meant they would die.

But they couldn't do that. Their humanity made them assist other human beings in need. And for that beautiful, human, loving connection they paid a terrible price: The genocide of the original inhabitants of Turtle Island, what is now America.

Thanksgiving, in reality, was the beginning of the longest war in the U.S ­ the extermination of the Indigenous peoples. Thanksgiving day was first proclaimed by the governor of the Massachuesetts Bay Colony in 1637, not to offer thanks for the Indians saving the Pilgrims ­ that'syet another re-write of the actual history ­ but to commemorate the massacre of 700 indigenous men, women and children who were celebrating their annual Green Corn Dance in their own house.

Gathered at this place, they were attacked by mercenaries, English and Dutch. The Pequots were ordered from the building and as they came forth they were killed with guns, swords, cannons and torches. The rest were burned alive in the building. The very next day the governor proclaimed a holiday and feast to "give thanks" for the massacre. For the next 100 years a governor would ordain a day to honor a bloody victory, thanking god the "battle" had been won. [For more information, see Where White Men Fear To Tread, by Russell Means, 1995; and Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian Hating and Empire Building, by R. Drinnon, 1990.]

The Maypole

In 1517, 25 years after Columbus first landed in the Bahamas, the English working class was in the midst of a huge revolt, organized through the guilds. King Henry VIII had brought to England Lombard bankers from Italy and merchants from France to undercut wages, lengthen hours, and break the guilds. This alliance between international finance, national capital and military aristocracy was in the process of merging into the imperialist nation-state.

The young workers of London took their revenge upon the merchants. A rumor said the commonality ­ the vision of communal society that would counter the rich, the merchants, the industrialists, the nobility and the landowners ­ would arise on May Day. The King and Lords got frightened ­ householders were armed, a curfew was declared. Two workers didn't hear about the curfew (they missed Dan Rather on t.v.). They were arrested. The shout went out to mobilize, and 700 workers stormed the jails, throwing bricks, hot water, stones. The prisoners were freed. A French capitalist'shouse was trashed.

Then came the repression: Cannons were fired into the city. Three hundred were imprisoned, soldiers patrolled the streets, and a proclamation was made that no women were allowed to meet together, and that all men should "keep their wives in their houses." The prisoners were brought through the streets tied in ropes. Some were children. Eleven sets of gallows were set up throughout the city. Many were hanged. The authorities showed no mercy and exhibited extreme cruelty.

Thus the dreaded Thanatocracy, the regime of death, was inaugurated in England in answer to proletarian riot at the beginning of capitalism.

The May Day riots were caused by expropriation (people having been uprooted from their lands they had used for centuries in common), and by exploitation (people had no jobs, as the monarchy imported capital). Working class women ­ organizers and healers who posed an alternative to patriarchal capitalism ­ were burned at the stake as witches. Enclosure, conquest, famine, war and plague ravaged the people who, in losing their commons, also lost a place to put the traditional emblem of the Commons ­their Maypole.

Suddenly, the Maypole became a symbol of rebellion. In 1550, Parliament ordered the destruction of Maypoles (just as, during the Vietnam war, the U.S.-backed junta in Saigon banned the making of all red cloth, for people were sewing it into the blue, yellow and red flags of the National Liberation Front).

While heretical liberation-theologists of the day were burned at the stake, the Bible'slast book, Revelation, became an anti-authoritarian manual inspirational to those who would turn the Puritans, world upside down, such as the Family of Love, the Anabaptists, the Diggers, Levellers, and Ranters. In 1626, Thomas Morton, who had come over on his own, a boat person, an immigrant, went to Merry Mount in Quincy Massachusetts and with his Indian friends put up the first Maypole in America, in contempt of the Puritans. The Puritans destroyed it, and in retaliation exiled Morton, plagued the Indians, and hanged gay people and Quakers.

In Great Britain, the proletarian insurgency flared in fits and starts throughout the empire. Oliver Cromwell'sPuritan army blazed into Ireland in 1649, slaughtered 3,500 defenders and local citizenry of the town of Drogheda, and confiscated almost forty percent of indigenous Catholic lands in Ireland, resistributing them to Protestants born in Britain. The British treatment of the Irish patriots paralleled the monarchy'sregard for the indigenous people of the "New World".

Although the Puritans were removed from power in England in 1660 with the death of Cromwell two years before and the ascendance of Charles II to the throne, the Puritans in the Americas continued their war against the Pequot Indians while in Britain May Day was abolished altogether, as part of the attempt to defeat the growing proletarian insurgency.

In the Americas, rebellion was brewing among the colonists. Charles II put down Bacon'sRebellion with great bloodshed in Virginia, during which both sides used, abused, and murdered Indians to reinforce their power. The king'semissaries began the conquest of a new string of colonies in the South.

A century-and-a-half after Morton planted the first Maypole in the British colonies, another great "troublemaker," the Manchester proletarian Ann Lee, arrived in the Americas (1774) and founded the communal living, gender-separated Shakers who praised God in ecstatic dance and, in rejecting marriage and refusing to procreate, drove the Puritans and other religious zealots up the wall.

The story of the Maypole as a symbol of revolt continued. It crossed cultures and continued through the ages. In the late 1800s, the Sioux began the Ghost Dance in a circle, with a large pine tree in the center, which was covered with strips of cloth of various colors, eagle feathers, stuffed birds, claws, and horns, all offerings to the Great Spirit. They didn'tcall it a Maypole, but they danced, just as the English proletarians danced, just as the Shakers, danced, for the unity of all Indians, the return of the dead, and the expulsion of the invaders. It might as well have been a Mayday!

Wovoka, a Nevada Paiute, started it. Expropriated, he cut his hair. To buy watermelon he rode boxcars to work in the Oregon hop fields for small wages, exploited. The Puget Sound Indians had a new religion ­ they stopped drinking alcohol, became entranced, and danced for five days, jerking twitching, calling for their land back. Wovoka took this back to Nevada: "All Indians must dance, everywhere, keep on dancing." Soon they were. Porcupine took the dance across the Rockies to the Sioux. Red Cloud and Sitting Bull advanced the left foot following with the right, hardly lifting their feet from the ground. The Federal Agents banned the Ghost Dance. They claimed it was a cause of the last Sioux outbreak, just as the Puritans had claimed the Maypole dancers had caused the May Day proletarian riots, just as the Shakers were dancing people into communality and out of Puritanism.

And, just as the American working class was engaging in pitched battles in its fight for the 8-hour day.

On December 29, 1890 the U.S. Government (with Hotchkiss guns throwing 2 pound explosive shells, each containing 30 one-half-inch lead balls, at the rate of 50 per minute) massacred more than 300 men, women and children at Wounded Knee. These same weapons were also turned against striking industrial workers and their families. As in the Waco holocaust a century later, or the government'sbombing of MOVE in Philadelphia, the State disclaimed responsibility. The Bureau of Ethnology sent out James Mooney to investigate. Amid Janet Reno-like tears, he wrote: "The Indians were responsible for the engagement." Nothing has changed.

In 1970, the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts held, as it does each year, a Thanksgiving Ceremony given by the townspeople. There are many speeches for the crowds who attend. That year ­ the year of Nixon'ssecret invasion of Cambodia; the year 4 students were massacred at Kent State and 13 wounded for opposing the war; the year they tried to electrocute Black Panthers Bobby Seale and Erica Huggins ­ the Massachusetts Department of Commerce asked the Wampanoag Indians to select a speaker to mark the 350th anniversary of the Pilgrims, arrival, and the first Thanksgiving.

