May 25, 2006

Looniversity Memories: Tales of the Commenters

LET US NOW PRAISE lucid comments.

One of the constant pleasures of writing here remains the comments section. Indeed, it is that feedback, good or bad, that is one of the spurs to keep writing. As I like to reflect, when I visit other sites that are AONI [All-Output/No-Input], "Real bloggers enable comments."

Every so often, and they are all the better for being rare, the comments section takes on a life of its own, as it has in response to my essay below, Bad Thoughts . Entirely unbidden, several commenters give us some written descriptions of what life for them was like in their local "Looniversity." They're fascinating as you can see below.

To his immortal credit, the term "Looniversity" was tossed into the mix by Gagdad Bob, the man behind the brilliant One Cosmos. As he puts it,

In order to reduce spending and avoid the duplication of services, we should simply merge state mental hospitals with public universities.

Call them "Looniversity Bins."

Now that Bob has set the frame up, the memories are not long in arriving. "Red River" leads off with a memorable tale of urban spelunking into the heart of the Looniversity beast:

I visited UC Santa Cruz with some alumni friends once.

We had a high and tights, creased blue jeans, boots, pressed cowboy shirt with a collar, and a cowboy hats on. We were tan, cut, calloused, and looked everyone in the eye and said howdy.

Walking down the street, the freaks got out of our way or stared, but the few families on the street lingered in our presence, like sheep in the presence of a sheepdog.

We went into a coffee shop full of goths and freaks and everything in between.

At the counter was some sort of transvestite barista with a "tweest of leeemon" fake accent serving latte's with an affected swish of his wrist.

The trench-coats must have blocked the view of us, but as the last freak cleared out, we stepped to the counter and into the barista's view.

He just stared at us out of his be-ringed eye brows, his tongue stud twitching as his tongue licked his upper lips. His spiked hair went along with his shocked, wide-eyed look. The whole place became quiet.

In a mid-western accent he asked us, "Been here long?"

Duffy comes right back with his postcard from beyond the fringe:

Locals in Mass. refer to Amherst as "5 square miles surrounded by reality".

Recently I had a job interview at Penn (consulting, not teaching) and in my 8 minute walk from point a to point b on campus I was accosted by several different earnest to the point of zealous young people with various pamphlets and causes. The disposition of one of them still made me wonder at her intensity.

Of course, the Looniversities were not always the way they are today. Decades of dedicated, unremitting lunatic effort were required to shape them. In this startling memoir, anybodyinpoulsbo relates how the change happened over the years and how his parents changed with them.

I remember my first experience of Seattle's university district. I was eleven years old and it was 1968. We had just moved up from southern California. My pop was an engineer for Boeing and had been working on the Minuteman project at Vandenberg AFB.

He had that mid sixties engineer look down. Flatop haircut, peg leg slacks, short sleeve white shirt with clip on tie, pocket liner with Boeing ID firmly affixed. I was fairly certain that every male over the age of twenty or so looked just like him.

Then I saw the university district, circa 1968. It was how I imagined a safari at an African wildlife preserve might be. We would drive up and down University Avenue, staring at these curious creatures people were calling "hippies".

Getting over our initial uncertainties, and being tolerant open minded sorts, we settled right into our new habitat with a vengeance. By 1969 my midwest raised, Catholic school educated mother had taught herself the "art" of batik, applied for a dealers permit and was selling this crap (Sorry mom.) at the street fair.

Poor pop had no choice but to go along. His hair had gotten quite a bit more shaggy than the picture on his Boeing ID badge and he was sporting a rather significant pair of mutton chops by now.

Us kids, who could hardly believe we were a part of what just a year ago seemed like a trip through an ancient Turkish bazar, would help man the booth for the weekend. Ah....the memories of late sixties moonbattery when it all seemed so fresh and liberating! Not like these phony kkkorporate moonbats you see at the fair today!

Mom became somewhat of a true believer, attending various psychic fairs, crystal fests or whichever leftist new age pseudo philosophy was the latest thing. A virulent case of BDS and conspiracy mongering being the most recent. She even went so far as to try and influence me to attend The Evergreen State University in 1976. Fortunately I chose the more intellectually stimulating field of construction labor and have never regretted it. Pop had a stroke around 1990, lost his analytical thinking skills and has joined mother on the new frontier.

Yes, the U district and the street fair bring back fond memories!

Alan Kellogg responds with memories of what did and what did not happen in his musings on "The Lost Looniversity:"

We almost had a university district. Back at the turn of the 20th century ('bout a century ago as a matter of fact) USC had made plans to locate here. Then they decided to go elsewhere. So the brand new development of University City was without a university.

And we had gone so far as to build what was supposed to be the heart of USC in San Diego.

