Showing posts with label campus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label campus. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

LSU, early 1950s

What a treasure!

This treasure happens to be home movies taken by an LSU student in the early 1950s, shots of a campus, of a Tiger Town just north of campus and of a way of life that simultaneously is quite familiar and somewhat alien.

The Goal Post restaurant? Long gone. I figure it was across Highland Road from where The Chimes bar and restaurant is now.

And . . . oh, my Lord! The mascot! That's Mike I -- the university's first live Bengal tiger mascot.

A treasure. Just a treasure for old Tigers like me.

UPDATE: I was reminded by an old friend of the 8-millimeter movies shot by his parents just a few years later -- around 1956 or '57ish -- when they arrived in Baton Rouge for his dad to take an assistant professor post at the Ol' War Skule.

It's heartening to realize that even the darkest days of segregation and Southern self-foot-shooting could not stifle the time-honored LSU tradition of smart-assery, directed in this instance at the Louisiana Legislature.

Trees "for white dogs only." Heh.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Questions for a nation past its sell-by date

University of California, Berkeley
Nov. 9, 2011

Earlier that day a colleague had written to say that the campus police had moved in to take down the Occupy tents and that students had been “beaten viciously.” I didn’t believe it. In broad daylight? And without provocation? So when we heard that the police had returned, my wife, Brenda Hillman, and I hurried to the campus. I wanted to see what was going to happen and how the police behaved, and how the students behaved. If there was trouble, we wanted to be there to do what we could to protect the students.

Once the cordon formed, the deputy sheriffs pointed their truncheons toward the crowd. It looked like the oldest of military maneuvers, a phalanx out of the Trojan War, but with billy clubs instead of spears. The students were wearing scarves for the first time that year, their cheeks rosy with the first bite of real cold after the long Californian Indian summer. The billy clubs were about the size of a boy’s Little League baseball bat. My wife was speaking to the young deputies about the importance of nonviolence and explaining why they should be at home reading to their children, when one of the deputies reached out, shoved my wife in the chest and knocked her down. . . .

My wife bounced nimbly to her feet. I tripped and almost fell over her trying to help her up, and at that moment the deputies in the cordon surged forward and, using their clubs as battering rams, began to hammer at the bodies of the line of students. It was stunning to see. They swung hard into their chests and bellies. Particularly shocking to me — it must be a generational reaction — was that they assaulted both the young men and the young women with the same indiscriminate force. If the students turned away, they pounded their ribs. If they turned further away to escape, they hit them on their spines.

None of the police officers invited us to disperse or gave any warning. We couldn’t have dispersed if we’d wanted to because the crowd behind us was pushing forward to see what was going on. The descriptor for what I tried to do is “remonstrate.” I screamed at the deputy who had knocked down my wife, “You just knocked down my wife, for Christ’s sake!” A couple of students had pushed forward in the excitement and the deputies grabbed them, pulled them to the ground and cudgeled them, raising the clubs above their heads and swinging. The line surged. I got whacked hard in the ribs twice and once across the forearm. Some of the deputies used their truncheons as bars and seemed to be trying to use minimum force to get people to move. And then, suddenly, they stopped, on some signal, and reformed their line. Apparently a group of deputies had beaten their way to the Occupy tents and taken them down. They stood, again immobile, clubs held across their chests, eyes carefully meeting no one’s eyes, faces impassive. I imagined that their adrenaline was surging as much as mine.

My ribs didn’t hurt very badly until the next day and then it hurt to laugh, so I skipped the gym for a couple of mornings, and I was a little disappointed that the bruises weren’t slightly more dramatic. It argued either for a kind of restraint or a kind of low cunning in the training of the police. They had hit me hard enough so that I was sore for days, but not hard enough to leave much of a mark. I wasn’t so badly off. One of my colleagues, also a poet, Geoffrey O’Brien, had a broken rib. Another colleague, Celeste Langan, a Wordsworth scholar, got dragged across the grass by her hair when she presented herself for arrest.

-- Robert Haas,
UC poetry professor,
former poet laureate
of the United States

From a New York Times essay published Sunday

'Paternoville,' Penn State
September 2009

Some ad hoc tent encampments on public property are more equal than other ad hoc tent encampments on public property in these United States.

If you're, say, a student at the Pennsylvania State University and you're one of, say, 700 students and their tents crammed into a lot outside Beaver Stadium, and you're there because you want choice seats in the student section for this week's home game, that's a good thing.

That's a beloved tradition.

Media types will write whimsical stories about those wacky campers in State College braving the rain and the cold in a tent --
and doing it all week -- for the sake of college football. The school's football coach will drop by to pose for pictures with his worshiping flock. ESPN personalities will drop by to press the flesh. The 60-something university president will go slumming amid the teen and 20-something campers for kicks and giggles.