Wamsutta "Frank" James, a leader of the Wampanoags from Massachusetts, was selected. But before he was allowed to speak he was directed to show a copy of his speech to the "citizens" in charge of the ceremony. When they saw what he had written, they would not allow him to read it.

First: the genocide. Then, the suppression of all discussion about it, even a century later.

Here is a portion of James, speech ­ one of the most famous "undelivered" speeches in American history:

"It is with mixed emotion that I stand here to share my thoughts. This is a time of celebration for you-celebrating an anniversary of a beginning for the white man in America. A time of looking back, of reflection. It is with a heavy heart that I look back upon what has happened to my people.

"Massasoit, the great Sachem of the Wampanoag, ......and his people, welcomed and befriended the settlers of the Plymouth Plantation. Perhaps he did this because his tribe had been depleted by an epidemic. Or his knowledge of the harsh oncoming winter was the reason for his peaceful acceptance of these acts. This action by Massasoit was perhaps our biggest mistake. We, the Wampanoag, welcomed you the white man, with open arms, little knowing that it was the beginning of the end; that before 50 years were to pass, the Wampanoag would no longer be a free people.

"History wants us to believe that the Indian was a savage, illiterate, uncivilized animal. A history that was written by an organized disciplined people, to expose us as an unorganized and undisciplined entity. Two distinctly different cultures met. One thought they must control life; the other believed life was to be enjoyed, because nature decreed it.

"Our spirit refuses to die. Yesterday we walked the woodland paths and shady trails. Today we must walk the macadam highways and roads. We are uniting. We're standing not not in our wigwams but in your concrete tent. We stand tall and proud, and before too many moons pass we'll right the wrongs we have allowed to happen to us.

"We forfeited our country. Our lands have fallen into the hands of the aggressor. We have allowed the white man to keep us on our knees. What has happened cannot be changed, but today we must work towards a more humane America, a more Indian America, where men and nature once again are important; where the Indian values of honor, truth and brotherhood prevail.

"You the white man are celebrating an anniversary. We the Wampanoags will help you celebrate in the concept of a beginning. It was the beginning of a new life for the Pilgrims. Now 350 years later it is a beginning of a new determination for the original American: the American Indian."

For the indigenous people of the Americas, Thanksgiving is "the National Day of Mourning."

What does anyone have to be thankful for in the genocide of the Indians that this "holyday" commemorates? As we sit with our families on Thanksgiving, taking the opportunity to get out of work or off the streets and be in a warm place with people we love, we realize that none of the things we have to be thankful for have anything at all to do with the Pilgrims or the official (sanitized) version of American history, and everything to do with the alternative, anarcho-communist lives the Indian peoples led before they were massacred by the colonists in the name of Christianity, privatization of property and the lust for gold and slave labor.

Yes, I am an American. But I am an American in revolt. I am revolted by the holiday known as Thanksgiving.

I have been accused of wanting to go backwards in time, of being against progress. To those charges, I plead guilty. I want to go back in time to when people lived communally, before the colonists, Christian god was brought to these shores to sanctify their terrorism, their slavery, their hatred of children, their capitalism, their oppression of women, their holocausts. But that is impossible. So I look forward to the utter destruction of the apparatus of death known as Amerika ­ not the people, not the beautiful land, but the machinery of empire, the State, capitalism, religious bigotry that in many ways dominates everyday life, greed, and the lies that enable it to continue, sucking us into being complicit with this awful history ... as it is repeated today.

I look forward to a future where I will have children with America, and ... they will be the new Indians.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

SLU Dems announce merger with SLU GOP

CANTON, NY -- In an unforeseen turn of events, the SLU Democrats have announced that they will be merging with the SLU GOP. SLU Dems president Katherine Byrne could not be reached for comment, but VP Christine Ranney announced the merger yesterday, stating, "The political climate of our nation is one of division and conflict. For the good of our country, and our campus, it is only right that we acknowledge the fact that we have more in common with our brothers and sisters on the other side of the aisle than we have differences. Because of this, we are proud to announce that the SLU Democrats are uniting with the SLU Republicans."

Reactions have been mixed. One SLU student told a TBOC! correspondent, "I never saw a huge difference between the groups. I mean after 9/11, most of the SLU Dems were supportive of a war. But I guess I didn't exactly see this coming." Another student reiterated this, saying, "Given their position on issues like the war or affirmative action, I guess this stuff now sort of makes sense. I'm still a little confused, though." Other students, however, seemed less surprised. Jill Bailey '06 said of the unification, "Should we be shocked or something? What I want to know is, will this affect the steady supply of shitty bottle openers the SLU Republicans always hand out whenever they table?" Likewise, Jason Stuart '07 told our correspondent, "So, are you guys gonna give me that bag of coke cut with heroin and speed now, or what?"

Ranney further noted yesterday that, "Our major differences have always been with political candidates. I mean, sure, Bush is an idiot, and we would have preferred Kerry. But they were both in Skull and Bones, both Yale graduates, both from the extreme upper-elite of the country, both in favor of the war, and both against gay marriage ... so I guess we didn't make out all that badly. And it just goes to show, again, how much we have in common."

Some, though, are questioning just what the ramifications of this event will be when it comes to the political climate at SLU. While most speculate that the merger won't make much of a difference, others are not so sure. SLU associate professor John Jaunzems, who we reached at his Baker St. home, told TBOC!, "Not even Sherlock Holmes himself would be able to deduce what will happen next."

As one student said, "I mean Sears just bought K-Mart, and they used to be enemies. But in the end, you know, they were basically the same. And now I can use my Sears card to buy all that Big K stuff I always liked. I guess what I'm saying is, the more these groups get the same, the better the quality of life will be for all SLU students."

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Poor People at SLU? Never!

I've noticed a common theme that seems to resurface in the comments section of TBOC! On many different posts, people always ask what we're doing at SLU if we don't like it, or they call us 'public school trash,' or they call us hypocritical for critiquing wealthy SLU students when we ourselves are privileged enough to be there. I will readily admit that I am extremely privileged, but I would not be at St. Lawrence without a hefty financial aid package and a merit scholarship.

But, just for fun, let's look at a concept; it's been discussed on TBOC! before, but I'll explain it once again, in the simplest terms possible. Because our education system is funded with property taxes, schools in poor neighborhoods can't afford things like adequate facilities, text books, or teachers in any large quantity. Classrooms are overcrowded, and students of these schools tend to receive inadequate educations. Because of the structures of racism which underlie America (namely capitalism), these poor communities tend to contain large concentrations of non-white people. But let's not bring the race card up this time, let's play "color-blind" (like the SLU administration).

People from poor communities are disadvantaged at the high school level, and as such they are disadvantaged when it comes to colleges and universities. Sometimes a few poories will slip through the cracks and make it into a school like SLU, so we jack up the prices, making it hard for even those with scholarships to attend. We have to pay our tuition and fees at the beginning of each semester, but since most people cannot come up with such a large sum of money at one time, they are forced to take out loans. The loans must be repaid at high interest rates, meaning that students who don't get help from Mommy and Daddy are constantly in debt.