So we made it into a normal school, which later became a [forbidden word]'s college. But when it became San Diego State College (SDSC) (later San Diego State University (SDSU)) - "State" to us locals, the physical plant was moved to Montezuma Mesa a few miles east; mostly because the land that was supposed to be developed as a university had been sold to commercial developers.

Currently the City of San Diego has three universities. The University of San Diego (USD) is a Catholic institution, and has one of the top law schools in the country. State is sort of a working class university. The denizens and habitues are of a liberal bent, but the curricula tends to the practical. The University of California at San Diego (UCSD) is a more faux liberal institution, but with a long established science core.

The big difference between San Diego's university districts and those of most every other city's is that the bordering streets have retained their original nature.

USD and SDSU are sited in working class neighborhoods. In the case of the latter there are fraternity and sorority houses, but loon-kitsch is pretty much restricted to the campus itself. Lots of Town/Gown animosity between Montezuma Mesa and SDSU.

UCSD on the other hand is set in a tony location. Lots of science types settled the area back when UCSD began, and a number of other scientific institutions - the Salk Institute and Scripps for example - were already there. So the neighbors tended to the moderately upper class with responsibilities. By the time the moonbat brigade starting showing up in force there really wasn't anywhere for them to settle nearby.

So they, from SDSU and UCSD alike, found another location. A place called Mission Beach; with some settling in the Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach areas. The former is more working class moonbat, while the latter is "Old Settled Down Hippie" moonbat.

That's right, San Diego is the first city to have university students who commute from where they sleep (the university) to where they discuss matters of import (their crash pads).

Encouraged, LRFD describes the secure moonbat environs of the deepest midwest:

Champaign, half of the home of the University of Illinois, is fairly decent for a couple of important reasons:

- Nothing but corn for an hour driving in any direction.
- Strong engineering, science, and business programs; weak liberal arts and education curriculums.
- Lots of frats, something like 20% of the undergraduate population lives in a fraternity/sorority. Say what you may about the frat boys, but I'll take one of them over ten randomly chosen professors in any liberal arts department.
- The city of Urbana takes in most of the University defects.
- Campus sits on the border of Urbana and Champaign, thus the center of town is fairly unaffected.

It isn't a perfect situation: there's a hideous-looking mosque that's too close for comfort in Urbana (More like a bunker than an actual house of worship. There's even a wall around it. I'd put good money on it being Saudi funded.). There's the occasional campus protest, provided hippies elsewhere are protesting too. Otherwise it's a fairly decent, law-abiding town.

Also, in case of emergency, campus can be cut off from the rest of Champaign by control of some strategic viaducts. It might not have been the first thought in the minds of the civic planning board, but even before I read this, I thought it had to be second.

So, as we can see, the Looniversities are at different states of development throughout the nation. The only question that remains is, are they still in a growth phase?

Heldmy offers some insights to wrap up our spontaneous comment symposium on "The American Looniversity, Where the Left-Behinds of the Left Have Been Left:"

And yet, in the completeness of their moonbattery, looniversity denizens will be genuinely hurt and upset at what they will perceive as a gratuitous and unprovoked attack on your part.

You meanie.

One of the hallmarks of liberal derangement that typifies this group is the carved-in-stone TRUTH that their positions are morally and ethically unassailable and, that anyone who even proposes dialogue is guilty of treason! How dare you! We are your intellectual superiors, worm!

It is only when 'others' (G.W. Bush for example) gain prominence, fail to know 'their place' and decline to ingest and spew the liberal manifesto that libs become totally deranged.

Unfortunately, the usual behavioral manifestations (marches, signage, sit-ins, conspiracy theories, Hillary Clinton), have become so 'quaint', unfocused, ineffective and downright silly that they are laughable. Dangerous, yes, but it's getting harder and harder to keep a straight face at the Sheehans and Churchills and Gores, the MSM, Reid, Pelosi, Murtha... Even I can predict, with alarming accuracy, the idiocies and sewage that will appear after any given event.

And laughing at the Loony Left doesn't help calm them any.

Always remember, in their heart of hearts, any liberal is superior to any non-liberal. They don't have to be considerate, respectful, diplomatic, tactful, or polite. They rule, if only you would stop being so stupid and acknowledge it..

Kind of like Muslims and... well, everyone else.

Submit, Infidel!

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Posted by Vanderleun at May 25, 2006 6:25 PM | TrackBack

"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

And the 7 letter word for instructor that starts with a 't' is still banned. :)

Posted by: Alan Kellogg at May 26, 2006 7:22 AM

Related, and then recursively re-related back again: Poison Ivy League

Posted by: Gagdad Bob at May 26, 2006 9:41 AM
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