You'll get your own university website, a "mayor," a plaque and a write-up in the alumni magazine.

You are what America's all about.
You are Paternoville.

PERHAPS you just fancy Apple products. If the gadget's name starts with an "i," you have to have it. Now. Before anyone else does. So help you Jobs.

There's a way to achieve that. You camp out to stake your place in line. Scores of you camp out for the love of "i." Hundreds of you, even.

It's all good. Apple is happy to let you do it in exchange for your iMoney.

Media types will write whimsical stories about those wacky campers in
(fill in the blank) braving the rain and the cold in a tent or a lawn chair -- and doing it all week -- for the sake of the brand new iWhatever. The store's manager will drop by with coffee for his worshiping flock. Noted tech bloggers will drop by to press the flesh or -- hell -- join you in your campout. The 60-something mayor will go slumming amid the 20- and 30-something campers for kicks and giggles.

You are an American patriot. You are buying s***.

BUT IF YOU'RE a student at the University of California-Davis or Cal-Berkeley, and you're one of, say, 100 students and their tents crammed into the quad, and you're there because you're alarmed at how tuition is skyrocketing, how a college education is becoming more and more unattainable for those of modest means and how American society is becoming more and more unequal, you are a dangerous thug and an anarchist. Your tent encampment is a threat to public health, public safety and public access to public property.

That's an unacceptable situation.

Media types will write serious stories about brewing unrest. Pundits will warn of the sheer unsustainability of your unruly protest --
random tents and shelters mired there in the rain and the cold -- for the sake of an amorphous agenda you cannot articulate.

Riot police will drop by to beat the s*** out of the "criminals," fog the dirty hippies in the face with pepper spray and tear down the troublemakers' tents.
Fox News Channel personalities will make fun of the liberal wackos on the air. The 60-something mayor will denounce the "mob" of 20- and 30-something "occupiers" for political advantage.

You'll get thrown in jail, receive a court date, and your wrists will have nasty bruises from the handcuffs for quite some time.

You are what's wrong with America.
Get a g**damn job, you filthy commie freak.

* * *

PAY NO ATTENTION to that question behind the headlines and official concerns for public health and safety.

Ask not why you're no threat to public health and civic order if you squat on public property for superfluous reasons. Or why doing so in a peaceful political protest is a transgression requiring raids by riot police employing chemical agents, truncheons and excessive force.

Ask not what kind of a country celebrates the unserious as its riot police beat professors, pupils and poets driven to civil disobedience as a last resort for asking serious questions and demanding serious answers.

Ask not these things. Your betters have decided you don't need to know the answer.

Monday, September 13, 2010


When I was a student at Louisiana State some 453 years ago, one thing was impossible to escape.

No, not Mike the Tiger.

No, not parking tickets.

No, not a bunch of Kappa Alphas, in their finest faux-Confederate regalia, re-enacting the Battle of Gettysburg by attempting a cavalry charge up North Stadium Drive armed with beer bongs and astride Trans Ams their daddies bought them before they left for the Ole War Skule. Well, actually, this scene was pretty hard to avoid, but it could be done.

THERE WAS just one thing that couldn't be dodged or ignored. And that was the word "HAWKWIND" spray painted on just about every flat surface on campus.

I would like to think this was the result of a proto-guerrilla marketing campaign by the space-rock band, targeting underachieving Southern universities as a means of growing its redneck demographic. I likewise would like to think that the disyllabic graffiti poet/artist was none other than the trippy hippie dancing chick who performed with the band.

In an ideal world, she crept onto our benighted campus in the middle of the night, clad in a tight, tie-dyed T-shirt and a pair of well-worn Daisy Dukes. Blowing bubbles as she spray painted HAWKWIND here, there and everywhere, m

I'd like to think that.

MORE LIKELY, it was LSU's former student-government president, Ted Schirmer, who preferred the Grateful Dead but went about -- theoretically, I reiterate . . . he's a lawyer now -- tagging everything with HAWKWIND just to piss off the fascist, totalitarian university administration.
Which just wanted to keep the people down, man.


It probably wasn't about space rock and shimmying hippie chicks at all.


It probably was just another protest against the counterreactionary forces of
in loco parental repression.



Tuesday, May 06, 2008

No roomah in the ummah . . . alhamdulillah

The trouble with Islam is that an infidel just can't catch a break.

If you trash the Prophet and his followers, you're going to catch hell.
If you compliment a Muslim when she makes a valid point, then point out the commonalities with the Catholic Church's theology of the body, you are called weird.

And when you leave a comment on Tokyo
Cairo Rose's blog to ask what's so weird about standard Catholic theology and cultural criticism . . .