Does it have to be this way? In a recent conversation, one source told us about the education system in Australia. Granted, Australia is a third-world, poverty stricken country, yet their system is far superior to that in the United States. (Kidding about the poverty stricken thing. Australia is strikingly similar to the United States. They also re-elected a leader--John Howard, the Prime Minister--who is one of George W. Bush's lapdogs.) First of all, the education system is not reliant on property taxes. Schools are funded generally equitably by the government. Although the system is still not perfect (that pesky race business again), it evens the playing field in a way that the United States could not even imagine.

When it comes to higher education in Australia, there is an impressive system in place. It is called HECS, or the Higher Education Contribution Scheme. What this is, basically, is a loan from the Australian government that covers tuition. This loan is interest-free, and doesn't need to be repaid until your income rises above $AU35,000 per year. Paying it off early means a 20% discount, and the loan doesn't cover housing or other living expenses, so those wealthy elites are still advantaged, but not as obviously.

What this means is that in Australia, an English-speaking, capitalist country that follows the U.S. where ever we go, almost anyone can receive some form of higher education. And when they leave, they don't have a debt that starts immediately, even when they are trying to establish themselves in a job and a living situation. Rather, they can settle down first, and when they reach a comfortable (although still a low) income, they start paying back their education debts. Moreover, these debts are interest free, unless you count inflation as interest. There are flaws with HECS, and wealthy (white) people are advantaged in much deeper ways, but at least on the surface it is infinitely better than what we have in the U.S.

Why can't we have a system like this in the United States? Are we afraid people will cheat the system? It seems highly unlikely that someone is going to stay at a low income level just to avoid repaying debts. Are we afraid of seeming too soft? I will admit, it does seem like a system set up by those Damn Commies. What seems most likely to me is that the wealthy elites don't want to give everyone an equal opportunity. Afterall, who wants places like St. Lawrence to be overrun with poor people?

Anatomy of an Administration Warning

Exactly one week ago, we received a letter from a student (using her real name) alleging that there is "bad and cut cocaine" on campus. "Hell's bells," we thought. "This woman simply needs to get a better dealer. If she doesn't trust her dealer, she may as well be snorting Nutrasweet." But that's not all. Our correspondent informed us that this "bad and cut cocaine" is "cut with heroin, speed, and adderall" and that "cocaine dealers... kill students with bad drugs." Needless to say, we had the good sense to ignore her letters-- all nine of them.

Why? Heroin is almost never cut with substances designed to kill the user. The same goes for cocaine. It would be especially stupid to combine the two, as cocaine is an upper and heroin is a downer and the resulting mixture would leave the user tired and strung-out, but certainly not feeling anything good.

Further, it would be almost impossible to keep a consistent color and granule size while mixing cocaine and heroin. The result would look like a powdered and clumpy batch of sugar with dashes of cornmeal added. Indeed, why would "cocaine dealers" (we prefer to think of them as "free-market capitalists") want to "kill students with bad drugs"?

However, we don't flatter ourselves as being the only outlet to which this crusading student appealed. Some persons are easily excited by sensational urban legends-- Dean M.L. "Cissy" Petty, for instance.

The good dean replied to the student with a promise of an investigation-- "i hope you will have the courage of your convictions to tell them [Rance Davis and Security Chief Patrick Gagnon] what you specifically know regarding drug use on campus. we will begin to investigate the claims that you are making, [student's name redacted by TBOC!]." In a later e-mail, the always stalwart dean wrote, "we'll start doing informational programming about cocaine right now...and too, start an investigation." We ask that our readers note Petty's weird use of ellipses.

Gagnon, perhaps confusing actual knowledge with silly myths of spiked cocaine, told the concerned student that he (in her words, stated in a letter to Dean Petty), "has known for a week about the rumors of large amounts of dangerous cocaine that has been mixed with other drugs." In a November 11 e-mail, Dean Petty undermined her colleague somewhat, writing, "i do not know why he [Gagnon] said he has known about large amounts of dangerous cocaine on campus...we have not talked about it." Again, please note the incorrect use of ellipses.

This hunt for dangerous and imaginary cocaine culminated with the above mentioned "informational programming" as well as a campus-wide e-mail from Patricia Ellis, Student Health Service Director. If one wonders why sexual assault is treated like a joke at SLU, one might conjecture that the reason is the administration chooses to spend its time hunting for "bad and cut cocaine" "cut with heroin, speed, and adderall" and "cocaine dealers... kill[ing] students with bad drugs." All this effort expended on behalf of one young woman's fantasies.

Let this be a lesson to all students at SLU-- if you want to see the most idiotic and dreamed-up charges become "informational programming," simply send an e-mail to Dean M.L. "Cissy" Petty. Complain about absolutely any stupid thing you want-- the sudden influx of vampires on campus, that the tooth fairy has been absent of late, that 2000 years ago a nice Jewish carpenter had to die to absolve you of your sins, even that the misuse of ellipses causes you rashes and sores and other scrofulous gestures-- and you're sure to find some "informational programming" delivered to your door, courtesy of Cissy and the gang.

Monday, November 22, 2004

This Just In: 96% of TBOC! readers bested by Rain Man in test of wits

"You guys aren't serious enough."

"You're not funny."

Well, which is it, fuckwits? Either we're not serious, or we're not funny. We can't very well be both.

What has always charmed me about the lovable bunch of scalawags and ruffians that make up the readership of TBOC! (with few notable exceptions) is their unyielding inconsistency. Let's take a peek at a number of examples, shall we?

Our readers often grow tired of the grammatical whip we so wildly wield, without ever, as they say, "connecting the dots." Readers of our old site will know that a number of comments were made by our online followers about the inadequacy of our students of color when it comes to their command of the English language. To wit, these same critics exhibited some of the worse syntax and grammar skills to ever grace our domain. And that's saying a lot.

Other readers simply contend that it is not fair. We should, they admonish, focus on the ideas put forward in a post. So I pose this question: if you, dear reader, handed in a essay to a professor that was ideologically sound--nay, brilliant--in which you, simultaneously, demonstrated the grammatical prowess of a chipmunk, would it be unfair of said faculty member to factor that into your grade? Not only would it be fair, s/he would be doing you a supreme disservice were they not to correct your shortcomings. What I'm saying is, we critique because we love. Well, usually.

Another couple of examples: If we post something satirical, readers complain that it's "not serious," yet when we post something serious, readers complain that it's "not funny." Best of all, at least once a week, one or two brave souls pose the question: "Don't you have anything better to do than write for this site?" This is actually answered in the FAQ, but we'll take the time to repeat ourselves: Most contributors check the site once a day. Me? I tend to check it a couple of times on one day, and then take the few days off necessary to recover from the parade of idiocy that make up our comments section. However, I can't say the same about many of our readers--mainly those who issue this criticism--since the frequency and rapidity of their comments border on the obsessive.

In the end, perhaps my headline comparison to Rain Man was a bit inaccurate. Tom Cruise could never grow to love the bulk of our readership. They're just too dumb. Besides, it would be unfair to Dustin Hoffman. He's been in a lot of great movies.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Cissy's right-hand man wants love; blacks, Asians, need not apply

Submitted for your consideration:

The Shawn-Eric Brooks we all know.

The Shawn-Eric Brooks who lives "in the light" but loves to "play in the dark."

