Guerilla Smalltalk

by Anil Antony | 5/2/02 5:00am

As I write this article on the eve of the Student Assembly elections, I could care less. About what? Well, for starters the self-importants who think they have the "power" to change the way the campus thinks about alcohol, the Greeks, life, baby harp seals, the 15 library construction projects and DDS delivery. Right about now, I sense a certain SA President will be beginning a blitz to me extolling the virtues of our representative organization. But hear me out; I'm reformed. I do believe the Assembly is important and has a place on campus. I love GreenPrint and other endeavors pursued by the Assembly this year (Well, the jury's still out about that "brilliant" DDS delivery idea). However, contrary to what is publicized, such programs and initiatives are purely auxiliary to the functioning of our campus -- which is why all this talk of "reform," "spirit" and "democracy" is grating.

Plus, anyone who has been here for more than a week knows that all it takes to get elected is name recognition. What does this mean? It means that if you have any political aspirations at Dartmouth, you'd better go purchase some obnoxiously colored paper that is going to catch peoples' attention. It seems that posters with pseudo-original overused slogans like "Got Anil?" have developed into the norm.

The other route is to be a member of a Greek house. For some reason, other Greeks then feel some sort of solidarity, regardless of your opinion on the "issues." Thus, the underground blitz circuit is started. Members of your house start sending out insidious blitzes saying, "Vote McCarthy; he has our best interests in mind. If the stuff hits the fan about that elephant walk fiasco, he'll blame it on the commies."

I wanted to get into the head of the common man and see what he was thinking about the election. So, I decided to conduct a sample poll about election apathy.

Me: Excuse me, sir. I was wondering if you could tell me who you plan to vote for in today's election?

Varun: Dude, it's me. Why are you calling me sir? And why are you wearing that mask?

AA: Shhh This is supposed to be a representative poll, but I don't have the cojones to ask a random person. The mask is just for fun.

VM: OK, but I wasn't planning on voting. I'm not even going to be here next year.

AA: That's no excuse! Didn't you get the message from the SA via blitz? "Exercise your right to help choose next year's leaders! Even though you're a senior, you can still vote." I believe the translation is "Your vote can screw next year's students."

VM: OK, well, I still don't plan on voting. Who are you voting for?

AA: Well, I hadn't really planned on voting either -- but since you're putting me on the spot, I'm going to have to say my vote would be cast for that Janos kid.

VM: How's he on the issues?

AA: Actually, I don't know anything about him, but I liked his picture in The D. It made him look like Ch Guevara bursting out of the jungle in Thayer. That Perry guy seemed pretty alright, but his picture in The D made him look like a lobotomized zombie, and I'm not really into that look.

VM: I'm not really into either of them. Since you're forcing me to vote, I'm voting for Molly Stutzman.

AA: Umm you know she can't run, right?

VM: I know, but seriously, what kind of election will it be if Molly isn't running?

AA: I know, it just doesn't feel right.

I'm not totally apathetic. There are a few things I would love to see from the Assembly -- specifically, MORE committees! Do something about Parking Operations. The Parking-Fascist who gives tickets has it out for me. This year I've received tickets for "Parking Illegally," "Parking in a Fire Lane," "Parking on the Grass," "Standing in a Fire Lane," "Standing in Front of Food Court" and "Questioning the Parking-Fascist."He better watch out before I "Slash His Tires" and "Break His Little Parking Meter Gadget." I think I pay enough tuition not to have to shell out 50 bucks per ticket, especially given that A-Lot is over a mile from campus. I think The Committee to End Parking Operations is in order.

Perhaps more justifiable is my plea for Winter Carnival Reform. I know reform has become sort of a catchphrase, but this is one area where it is necessary. I mean, did you SEE that thing masquerading for "The Emerald City?"I thought the Ski Slope of two years ago was fairly hideous, but this most recent unidentifiable creation was truly unacceptable. Considering that this sculpture is intended to be the showcase for a splendid weekend of winter debauchery; the Assembly would best serve its constituents if it created a Committee to Monitor the Winter Carnival Committee.

I feel like a thirsty man on a raft in the ocean. So many committees exist, like the Committee to Condemn Killing and Bad Things. None impact me. Not surprisingly, I am here to propose a new idea. The Committee on What Anil Wants. It's brilliant! I have all your best interests in mind. At least it's better than apathy, right?

Perhaps the next SA President will institute a minimalist regime, beginning with the Committee to End Committees. Who says there are no win-wins? But then what would I write about?