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Good Job, Sen. Yarborough “Yellow Rose” bumper stickers: 4 for 50d, 15 for $1.00, 100 for $3.00, 1000 for $22.00. Send check and Zip Code; we pay postage and tax. IIFUTURA PRESS INC. Phone 512/442-7836 1714 SOUTH CONGRESS P.O. BOX 3485 AUSTIN, TEXAS ATHENA MONTESSORI SCHOOL Leo Nitch, Director RED RIVER AT 41ST Opposite Hancock Center July 18, 1969 15 Phone 454-4239 Dave Hickey’s Column Notes on the University II Austin There is no use pretending that these criticisms of the university are written in good faith, because they are not. They are simply the only way that I can enumerate my frustration with academic life short of writing one of those dull novels prepoisoned by the shabbiness of its subject. What you must understand though is that I really wanted to be a part of the university, that I enjoy teaching, respect good scholarship, admire good criticism, and don’t even mind a fair-to-middling committee. I am not even angry, you see. I am just so damned irritated with the absolute, slovenly, provincial smugness of the university milieu that I could puke. But I realize, as well, that writing criticisms of the university ranks second only to the frisbee as the principal occupation of third rate minds in this decade, so I will cast this latest list of bitches in the negative. To distinguish myself from my fellow detractors I will begin by enumerating some of the things which I do not think are wrong with the university. And then go on. 1. I do not believe that the university is administered by men of good will whose intentions are perverted by the corrupt system within which they must function. On the contrary it has been my experience that many of the men in power in this university are authentically vicious and vindictive creatures whose authoritarian tendencies are only impeded by the inefficiency of the bureaucracy through which they must exercise their power. We are saved, it seems to me, only by administrative oversight. 2. I do not believe that my right to “speak out on major issues of our time” has been curtailed. In fact, I have been encouraged to take more license with the subject matter of my courses than I have ever wished to. Occasionally, though, I have come to class unprepared. Then I have spoken out on “major issues.” The students have loved it. They have been tititated. “Gosh! Wow! Gee Whiz!” But such is my devotion to seminal thought that I would still rather recommend a book than an abortionist. 3. I do not believe that the university should be “a community of free men questihg for the truth about their world.” If you tell a man what to quest for, you can hardly call him free. And I, personally, would rather belong to a polity than a community, and would rather view the university as a library where you can quest for what you damn well please, and find it or not in your own good time, and in your own good universe for that matter. 4. I do not believe that the university stifles new ideas. As a point of fact, it thrives on new ideas. Look over the past curricula for freshman English and you will discover a veritable graveyard of novelties. The university does, however, stifle creative thought. Since genuinely creative work defies teleology, it never looks new; it only looks strange and threatening. To survive in the university, you should always be the friend and champion of “originality,” just don’t be the origin of it. 5. Correlatively I do not believe that the university need be relevant to this “present day modernistic world of today.” It should, I think, be aware of the future and therefore constantly vigilant of the past which the present has a way of becoming. Speaking to the student in a “language he can understand” more often than not means telling him what he already knows. Not all, but a great many of the faculty members who advocate using the “present” as text are only expressing the bankruptcy of their own engagement with the cultural past. Now it may well be that there are a great number of faculty members who have been alienated from the present, and are attracted to it, but all of the students are alienated from the past. The Fugs may be hot stuff to the Geritol set but they are old hat to the kids. By comparison Alexander Pope is something rich and strange. 6. To change fetish topics, I do not believe that racial prejudice enters into my department’s hiring procedures. I attribute the lack of racial balance to the fact that no one but a middle-class white would ever endure the authentic indignities to achieve the spurious respectability of being a “college professor.” I do know, however, that there is no other profession, excepting locker-room-attending, where sexual prejudice is more virulent. If you are a woman, you have next to no chance in the academic world. And if you are as yet undecided about your sex, you had better take up handball, give up deodorant and tell your students long anecdotes about the virility of various poets. If you want to get the general effect of a conversation among junior professors imagine drowning in Aqua Velva while Johnny Unitas reads you the complete works of Rupert Brooke. 7. I would like to disavow any belief that the university has become a hot -bed of reaction. More precisely, I don’t believe it has ever been anything else, or could be. As a self-contained welfare state and breeding ground for hypocritical individualism, it is only challenged by the professional military. And if, as I do not believe, the pen is mightier than the sword, then the professorial -publishing complex is more dan CLASSIFIED BOOKPLATES. Free catalog. Many beautiful designs. Special designing too. Address: BOOKPLATES, Yellow Springs 8, Ohio. YAMAHA: For the best soundpianosorgansguitars available at Amster Music & Art Center. 17th & Lavaca, Austin. 478-7331. MEETINGS THE THURSDAY CLUB of Dallas meets each Downtown YMCA, 605 No. Ervay St., Dallas. Good discussion. You’re welcome. Informal, no dues. CENTRAL TEXAS ACLU luncheon meeting. Spanish Village. 2nd Friday every month. From noon. All welcome. ITEMS for this feature cost, for the first entry, 7c a word, and for each subsequent entry, Sc a word. We must receive them two weeki before the date of the issue in which they are to be published.