One Shawn-Eric is the milquetoast, dressy administrative figure. The second Shawn-Eric is the younger, handsome, hard bodied, nipple-pierced, tattooed, bearded creature of the night who dons, it seems, no clothing at all, known to Match.com users only as "northcountrydoc." (We must admit, we think the second picture much more flattering.) Yet, both are the same Shawn-Eric Brooks. Will the real Shawn-Eric Brooks, then, please step forward?

It's amazing what you can learn about someone through their online dating profile. For instance, did you know Shawn-Eric loves "I Love Lucy"? We didn't. And while from a passive glance at the photograph of Shawn-Eric's studly alter ego, one might not deduce that while he loves the athletic, he's "not a gym rat."

It is evident from his profile that Brooks is not only a man of culture ("[I]nterests include reading and, (sic) movies," "I usually have 2-3 books working at the same time... 'The Power of Now'. 'A Course in Miracles', and 'The Order of the Phoenix'"), but a guy who likes to cut loose now and again ("I am pretty organized but have been known to spontaneously dance naked in a cloud burst.") However, Shawn-Eric is nothing if not flexible: "Hot tub or fireside.. your call...."

Shawn-Eric enjoys cycling, running, swimming, walking, hiking, weights, football, hockey, and skiing. Add to the mix a healthy love of camping, cooking, dining out, music and concerts, performing arts, the spiritual, travel and sightseeing, and watching sports, "sensual stroll[s] along the beach, the sunset reflected in our eyes as we hold hands and enjoy the tide," and you've got yourself a man that almost no one could resist. He's a catch; someone educated with some college, an associates degree, a bachelors degree, a graduate degree, a PhD, and perhaps a more important education in what Brooks terms the "School of life." His turn-ons include "Tattoos, Body piercings, Skinny dipping, Flirting, Thrills, Public displays of affection, Dancing, Erotica, Candlelight," and last but not least, "Thunderstorms."

But enough about Shawn-Eric. Who does he want? "I am attracted to MASCULINE (sic) men who like what they see in the mirror. You don't have to have washboard abs or guns of steel, but you need to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Men with a quick smile and a good sense of humor move to the head of the line." In fact, there's only one catch. According to Shawn-Eric's--that is, northcountrydoc's--Match.com profile, you don't have to be white to be his baby. You can be Latino, Middle Eastern, even Native American. But you can't be black or Asian.

To avoid a rush to conclusions, perhaps Shawn-Eric is simply worried about those pop culture phenomena, "you know what they say about black guys," and, conversely, "you know what they say about Asian men." Perhaps Shawn-Eric simply wants his porridge to be "just right." So maybe he's not to be blamed. Nevertheless, we implore Shawn-Eric: open up your heart, love knows no color (except in the South). Just think of all the tattooed, pierced, skinny-dipping, cycling, running, swimming, walking, hiking, weight-lifting, sports-watching, spiritual, travel-loving people you are screening out simply because of their ethnicity. Besides, if all you're worried about is "what they say," then just remember: to date, both remain scientifically unproven.

However, we at TBOC! can't help but wonder: in the second picture, where is your left arm going?

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Rebels Among Us

[What follows is an email communique we received this morning from one SLU student.]

A Report from our Special Correspondent – the Roving Reporter.

Live from Appleton. 17th May, 2004.

As if coke usage wasn’t a big enough problem for SLU GOP, the SLU Republican member and Thelmo President (via a Saddam Hussein style-referendum) Adam Hussein was today severely reprimanded by Canton PD, as well as the Security. He was nabbed for promoting and engaging in underage drinking in the parking lot of the Appleton arena. The event, initially, was described by him as an orgasmic experience, designed for the sole purpose of making hard liquor more accessible to the underage drinkers. If sources are to be believed, he even tried to get some underage high school girls drunk. Tsk-tsk, Mr. President. But that part of the story remains yet to be confirmed. Keep watching FOX News for hourly updates as we get more information on this tense situation.

He repeatedly mentioned that “concealed booze in public places” is his specialty. Among other creative ideas President Adam Hussein promoted the use of dark colored (think Pink) nalgene bottles – but that is not all, kids (take notes from our favorite alcoholic): he also used old sprite bottles to fill it up with liquor. How dare he use Coke products while the top-level administration sells the campus to Pepsi, Inc. – part by part. Apparently, hockey is sponsored by Pepsi too, now.

Apparently, Adam Hussein and co. got off from spending the night at the Canton jail when Snedy yelled, “Do you know who pays your salary?” At which point the cops bowed down and said, “Your father! O! my privileged white male.” He’s undoubtedly on bottom of the “tilted playing field”. We feel for you, Pete.

Yes, that’s exactly the attitude, Pete and Adam. Let’s all drink together on your 21st birthdays, boys.

The rebel in Mr. Hussein got the better of him yet again when he couldn’t resist the temptation of yelling aloud, “Clarkson Sucks” during the national anthem, despite repeated pleas by the organizers to respect our nation. Apparently, he exists on a higher moral and social code and can disrespect the national anthem, if and when he sees fit.

Funny, how some people become Community Assistants. Dean Petty, hope you get a chance to talk about this over with our heroes, Adam and Peter, between your morning and evening naps in your curtain covered windows. Maybe, sometime before you tell some rape victim, “take a semester off.”

Oh, how about a J-Board hearing. How about an open hearings, Mr. Rance Davis, Dean of Multicultural Affairs? Why have they stuck you with these security duties down at SLU? Do you have a PhD in Diversity or Leadership? Just curious.

Did anyone notice Sport at the hockey game today? I thought I was the only one not wearing the white colors (going with the whole white-out theme of the night) until I looked at Sport, wearing a hideously ugly yellow shirt. Dolly Dolphin, on the other hand, was surprisingly dressed in white. I can’t wait to have a black-out game next year. Will GOPers wear black or is that color not considered good enough? Diversity rules.

Stay tuned for live web-cam shots of Adam Hussein coming this weekend right here from a sketchy corner at SLU.

- --Another TBOC Exclusive. We welcome the administration to act on the information provided above. Or would that mean they won’t be getting a check this year from Mr. Snedeker?

Today's news in brief

Gathered from domestic and foreign newswire sources

Republicans in the House of Representatives yesterday changed their rules to allow Majority Leader Tom DeLay to keep his post even if a grand jury indicts him.

47 Iraqi political parties have announced they will boycott January's elections. Most of the parties are Sunni and connected to the Association of Muslim Scholars. But the group includes 8 Shiite parties, one Christian party, one communist party and the Iraqi Turkmen Front. Journalist Mazen Ghazi reports the parties issued a communique that charges the election does not speak for the Iraqi people as long as it is "imposed" by the US-backed interim government.

The U.S. death toll in Iraq has now topped 1200. November has already become the second deadliest month for US troops since the invasion was launched. So far nearly 100 troops have died this month.

Israel Radio is reporting that Elliot Abrams has become the leading candidate to become the next U.S. ambassador to Israel. Abrams is seen a strong backer of Ariel Sharon's government and is closely allied to the neo-conservative movement in Washington. In 1991 Abrams was indicted by the Iran-Contra special prosecutor for giving false testimony about his role in illicitly raising money for the contras, but he pleaded guilty to two lesser offenses. He was pardoned by President George H.W. Bush in 1992.

Tony Blair's "shoulder to shoulder" support for America is rejected today by a majority of British people, who believe it is more important to have good relations with European countries. A poll by NOP for The Independent found that 64 per cent of people think that having good relations with Britain's European Union partners is more important than with the United States, while only 25 per cent believe the relationship with the US should take priority.

