Dear Mr. Fleischner,
Your Wespeak last semester raised questions regarding Patricelli Pavilion. The Landmarks Advisory Board raised questions too. Wholly in character came the reply of the man who resides in the manse on High: “Questions? What questions?”—words to that effect.
Genesis: “In the beginning was the Law. And the Law said, Let there be wheelchair access ramps to 92 Theater and the Chapel.” Hypothesis: The man with the glad hand – the hand the Board can always bank on—then said, “Let us be more creative. We’ll sell Patricelli on funding a folly including the ramps (and of course their cost).” Result: one penny-wise, pound-foolish drastic devaluation of Brownstone Row.
Its ivied walls and storied halls had inspired Charles Dickens to dub adjacent High “the most beautiful street in America.” But Brownstone Row is so Old Wes, don’t you know? And Doug is so forward-looking, progressive, and edgy, don’t you know? Granted, in fund-raising letters addressed to fellow old grads, he fondly speaks of preserving of Old Wes—presumably as preserving as he’s been of Old Wes’s fraternities.
The gap their demise will leave in the students’ weekend social life will be filled by a one-size-fits-all entertainment complex largely comprised of a brick and glass colossus, a deltoid leviathan seemingly able to stomach the whole student body, stimulate assimilation, and purge the Wespeak page of the nauseating verbal displays the lazy-minded manage to spell out in four-letter words.
If ending that uncivil war and forming a more perfect union are strategic planner Bennet’s aims, the strategy aimed at achieving them calls to mind George Orwell’s dictum that some ideas are so beyond the pale, so stupid, that only an intellectual could believe them. Intellectual Bennet, that vital ingredient, a Grade A fool for love of A Grand Idea, would have us beguiled, as he is, apparently, into believing that his colossal stomach’s process of assimilation will realize his dream of a bicker-free campus while his balkanizing curriculum (read: agenda) of race, class, and gender studies cultivates the grapes of wrath. Doug, dream on.
And all of you students now saddled with debt who must dream of a miracle (the transubstantiation of loans into grants), while contemplating the tens of millions the don in the saddle is spending upon his impossible dream, can also dream on.
Frankly, Mr. Fleischner, I’m at a loss to explain the composition of Foss’s new red brick dormitories. Either Doug’s in-laws own a brickyard, I reckon, or else a pile of bricks was left over after the Film Studies building’s completion; some planner must have figured, Why waste them?
Film Studies’ red brick exterior walls (there’s even a red brick interior wall) no doubt have deep symbolic meaning: whoever approaches postmodernist film with a view to reaching a semblance of understanding will hit a brick wall, would be my guess.
Whatever it signifies, the project’s auteur is Film Studies Director Jeanine D. Basinger. Let me mention a film she’s barking mad about, “Pink Flamingoes”—a feces-infested entertainment. Would it be crass to ask Jeanine if her taste is all in her ascot?