The Mighty Favog Says:
May 6th, 2008 at 1:45 am

lol you’ve been edited. no anti-Islamic sediment on my blog. I had enough of that on the daily reveille. I can actually CONTROL comments here. you said somethign about wahhabis, etc. yeah not here go find someone else to spam

- Shirien

p.s. i also edited your URL, no music here either K? Thaaanks
NOW, I FULLY EXPECT that my response to being mendaciously tarred as "anti-Islamic" for politely asking some questions (and restating the Catholic position which seemingly agrees with the Muslim take on modesty) will be short-lived in Shirien Elamawy's (her real name) dawahland.

So, I'm posting it here . . . for posterity:

The Mighty Favog Says:
May 6th, 2008 at 6:02 am
Excuse me, but what was anti-Islamic about asking questions? Or are you incapable of defending your assertions . . . and your faith?

An honest question deserves an honest answer. Responding to an honest question — and an attempt at some form of dialogue — with disingenuous statements and rank hostility is both dishonorable and doesn’t exactly cover Islam in glory.

In other words, child, it would appear that you can dish it out, but you can’t take it. It likewise would appear that would be the modus operandi of your faith as well — if you are a truly representative witness to it.

Furthermore, if you are not Wahhabi (the no-music thing, I seem to remember, is a Wahhabi thing), what are you? I know not all stripes of Islam are anti-music, what others besides the Wahhabi movement among Sunnis are?

Or is asking that inherently anti-Muslim?

In the peace of Issa the Christ.

OH . . . AND WHILE I'm thinking of it, would you like to hear the story of how Ms. Elamawy came to be a columnist for The Daily Reveille and the explicit purpose of her column?

I knew that you would.

Again, straight from the ummah's mouth:

Anyway, fast-forwarding to the end of my freshman year at LSU. Everyone read and still reads The Daily Reveille on campus everyday. One day, I picked up the paper and saw a cartoon drawn on the op-ed page that not only caught my attention, it infuriated me. This wasn’t the first time The Daily Reveille printed something bigoted and completely offensive to Muslims. I decided to head over to the newsroom to have a little talk with the cartoonist but to my dismay he wasn’t there. Surely, I wasn’t going to leave without complaining. After all, I had to defend Islam. And I’m a girl, complaining is in our nature.

So, I requested to speak to the editor-in-chief at the time. It turned out I wasn’t the only one offended by a cartoon which depicted the Iranian President sitting at a laundry mat waiting for his brain to be finished being “washed” with “Quran Detergent;” other people had apparently been complaining all day.

After complaining about how unacceptable it was for him to print the cartoon, he sincerely apologized and told me he “wants to make sure that it doesn’t happen again in the future,” even though he was graduating only week later. He told me that at that very moment they were holding a forum for people who wanted to apply for being on the opinon staff for the next semester. He highly recommended I apply for a position after knowing I was a mass communication major. Subhanallah, it really was the Qadr of Allah that I went to complain at that very moment, because next thing I knew he led me into the room in which I was to apply. And I did. And so did about 100 other people who wanted one of 12 spots.

Anyway, I applied, got called for an interview and then alhamdulillah I got the job. And that started my work in mass dawah. Which wallahi has been such a blessing from the very beginning. However, you have to have a strong heart when speaking the truth about Islam. Don’t sugar coat things, don’t fall under the pressure of those around you.

Wallahi I can’t tell you all how many times I got people saying “Write about something else!” and subhanallah for a brief moment you think about it… then you realize that you are doing this purely for the sake of Allah and I figured if they fire me for not wanting to write about anything other than Islam, then so be it. But they actually loved the readers I would bring and the hits I would bring to the website too, alhamdulillah.
I HAVE just a single question.

If I were to return to LSU as a grad student, could I get a regular column in the Reveille for the explicit purpose of Catholic evangelization? No, I don't want to be just the token non-traditional student who's a "religious nut" but writes about all kinds of stuff.

What I want is the deal Ms. Elamawy got. I want a column "speaking the truth about Catholicism and the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Don’t sugar coat things, don’t fall under the pressure of those around you."

That's the deal I want. Fair is fair. Because I would be doing it purely for the sake of Issa the Christ, alhamdulillah.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The (almost) work of a madman!

Here we have yet another Associated Press dispatch from some average American place full of average Americans recounting yet another American atrocity or near atrocity.

Fortunately, this one -- in South Carolina -- was of the "near" variety.

It's easy for folks to say "The work of a madman!" -- as in
Walker Percy's dystopian novel, "Love in the Ruins" and then change the subject. One has to wonder, though, how many atrocities -- and near atrocities -- have to occur before we stop, scratch our collective head and ask, "What the hell is going on here? What gives?"

And now,
the latest AP filing from yet another American anteroom of Hell. What gives?