Cairo lodged a formal protest after the Israeli army killed three Egyptian border policemen by mistake, threatening to plunge their delicate diplomatic ties into crisis mode.

Fighters in Falluja are continuing to hold out in the face of massive firepower US forces are unleashing to try and seize overall control of the city. "Fierce resistance is still raging with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and machine guns against the US forces stationed on the outskirts of Falluja," an Iraqi journalist in the city, Fadil al-Badrani, said. Meanwhile, fighting flared on a number of fronts across the country. In Ramadi, west of Baghdad, clashes erupted on Wednesday evening between US soldiers and armed groups opposed to the US-led government, leaving seven people dead, according to hospital officials.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

A Reply to My Critics, Part II: When Did Feminism Become "Politically Neutral"?

There will be no rhetorical meandering posing as an introduction. I'll simply get on with it:

part 1-
While it is impossible to remain completely apolitical in any situation. A group such as the WRC, in cases concerning victims of sexual violence, should strive to maintain a more politically neutral stance. Even if the group as a whole is not apolitical, the group’s aim is to provide a service to ALL women. Take Back the Night is a program set up to empower victims of sexual violence not to alienate them. Sponsoring a highly political speaker, despite how much fellow left oriented thinkers would enjoy this, would ultimately alienate some of the women that need the opportunity to speak out. Through making this a political forum rather than an empowering event, the possibility of re-victimizing the victim is created. Making the victim feel that because they believe something different their voice does not matter potentially causes more damage. There is a time
part 2-
and place for political speakers, in this situation the WRC's choice to maintain some semblance of an apolitical environment is well based.

At the same time I do agree with promisebreaker’s comment, it is the responsibility of the WRC as a resource center to provide information concerning structural sexual violence. However, this would be more effective if approached as another event. While it does have strong links to Take Back the Night, and sexual violence, this is not the intended purpose of the event. If one of the women chooses to stand up and state political feelings that is her right, but the WRC should not blatantly alienate women by making this only about political views.

I realize that my point will inevitably be disregarded in favor of counting the number of grammatical mistakes I have made. Regardless, here is something to think about.
The ironically named "radicalfeminist" suffers from a simple logical fallacy, one from which many of our correspondents also suffer. Issues are divided into the categories of "political" and "non-political." "Non-political" issues are viewed acceptable while "political" issues are generally seen as both unnecessary and unacceptable.

For example, these individuals distinguish "sexual violence" from reproductive rights, as though the two have never met. Thus I will make the case that forced pregnancy is a form of sexual violence. A pregnant woman without the right to abortion is sentenced, against her will and without her explicit consent, to nine months of painful extra weight, exhaustion, dizziness, high blood pressure, back aches, nausea, and difficulty breathing. (However, this is rarely considered by religious zealots, already fond of the hair shirt, which doesn't begin to compare.) Additionally, the woman sentenced must spend at least two months unemployed due to her sufferings. Let's hope she has enough money to keep her and the fetus housed and fed during her tenure of zero-income.

During the actual birth, a 6-9 pound (on average) child is forced through the victim's vagina, causing rips and gashes to the vaginal area (stitches are often needed), as well as mortifying pain to the (again, unwilling and unconsenting) victim. Go here for some horror stories about this. In the event of a Caesarean section ("C-section") the victim's belly is sliced open, hardly a less violent option.

[To my critics-- as a science experiment, try fitting your head into a child's glove. Then you might have some idea as to the violence done to an unwilling and unconsenting woman forced to give birth. (Afterward, please apologize to the child for destroying his/her glove.)]

Whether her vagina or her stomach is made gory and stitched, the victim has now has a choice to make (if she has not decided prior to the birth). She can either adopt out her child (and subsequently deal with mind-fucking post-partum psychosis and ensuing feelings of guilt for the rest of her life) or become legally responsible for the child's upbringing for the next eighteen years. In this case, as the time involved is so much, she may as well forget about finishing/continuing her education and about any career that involves spending over eight hours a day in the office. As the rise in wages is (politely) never commensurate to the rising cost of raising children, the (likely single) victim can also assume a life of poverty.

Now-- why are some forms of sexual violence (e.g. forced pregnancy) set apart from others (e.g. rape or physical abuse)? As I see the two as similar, one would have to address that to my critics. I will address this to my "feminist" critics-- if you so blindly accept the religious-right's dogmatic notion that forced pregnancy is not sexual violence, why not take to heart all of Christianity's tract's belittling women? For example, take God's punishment of Eve's "sin" of eating the fruit of knowledge: "To the woman He said, 'I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.'" [Genesis 3:16]

In furtherance of this point (in which I really live up to my moniker), I offer a few quotes (the teachings of Christ's disciple Paul) also held as gospel by those who oppose abortion:

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. [I Timothy 2:11-12]

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as unto the Lord... as the Church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. [Ephesian 5:22-24]

A man should not cover his head because he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. [I Corinthians 11:7]

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience... And if they will learn any thing let them ask their husbands at home. [I Corinthians] 14:34-35

The focus of the Take Back the Night rally should be community-building as well as education. It would do the young women of SLU a disservice to further abuse them with the notion that the opposition to abortion is anything but the expressed misogyny of a Christian patriarchy.

I await with baiting breaths the response of my critics.

A Reply to My Critics

[For any new readers, go here to see the original post about the Women's Resource Center and the comments that ensued.]

I must admit that I agree strongly with my critics. However, my agreement would be much more so had I actually written any of the remarks they attack.

This is normally the case when one writes of politics. My critics have taken quotes out of context and invented simple arguments in order to build a misogynistic straw man they are capable of destroying. While I find flattering the burning of my effigy, I would much prefer that my "feminist" correspondents engage with what I actually wrote.

Thus, I'd like to take the time to correct the authors of these epistles and offer a few admonishments of my own. Now then, out of the introduction and into the fray:
part 1:
- ok:
"While this may seem like a timely topic, especially for the promiscuous and careless students at SLU..." -you're implying that abortions are only given to "promiscuous" girls. right... because most unplanned pregnancies don't happen to girls whose birth control has failed them or anything.
Cheerfully, you're wrong on both counts. I implied none of the misogynistic sentiment you ascribe to my writing. I wrote that a lecture on reproductive rights would be especially helpful to the "promiscuous and careless students at SLU" (i.e. most of the student body), as they would be further at risk for an unplanned pregnancy (as well as scrofulous viruses-- but that's neither here nor there) than those students careful and chaste.

Further, (and I promise to explain one day to my readers the difference between "further" and "farther") your conjecture that unplanned pregnancies occur because birth control fails is not so unscientific as it is imaginary. Birth control failure rates range from around 10% for latex condoms (no spermacide) to less than 1% for oral contraceptives such as the pill. [See this report from the Food and Drug Administration for the actual data.] However, these rates (based on laboratory testing) don't always correlate to the real world. A study in the British Journal of Family Planning found that one-fifth of the women referred for an abortion claimed to be taking oral contraceptives. See Ann Furedi's "The Causes of Unplanned Pregnancy," in which she argues that this rather alarming discrepency is due to not the failure but human error causing the misuse of birth control-- a likely event in the case of the promiscuous and careless students at SLU. You stand corrected.

