Monday, April 15, 2013

Fear and Loathing

“In a world of thieves the only final sin is stupidity,” Hunter S. Thompson, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”

As much as I like Hunter Thompson’s Las Vegas book and its philosophy,”Buy the ticket, take the ride,” my favorite is his take on the 1972 election, “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail.”  In it he skewers Democrats Hubert Humphrey and Ed Muskie almost as badly as Tricky Dick Nixon.  After his book on the Hell’s Angels came out, he proudly showed some bikers the cover and they wanted to know how much money they were going to get from it.  “Not a thing,” Hunter said, and they nearly beat him to a pulp.

WXRT highlighted 1984, and in a single set I heard “Will the Wolf Survive?” by Los Lobos, “Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads, and “”Home of the Brave” by the Colorado New Wave band The Nails, which uses the phrase “apocalyptic bebop” and contains the line, “I wanna go where the wild things play.”  The movie about Mozart, “Amadeus” won eight Oscars but not best song, which went to Stevie Wonder for “I Just Called to Say I Love You.”  1984 was the year Springsteen sang, “Born in the USA” which Reagan tried to use in his re-election campaign and also when Walter Mondale stole the Wendy’s slogan “Where’s the Beef?” to use against Democratic challenger Gary Hart.  I spent three weeks in Saudi Arabia followed by ten days in Amsterdam. 

Raoul Contreras organized a workshop for activist groups on campus Saturday.  On hand passing out leaflets was a bright student named Alex Carajewski.  One entitled “Why We Must Strike” claimed that the average IU graduate is in debt to the tune of $28, 434 and that over the past five years tuition and fees have increased almost 45 percent.  In 20 years, state funding has fallen, the flyer claimed, from 50% to 18%.  Neither The Times nor The Post-Trib covered the two-day strike, but the Chesterton Tribune made it a front-page story, complete with a photo of students marching outside the site of the board meeting.

The Northwest Indiana Symphony and Chorus put on Gustov Mahler’s Symphony Number 2, entitled “The Resurrection,” at Bethel Church in Crown Point.  An attractive blond woman left the stage several times to play her instrument from behind the audience or behind the back curtain.  When the chorus was on stage during the second act, it was so crowded she had a hard time maneuvering.  George McGuan drove and afterwards we celebrated Dick Hagelberg’s birthday.  Two people I knew were in the audience, Ken Schoon and Jack Walter.  I told Ken he’s in my new Shavings in connection with his book “Calumet Beginnings.”  Jack Walter, an IUN History major 40 years ago, appears in “Educating the Calumet Region.”

Sunday after gaming Tom, Dave, and I made ourselves ham sandwiches and switched back and forth between the Masters and the Cubs, who were an out away from a win when Hunter pence hit a home run.  Tiger finished four back, having lost that many strokes the day before when an approach shot hit a flag and careened into the water.  Then he was assessed a two-stroke penalty for an incorrect drop.  Angel Cabrera and Adam Scott both made spectacular putts on the final hole before Aussie Scott won the green jacket on the second playoff hole.

“Game of Thrones” was especially gruesome with a couple torture scenes, but for comic relief Tyrion Lannister arranges for his virgin squire Podrick Payne to have a romp with three beautiful harlots.  Afterwards they returned the money Tyrion had given them for their services.  Tyrion is so shocked he demanded to know details of what went on that so satisfied the escorts.

Fred McColly dropped before examining his asparagus sprouts in the IUN Native American garden.  I told him I about Anne Balay being denied for promotion and tenure.  A cynic, he figured it was part of an effort to replace full-time faculty with low-paid part-timers.  I told him it was the result of a personality conflict with her boss, unfortunate and maybe even stupid on her part to not be more docile toward him but certainly not grounds for getting rid of her.  According to the guidelines, she should have been a shoo-in. I had lunch with Anne and her friend Riva, and she seemed to being doing better than I was in terms of coping with the shabby treatment she had received. Anne’s student Alyssa Black posted a Facebook photo Anne and others at the IU Gender Studies Conference in Bloomington the day after it was deemed she was an inadequate teacher.
Mike Certa showed me a work-in-progress of a memoir he’s been writing.  When he was a student starting in 1964, the campus had just one building.  After working for Budd Company, he taught Data processing for over 20 years, and both his wife and two children went to IUN.  He retired at age 60 and wrote: I didn’t retire because of the students.  I usually enjoyed the teaching.  What made me want to take early retirement was that the IUN Administration was driving me crazy.  The last Chancellor I worked under spent most of his tenure making the entire IUN community try to define its ‘Vision.’  The meetings and debates and position papers took up an inordinate amount of time.  His search for the perfect ‘Vision’ basically froze the campus into immobility.  It was the chronic academic preference to do nothing rather than to do something that might require adjustment over time.  This made me crazy.  While he was waiting for this ‘Vision’ to be defined, the Chancellor systematically subverted the entire faculty governance system by appointing a series of ‘special’ committees that duplicated (and substituted for) regular faculty functions.  His entire time in office was spent in floundering around.  He demonstrated no discernible leadership.  Although I lived in the hope that I’d eventually see a Chancellor (or any major administrator) who actually knew how a university was supposed to function, I was continuously disappointed.   It was time for me to go.”

1 comment:

  1. seriously jimbo, read "the curse of lono" sometime...they say hunter lost some of his edge as he aged...the evil mr. heem, valerian root, and the mescaline night off the kona coast put the lie to that...a cynic...perhaps in the original sense of viewing social conventions as arbitrary constructs of me crates then...the whole damned thing has still become a business.