A high school senior collected enough supplies to carry out a bomb attack on his school and detailed the plot in a hate-filled diary that included maps of the building and admiring notations about the Columbine killers, authorities said Sunday.

Ryan Schallenberger, 18, was arrested Saturday after his parents called police when 10 pounds of ammonium nitrate was delivered to their home in Chesterfield and they discovered the journal, said the town's police chief, Randall Lear.

The teen planned to make several bombs and had all the supplies needed to kill dozens at Chesterfield High School, depending on where the devices were placed and whether they included shrapnel, Lear said. Ammonium nitrate was used in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 that killed 168 people.

"The only thing left was delivering the bombs," the police chief said.

Schallenberger kept a journal for more than a year that detailed his plans for a suicide attack and included maps of the school, police said. The writings did not include a specific time for the attack or the intended targets.

‘He also left an audio tape to be played after he died explaining why he wanted to bomb his school. Lear wouldn't detail what was on the tape except to say Schallenberger was an angry young man.

"He seemed to hate the world. He hated people different from him — the rich boys with good-looking girlfriends," Lear said.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hot boudin . . . cold cush cush!
C'mon Tigers, shoot, shoot, shoot!

State legislatures need to come with "black box" warnings, much like pharmaceuticals with potentially deadly side effects -- when stupid people get a hold of them, really bad things can happen.

And with Ernest Wooten in occupying a desk in the Louisiana House, that black box ought to cover an entire side of the 34-story state capitol. This story in the Baton Rouge Advocate is scary testimony to that:

Proposed state legislation would make it legal for some students and faculty to carry handguns on college campuses as a “deterrent” against the wave of college shootings in Baton Rouge and nationwide.

State Rep. Ernest Wooten, R-Belle Chasse, is proposing the controversial bill that could arm more people on campuses from dormitories to classrooms.

“We’ve got a problem,” Wooten said, “and maybe it’ll be a deterrent if one of these disturbed persons or whackos thinks, ‘If I go in shooting, they may shoot back.’”

In the last few months, two international students at LSU were murdered in their on-campus apartment. Weeks later, a Louisiana Technical College student in Baton Rouge murdered two students in a classroom before killing herself.

The recent string of college murders nationwide began with the rampage murders of 33 Virginia Tech students last year.

State Commissioner of Higher Education Joseph Savoie said Wooten’s proposal is going in the wrong direction. There should be fewer guns at colleges, not more, Savoie said.

Too many young people are still emotional and immature when it comes to firearms, he said, noting that campuses have already beefed up security measures statewide.

“It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to arm a bunch of excitable students,” Savoie said.

Wooten’s House Bill 199 would make it legal to carry licensed concealed handguns on all state colleges, from technical schools to universities.

Not only that, but the bill also would forbid colleges from enacting policies to limit the rights of gun owners from carrying concealed handguns on campuses.

FOR. THE. LOVE. OF. GOD. I mean, really. Is there really anybody with half a brain who thinks that it would be a good thing to have a bunch of college kids packing heat?


Obviously, not all college kids are the same, and not all are excitable doofuses. On the other hand, if we can't always trust students to do something as simple as behave at football games -- or not drink themselves into oblivion long before their 21st birthdays -- isn't it pretty safe to assume it's probably not a good idea to arm a bunch of kids who still await maturation of the risk-aversion part of their brains?

College bars have double-drunk Tuesdays for a reason, people. It's called "getting rich."

Can't wait until all the boys from Kappa Tappa Kegga -- armed to the teeth, because it's the "cool" thing to be -- stream out of Friday-afternoon classes and into a Friday-night alcoholic haze. Maybe if Rep. Wooten is lucky, one of them will accidentally shoot and kill America's Next Campus Shooter.

Or maybe they'll just kill some poor Phi Beta Kappa as they show off their chrome-plated manhood while trying to impress some girl.

Oh, and while I'm thinking of it: Wooten thinks pistol-packing collegians would be a "deterrent" to the next Seung-Hui Cho.

“We’ve got a problem,” Wooten said in The Advocate story, “and maybe it’ll be a deterrent if one of these disturbed persons or whackos thinks, ‘If I go in shooting, they may shoot back.’”

Uhhhhhh . . . why would that be, when all the recent campus shooters ended their rampages by putting a bullet IN THEIR OWN HEADS? For future reference, the threat of death is no deterrent to suicidal whackos.

The key word being "whacko" . . . or "suicidal" -- take your pick.

Unfortunately, neither is stupidity a deterrent for some people seeking public office . . . or the voters who put them there. It really doesn't take a MENSA candidate to figure out that if you want more armed people on campus to deal with crazed killers, you hire more campus cops.

It's as simple as that. Unless you're paid to make the laws.