Moving on:
part 2:
bringing judith degroat in the middle of an article criticizing the girls of the wrc makes no sense- the incident with judith (her misspelling, which is probably the fault of the hill news) is from 2003. also, picking apart someone's grammar rather than their ideas is a weak way to argue. take back the night aims to bring women of all backgrounds together. making it political sends off signals (whether or not they're meant to be there) that women who identify as republican and who have been sexually assaulted or harassed are not recognized as being legitimate victims of sexual violence. sexual violence trancends political views, that's for damn sure.

all in all, a poor article.

-a SLU feminist (we actually exist, contrary to popular tboc belief)
Thanks for the letter. I always appreciate a self-advertised "SLU feminist" who refers to the young women of the WRC as "girls." Perhaps (at least in your case) the "popular tboc belief" is not so removed from your "contrary"?

But enough with the snipes. Allow me to attend to your gripes. That the members of the WRC (this caveat for the third time-- with one or two brave exceptions) denied a speaker as "too political" for the Take Back the Night rally codified their shift from the leaders of the SLU feminist movement to their current position as timid haus fraus.

Thus it extremely apropos to mention WRC advisor Judith DeGroat's tepid and unfunny (and grammatically incorrect) 2003 letter to The Hill News. [Free Registration Required] My earlier remarks about the letter can be found here. However, as you insist that DeGroat's error "is probably the fault of The Hill News," I am obligated to respond. The point in question is "[a]s far as." The correct phrase would have been "[a]s for." You are assuming that The Hill News staff edited her letter in any way, which would defy their normally lazy behavior. However, my ultimate point in mentioning the letter was that DeGroat, as one of two Women's Resource Center advisors, taught her students much in assuming only moronic and inconsequential political causes during the fall of 2003 (i.e. attacking an unfunny t-shirt slogan rather than protesting SLU's treatment of sexual assault on campus).

Your final point ("sexual violence trancends (sic) political views") strikes everyone as obvious and your folksy final oath ("that's for damn sure") made me laugh. It is unbecoming (to say the least) that you affect a colloquial locution to bludgeon us with the righteousness of your obvious point.

Moving on:
Two more comments went on to agree with my detractors (as they had similarly misread or not bothered to read my original post), including Take Back Our Campus' own "Promisebreaker," acting as his own liberal apologist. As we have said before-- there are a diverse group of people running Take Back Our Campus!. The contributor known as "Promisebreaker" is simply the sniveling Alan Colmes of our collective.

[This post will be continued tomorrow in a piece entitled, "A Reply to My Critics Part Two: When Did Feminism Become 'Politically Neutral'?"]

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Surprise! You're on Candid Camera!

This, from Democracy Now!:

An NBC cameraman caught on tape video of a US Marine executing an unarmed and wounded Iraqi prisoner in a mosque in Fallujah. ...

This news from Iraq: an NBC cameraman has caught on tape video of a US Marine shooting dead an unarmed and wounded Iraqi prisoner in a mosque in Fallujah.

The NBC correspondent Kevin Sites said the Iraqi man who was killed was one of five Iraqis who had been injured after the US raided a Fallujah mosque. Another 10 Iraqis had already been killed in the raid.

The Marine is heard on tape claiming the Iraqi was faking his death. A marine can be heard saying on the pool footage provided to Reuters, "He's [expletive] faking he's dead. He faking he's [expletive] dead."

The marine then raises his rifle and fires into the man's head. The Marine involved in the shooting has been removed from the field and was being questioned by the US military.

The NBC correspondent on the scene said the shot prisoner "did not appear to be armed or threatening in any way".

The shooting came on the same day that another US soldier was charged with murder for the killing of an Iraqi detainee in Baghdad.

Are these fuckers made of Teflon?

If you haven't been hiding in the mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan, then you've probably heard there's a small drug problem in Larryland. Since our first exclusive regarding several SLU Republicans/former senators, we have received a number of emails which not only concur with our point about this growing epidemic on campus, but state that students have in fact been going to both security and the administration about the matter. And guess what? They're "looking into it."

Here's the problem, however, as we see it: there's not a whole lot to look into. That is, we've already provided the evidence. All the university must do now is act on it. Since the publication of our column, "The End of the SLU GOP?" not one member of the administration or Security has issued so much as a peep, let alone contacted us for more information. Yet, we have names, and more importantly, we have emails from the perpetrators themselves. Frankly, we feel, well, a little left out--perhaps even sad.

After all, Security had no problem, upon the beck and call of Jake Shea and other cocaine-using members and ex-senators of the SLU Republicans and Thelmo, in harassing and interrogating former contributors of TBOC! about the site's "allegations" of coke use. In light of recent revelations, namely, that these "allegations" have serendipitously transmogrified into facts, Security will not make so much as a phone call to the guilty parties.

Many students are rightly concerned about the safety of their coeds and the larger campus environment, as is more than evident from the many emails we have received. Many students want to know what they, personally, can do to help remedy this illness from which the student body suffers. We have an answer, and it is a simple one.

Print out a few copies of the following emails. Take them to security, Dean Petty, and Rance Davis. Once they have a chance to look them over, ask what they plan to do--and do let us know what their response is. If enough students come forward about these and other incidences, perhaps our collective action may yet prove fruitful. This time around, let's make it stick.

----- Forwarded message from eaward01@stlawu.edu -----
    Date: [REDACTED]
    From: eaward01@stlawu.edu
Reply-To: [REDACTED]
Subject: Re:
      To: [REDACTED]


He hasn't said anything and won't - because he expected the same from everyone
else - especially the people who initally OFFERED to get drugs for him! My
concern is Deana since she has a huge mouth... how and why she was told I
don't know... I've also asked Evan to speak to [REDACTED] about not saying
anything. Now that this is suddenly a GOP issue, for whatever the hell reason,
[REDACTED] knowing is a huge liability.
Just wanted to let you know who knows and who I've talked to so we're all on
the same page. Sorry again to put you in this position. I didn't know it would
blow up to be an "organization" issue.


Quoting asmcna02@stlawu.edu:

> Liz,
> Thank you for the apology.  Please ask Jake to keep his mouth shut.
> ~Alicia
> -------------------------------------------------
> This mail sent through IMP: http://horde.org/imp/

----- Forwarded message from eaward01@stlawu.edu -----
    Date: [REDACTED]
    From: eaward01@stlawu.edu
Reply-To: [REDACTED]
      To: asmcna02@stlawu.edu


I'm sorry if you were offended that Jake and I called you. I heard last year
from someone on our floor, and I honestly don't remember who, that Majken
walked in on you doing lines off your desk. And then Jake heard the same thing
more recently...
My apologies.


This mail sent through IMP: http://horde.org/imp/

----- End forwarded message -----

Saturday, November 13, 2004

How Peter Snedeker touched my Jungian man-gina

In a recent letter to the Shill News, Peter "Fortune 500" Snedeker recently wrote what was, presumably, supposed to be a scathing attack on our very own TBOC!. And I have to say, we're touched. Pete (do you mind if we call you Pete?) writes that "The attacks stem from a hateful grudge that these individuals bear against a wide variety of students, faculty, and staff for reasons that could only be conjured up in their weak and timid souls." Pete may think we all have separate distinct entities--"souls"--but I kind of like the notion that the contributors to TBOC! are part of a broader Jungian "collective unconscious" or "world soul." However, the collective unconscious, at least as C. Jung wrote of it, is neither weak nor timid, but something of incredible power that encompasses all of us--even folks like Pete, or first lady and blond bombshell Carla Hunter. Do our actions stem from a "hateful grudge" (or "ju-on" as Japanese lore calls it)? Only if you're a huge pussy. Pete?

