Divide in two our kingdom

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March 6, 2007

8:14 PM

At every impasse in our institution’s spotted history, there appear to be two dueling factions into which each one of us can be more or less accurately deposited. These sides regularly joust on The Flat Hat’s discussion webpage; they write passionate and sometimes noxious letters to varying editors with varying numbers of exclamation points; and, to borrow one of my favorite phrases from Pynchon, each regards the other as a pack of deluded fools. Indeed, were they ever to cross paths en masse, unquantifiable gobs of spit would surely be exchanged.

p. I propose, therefore, that we call the whole thing off and chop the school in half. Not literally, mind you — though if things take a turn for the macabre, it may call for that. Our school’s bipartite name already supports division. We will have The College of William and The College of Mary. This implies that one college will be for men and the other for women, but that’s not true. Initial confusion will be rampant, I realize, but with time this will dissipate, as will all of our problems.

p. The College of William will educate students (again, of both sexes) who believe that a moral guidebook exists, perhaps printed by God Himself on acid-free paper, and that the best lives are devoted to abiding by this code. These students will be typically, but not always, conservative. To promote the college, William’s newspaper, The Flat, will give away a free iPod to whoever writes the millionth article in support of the display of religious symbols.

p. In fact, to ease these tensions, every student will be given a gold religious symbol to display at one’s discretion in any environment. William’s half of the Sunken Garden will be constantly littered with crosses, signifying that portions of the lawn have been transformed into chapels.

p. If any of these mini-chapels are ever desecrated by the removal of their symbols, The Flat will field the inevitable onslaught of victimized visitors. To help validate these cases, any college regulation will be deemed a tradition within two minutes of its inception. Classes will integrate sermons as often as possible, though in obscure courses like Elasticity of Demand in the Federated States of Micronesia, this may prove difficult. If you can think of a few universities like this that already exist, so what? They’re private. We’re public.

p. The College of Mary will support a free and open exchange of ideas, theories and bodily fluids. Its student body would be a motley bunch of amoral youngsters with an inherent disdain for any power structure that inflicts its ideology on those who disagree with it. Anarchists, Marxists, Lou Reed fans — you get the idea. Their library may feature an in-house brothel for study breaks, with student employees. Mary’s student newspaper, The Hat, will sponsor a biweekly contest for best pornographic snapshot.

p. People will streak around campus as a way of life. Peyote will be distributed with orientation materials. Humanities majors will be exposed to the worldviews of everyone from Hitler to Anna Nicole Smith, and a failure to embrace each one will result in being unpleasantly mocked with big words.

p. Should William decide that too many dissenting opinions are seeping in, they may consider moving to the Biodome, or beginning a closed anachronistic society à- la “The Village.” Should Mary believe that its campus is not diverse, students may be issued an electric scooter with a small stipend and told to get the hell out. In their eyes, “classes” are tools of domination employed by the plutocratic patriarchy.

p. The issue at hand is apparent. Some are fed up with a College that doesn’t explicitly share their values. Others are angered by demands that the College legislate morality. If postmodern society is characterized by the effects of institutions on the individual, then shouldn’t we attend an institution tailored to our lifestyles?

p. John Edwards once said that there are two Americas. This was a gross understatement — there are at least two College of William and Marys, and we’re only a smidgen of America. Turning our warring college into two relatively peaceful ones is the only way to mollify and diffuse. Next week, I’ll explain why the country should split in half and, in the week afterwards, I’ll print my coup de grace, tentatively titled, “Bigots Go to Mars!”

p. Remember, friends: it’s a dangerous world out there, littered with litterbugs and trashed by the trashy. Lock your doors or go out and soak it in.

p. __Dan Piepenbring, a junior at the College, is a Staff Columnist. His columns normally appear every Friday.__

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