The Free Associator

The Philadelphia Syndicate is a collection of writers, businesses, artists, musicians, and activists based in Philadelphia, with connections to associates around the world via the internet. This publication is produced by members of the Syndicate's private online discussion forum for the purpose of giving exposure to the organization's thinkers to the public.

Friday, March 11, 2005

In the Shadow of No Towers -


So Lafayette College, my illustrious Alma Mater has decided to make Art Spiegelman’s In the Shadow of No Towers required reading for the incoming freshman, for discussion during orientation.

Apparently things have come a long way since my days there (class ’97). My freshman orientation book was Black Water by Joyce Carroll Oates. I think it was related to Chappaquiddick or something, but I can’t remember because I was drunk by day 2 of orientation and didn’t read it, like everyone else.

Lafayette, as I recall, was about into controversy as much as the Queer Eye Guys are into the Swimsuit Issue. The biggest controversy in four years occurred when some idiots on the school student council decided to spend $10,000 on a “modern environmental art” project: a hay sculpture. When the “sculptor” was done we were left with a pyramid of hay bales stacked in the middle of the quad with a flower pot on top. The sculpting apparently consisted of five carefully planned steps: 1) going to a barn and viewing pyramid stacked hay bales; 2) paying $100 for the hay and putting the bales on a truck; 3) taking the bales to the quad; 4) restacking them in the exact same pyramid they were found in; and 5) putting a flower pot on top. Maybe I am just a simple a caveman when it comes to modern art, but my sense was that this was a big pile of crap and and eyesore to boot. Being Lafayette, tolerance central, it was promptly torched within the first day or so over Easter break. Controversy ensued when a handful of profs and students commented that the incident reflected poorly on the student body's attitude towards art. But most people just agreed that it was a shameful waste of beer money paid to idiot who stacked fucking hay.

(For some cool hay bale sculptures, if there is such a thing see here)

Ah college…well anyway I would have preferred to read a comic book during orientation. (btw I picked this story up off of, my favorite source for all things literary).


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