Snedekins further asserts, "Perhaps worst of all, some of these students lay claim to retaking a campus that operates on a moral and social code far out of reach for their juvenile behavior." Again, Pete's got it half-right. "Juvenile behavoir" aside, the "moral and social code" that SLU operates on is indeed "far out of reach" of TBOC!'s contributors--especially when one considers the perverse, shallow values this Potemkin village's residential petty hypocrites hold to be a genuine "moral and social code," an act which in itself requires a degree of pathological self-delusion so grandiose that it warrants its own appendix in the DSM-IV.

But perhaps we are too rough. We contributors have a lot in common with Pete. At least, he seems to think so. Apparently, like him, we are "white, male, and privileged," but won't come clean about this because it might "undermine" our "crusade." Short of naming names, that's presuming to know quite a bit about us. Unfortunately it's an assertion we think Pete might have a difficult time proving. That's why we're inviting him to do just that. Pete, feel free to write us at takebackourcampus@yahoo.com and let us know who we are, and hence, like you, "white, male, and privileged." We'll post your whole response unedited. Scout's honor.

One thing Pete can say for sure though, is that we are "self-proclaimed activists"--an inaccuracy at best, as we have never proclaimed any such thing--that "hide in corners" of campus, and "lob loaded remarks from afar" rather than coming "to the table and work[ing] for change." While we're not sure that the internet (or "internets," as Pete's man calls it) qualifies as "afar," the question is not whether our remarks are loaded, but whether they are true, something he and his ilk have never addressed. Kind of one of those "neither confirm nor deny" sort of things, I guess.

But back to my man-gina (you know, like vagina, but belonging to a guy). What did Pete really say, amidst his repeated and rather dismal attempts at the occasional literary flourish, that really touched it? I think it had to be this, my favorite part: "And finally, continue to hope against all odds, as I do, that this select group of disenfrenchised students will overcome the hatred and cowardice that rests so deeply within their hearts." It really gets you, like when conservative parents send their gay children away to "conversion therapy camps" while continuing "to hope against all odds" that "they will overcome the hatred (of heterosexuality and Levitical teachings) and cowardice (of the opposite sex) that rests so deeply within their hearts." The point, of course, is that TBOC! has about as little to do with hatred and cowardice as Thelmo has to do with accountability and the democratic process.

Our condolences must, nonetheless, go out to Pete. After all, life's tough when you're one of America's true select fortunate sons. And we know that when people say bad things about you, it can really hurt your feelings. Well, no, actually, we don't. And maybe that's because we are just that juvenile. Or, maybe it's because the true juvenile in all of this simply never learned the old preschool adage, "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me." Moral of the story? Unless we show up at your door with bats, why worry about lil' ol' us, Pete? You just keep on truckin'. Or, if you're into that kind of thing, snortin'. As for the rest of us, we'll just chalk your letter up to one more cry for help.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Recent Challenge to Reproductive Rights in US-- WRC Curses and Admits We're Right

Today's verdict in the Laci Peterson case left us with ambiguous feelings. "What the hell are you talking about, you newly southern crank addict?" ask our readers. "What is 'ambiguous' about convicting a man who killed his wife and unborn child?"

Just hear us out. First, the term "unborn child" is akin to "unwritten novel" or "unrequited love." All three refer to something that does not actually exist. Next, we find no fault with the first part of the verdict. We are totally against killing one's spouse. Scout's honor. If killing one's spouse was a movie theater, we would never go there unless it had Dolby Surround Sound, plush seats, and was showing a film festival featuring the talented and alluring Natalie Wood, in which case we couldn't be blamed. (Who could?)

However, the second half of the verdict genuinely baffles us. Scott Peterson was convicted of second-degree murder "in the death of the son she [Laci Peterson] was carrying" as the Associated Press dutifully reports. The California court and jury obviously followed not the law, but instead the "life begins at conception" epithet hurled by America's self-proclaimed moralists. (In less than four years life will be ordained by these loud fools to begin not at conception, but at the moment one ogles the pert wiggle of a slut's hams.)

What bothers us is not that Peterson was convicted of second degree murder but that he was convicted of a second murder at all. Murder as a literal act must involve the death of a person. From a previous legal standpoint, a fetus was not considered a person. Hence, abortion remains legal while euthanasia remains criminal. In the past, the unlawful destruction of a fetus has been charged not as murder (of any degree) but under a broader term known as "mayhem."

This shift in criminal charges may stem from lead prosecutor Joseph "Rick" Distaso. He relied heavily on the "killing" of a fetus in his statements to the jury: "The reason he killed Laci Peterson was Conner Peterson was on the way." To affect a conspiratorial pose-- could it be that Distaso's choice of charging Scott Peterson with two murders rather than the usual murder and mayhem had anything in common with his Italian heritage and subsequent choice to attend the Jesuit Loyola Law School? Alas, the role of religion in this case remains unapproached by the mainstream media, at least in the case of Distaso. At least one devout Catholic was dismissed from the jury for maintaining a strong moral stance against the death penalty (one more sign into the Right-Wing agenda of the case).

By any measure, tonight's verdict defined a fetus as a person rather than a clump of cells, a ruling sure to have chilling effects on the legality of abortion. With the caselaw established in California, any challenge to the Constitutionality of the right to privacy in reproductive matters (pronounced: "women's bodies") is sure to find an easier time than ever before in abridging our freedoms.

We hope this may cause TBOC!'s favorite gaggle of apolitical party-girls to reconsider-- "Shit! Where did we leave that speaker's number?"

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Women's Resource Center? Define "Resource"

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of good fortune, must align herself with identity politics. And like Austen’s famously single-minded heroines, she must concern herself with no actual politics and instead shade her character lines with solipsism and self-aggrandizement.

Such explains the current predicament of the Women’s Resource Center. The students there (with one or two brave exceptions) rejected a speaker for the next Take Back the Night rally. Their reason—said speaker, an employee of Planned Parenthood (who never asked for any remuneration, including gas money for driving thirty-five miles round-trip) planned to speak about reproductive rights in light of Bush’s reelection. While this may seem like a timely topic, especially for the promiscuous and careless students at SLU (Kinsey's definition of a nymphomaniac: "Someone who has more sex than you do"), it was rejected by the burgeoning Emmas of the WRC.

This is no surprise. The ostensible feminists of St. Lawrence University rarely rise for causes of import. See WRC advisor Judith DeGroat's 2003 bold letter to The Hill News [Free registration required]. The issue in question was an Outing Club t-shirt slogan-- "Penetrating Mother Nature for 25 Years." The humor of the apparel, bearing only a single entendre, is pitiable.

DeGroat's response is equally uninteresting. "As far as (sic) the Oedipal implications contained in the declaration 'Penetrating Mother Nature for 25 Years,' I think it is preferable to leave that to each individual t-shirt designer and his/her therapist of choice. Cheerfully, Judith DeGroat."

One can almost see the "cheer" of DeGroat as she confuses "far" and "for." However, her smugness in referencing Freud's Oedipal theory baffles us. Surely she (as a Professor of Gender Studies) is aware that the grossly unethical Freud silenced the charges of Viennese girls who were sexually abused by their bourgeois fathers (who rewarded Freud handsomely) with his theories of Oedipus and Electra.

Thus it comes as no surprise that the residents of the Women's Resource Center (again, with one or two brave exceptions) would believe that theirs is a cause apolitical. Their advisor has a flimsy purchase of English grammar and is prone to spouting the ideas of an incest-assisting and stogie-fond quack in an attempt to appear witty. By example, she has taught her advisees to assume none but the most perfunctory and unimportant of causes.

To all readers who are interested in women's rights, we direct you here. For once, perhaps, the women of the WRC could be bothered to burden themselves with the cause of women's rights.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Something's Rotten in the State of Denmark

In the first scene of Hamlet, three soldiers in the company of a nobleman encounter a ghost. Marcellus implores, “Thou are a scholar; speak to it, Horatio.” Yet the scholars of SLU, while speaking much about us, have not bothered to speak to us.

One example-- a SLU administrator informed us that the distinguished deans of St. Lawrence University recently held a meeting with the persons of the Student Life office. The purpose of the meeting (which, it should be mentioned, occupied far too many work-hours of those whose salaries are paid by the ever-increasing SLU tuitions) was to figure, with all the collective intelligence (in the less flattering “agent/enemy” conception of the word rather than the “cognitive ability” understanding) available, exactly who is in charge of the internet-facetiae known as “Take Back Our Campus!.” Needless to say, we now know every detail of the meeting, but we ask that you invite us next time.

However, we must offer one correction to the administrative huddle— the Svengali (to borrow from du Maurier) of the site is not the Canton native and SLU alum (albeit a transfer student) to whom you have given credit. This does a disservice to the many who have worked hard to establish a readership among the notorious bibliophobes at Saint Lawrence University.

To the kind administrators of St. Lawrence University—our source (primary, no less!) is one of the attendees. We beg of you-- please affect a McCarthyite stance and immediately dismiss and/or ostracize the person who may have done such a disloyalty as to inform the foxes of the hunt. One caveat—as most of you have occasional liberal/left stances, you may find yourselves with closeted sympathies toward our site. This will serve to make your knives all the longer, as the role of university administrator is normally played by Janus-faced sycophants.

Please begin your search for the administrator who e-mailed us about the proceedings. Dig deep into you memories—who at the meeting seemed shifty? Who seemed too eager to denounce the left? Who said nothing at all? Suspect all of them.

If such things are fuzzy, know that rosemary is for remembrance. We have no doubt that your entire escapade will end as Hamlet.

Full of pansies? Send us your thoughts at takebackourcampus@yahoo.com.

Monday, November 08, 2004


BREAKING NEWS: Election Fraud from Florida to Ohio, to SLU


As everybody should know by now, this week is Thelmo Elections, voting started today, and will go through the end of the week. Thelmo elections have been historically modeled after other democratic elections such as those held in the United States. In elections across the US, there has been a shift towards electronic voting, which eliminates the paper trail, and makes it virtually impossible to track votes. As was shown in the 2000 presidential elections, especially in Florida, electronic voting causes great havoc on our so-called democracy. Four years later, in the 2004 presidential elections, voter fraud ran rampant once again. I could write ten pages outlining reports of voter fraud from all over the country, much of which was caused by or related to the use of electronic voting machines, but that is for another post (some ideas for places to look for yourself include a report from www.commoncause.org stating that “Voting in 2004 was more problematic than in 2000,” or any of the dozens of stories outline at http://indymedia.us/en/). The point here is that in this falls Thelmo election our student government has taken tips from the experts of voter fraud who stole the last two “elections” for our fearless dictator, Bush.

Here on campus, voter irregularities take a different form, and don't even seem to be hidden. In this year’s online voting system, all students who vote are REQUIRED to vote for one candidate for EVERY single position available, even if only one candidate is running for a position.

For example: Adam Casler is running (unopposed) for student body president. The way the online voting system works, any student who wants to vote, must vote for Casler, even if they disagree greatly with his conservative agenda. What this means is that Casler will inevitably win the election with 100% of the popular vote, which certainly insinuates a "mandate" even though it is possible that only a tiny fragment of the voting student body actually want Casler as student body president. Everyone else is simply FORCED into voting for Casler if they want to vote at all.

To make matters worse, thrown in on the ballot are other measures, comparable to measures added to ballots across the country for things like illegalizing gay marriage, raising local taxes, or passing a schools budget. The referendums added to this years Thelmo ballot, include choosing bands for the spring concert, questions about smoking on campus, and other issues on campus which students may feel strongly. However, with the new online voting system, it is impossible for students to weigh in on these important issues, to help decide what bands will play on campus, or what measures are taken to limit smokers and improve air quality on campus. Many students (those who like Casler and those who may disagree with him) want a say in other issues on campus. The online voting system requires that EVERY STUDENT who wants a say in campus entertainment, campus safety, or other campus issues on this year’s ballot, IS REQUIRED TO VOTE FOR ADAM CASLER AS PRESIDENT OF THE STUDENT BODY.

Perhaps it has not occurred to anybody other than the quick staff here at TBOC!, but it seems painfully obvious that this is not how a democratic election should be run. Imagine for a moment you have left the soft little bubble that is SLU. You are a republican, rich and happy at home in a suburb of Boston. Imagine going down to the polls on Election Day. Your children attend the local elementary school, and the only person running for chair of the school board is a crazy leftist who plans to start a sex-ed program beginning in Kindergarten. You feel your little innocent daughter should not be exposed to different kinds of birth control, or learn how to put condoms on a banana. However, you really want the school budget to pass so that your kids’ classroom and get a new computer, and the library can be expanded. Additionally, you feel strongly that Rush Limbaugh would make a better president than incumbent Hillary Clinton. You learn upon entering the polls that in order to vote (in your case for the school budget and against the female presidential incumbent), you HAVE to vote for the man who wants to teach your 6 year old daughter about BC pills and the wonders of masturbation. Is this FAIR? Why can't you just vote in the races of which you are knowledgeable and feel strongly about, leaving your vote blank for politicians you are strongly against ideologically. Why should someone get 100% of the vote even if they only have 1% of the population supporting them, just because nobody else ran for that one position?

That is specifically what students all over SLU are asking this week as they cast their forced ballots in this fixed election.


There are two viable options for fixing this problem on our campus. We have a voice, a collective voice to tell the right-wingers in Thelmo they can't take away our right to fair elections. The first option is to organize a massive boycott of the Thelmo Elections until the problem is solved and the poor decision made by our student government is changed. The second, and perhaps more viable option, is to take the route they suggest. The election board in Thelmo has informed students that if they do not want to vote for Casler, they can email the Thelmo election chair Jon Cardinal at jkcard04@stlawu.edu, and request an absentee ballot. Heck, why not request one for all your friends too! While this is a difficult, time consuming and not very realistic opt-out policy that we feel confident very few students at SLU will take the time to partake in, it is possible to use it against them to show that we care about fair elections. We realize that a few people may have voted today, but if the rest of the student body takes this step, especially if they wait until Thursday to do so, it will swamp the Thelmo election staff and prove to them that the students at SLU will not put up with their undemocratic and possibly even illegal voting procedures. Only then will this weeks Thelmo elections even come close to resembling a fair, democratic election.

Many folks believe that "Your Vote is Your Voice," But here at TBOC!, we believe our collective voice is much much stronger than just a vote.