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The bags were packed. The pounds upon pounds of victuals were secure in the trunk. The pot was safely stashed at a friend's house. The music theory books were nestled lovingly on top of the Beethoven piano sonata scores, the complete piano works of Brahms, Strauss' Vier Letzte Lieder, Prokofiev's 9 piano sonatas, Robert Taub's "Teach Yourself Beethoven in 21 Days" epic entitled Playing the Beethoven Piano Sonatas, and, of course, the tried-and-true Phish Companion. Infinite Jest, Goedel, Escher, Bach, and Gravity's Rainbow sat snug in the crates, perched to strike at any moment with veritable orgies of liberal arts frenzy. The Marlboro reds were secure inside a starry-eyed vagabond's pocket ready to spring out into the open after years of forced concealment from the watchful eyes of the folks. In short, it was time for the epic journey across treacherous turnpikes and lugubrious landscapes into the very heart of man's academic darkness - the Liberal Arts College.

The quest began rather mildly as the seeker ignited his engine, trailing his progenitors across the rocky landscape, braving untold horrors of both traffic and personal introspection. Twenty-five minutes later, the caravan had crossed the perilous void delineating the suburbs from the Major Metropolitan Area. They had arrived.

"I'm so fucking glad I chose Rhodes," the traveler thought to himself - "Now I'm only half an hour away from my own bed and a homecooked meal." However, he neglected to take into account the perilous hazardous Drive of Doom that had forced him to navigate the Chasm between Unenlightenment and Enlightenment.

Perfectly appeased with the Concept of the Liberal Arts College, our hero came prepared for the usual veritable hermitage of rich, anti-social miscreants who pay good money to fade into anonymity and devote a life to the pursuit of culturally diverse, pretentious-as-hell, dogmas that mold each student into the quintessential Naive Dumbass. The seeker had previously held some semblance of a social life, but was now prepared to sacrifice it to the Deity of Obfuscated Thought Processes and Impracticality who happened to be the patron saint of most LAC's.

Upon arrival, however, the Seeker became startled. "Oh my God, some of these people actually look and act normal! And I just saw hot girls!" The Deity became frightened at this challenge to his absolute power; yet, as the Day of Orientation continued, this god only managed to strike the Power of the Liberal Arts into our suddenly elated vagabond in one instance.

Everything had been unpacked successfully. The roommate was unexpectedly cool as shit (translation: badass), and the parents had been sent on their merry way into the great Chasm between the MMA and Suburbia. (A sidenote: this particular Liberal Arts College is parodically centered in the middle of a Memphis ghetto - it's rather ironic to see towering Gothic architecture with Ivy in a League of its own surrounded on all sides by housing projects and low-rent housing.) The College forced several mandatory Humanities credits onto its student body, and our scholar picked the Search program, which concentrated on ancient works of literature, etc., etc., etc. Yet the class houses its own quirky Liberal Arts Spin - it's not just about reading, it's about Searching for Values Throughout the Ages. The seeker, in that auditorium, encountered for the first time the horror of the typical Liberal Arts Student:

Professor:Let's say you had a treasure box of artifacts from the 21st century that, to later, more advanced cultures, would signify the main attitudes and Values of our Culture. What five items would you include?

LAC Student #1:Money!

LAC Student #2:(very earnestly and reverently) A copy of the President's address to the nation after September the Eleventh.

LAC Student #3:(even more earnestly and reverently) A copy of the judge's ruling that the phrase "one nation under God" was unconstitutional.

Our traveler recoiled in horror at this unflinching, unmitigated, unintentional display of Rampant Naivete that would become a hallmark of the Liberal Arts College and its Pretentious Value Systems. Even more egregious was a survey given out to the class at the end of this interminable lecture. The typical question read as follows:

How many times in this academic year do you plan to converse with People of different Ethnic Backgrounds or philosophies of life?

A. 1-5
B. 6-10
C. 10-50
D. Over 50

or:

Did the chance to meet People of different Ethnic Backgrounds influence your decision to enroll at this university?
(Translation: Did you come here to meet minorities?)

This incident played as the first of many encounters with Naivete that would surely become frequent in the traveler's grappling with the Concept of the Liberal Arts College. The rest of the fabled First Day of Orientation played through as if on fast forward, as the spiritually renewed questor retired, ready for even more heroic conquests against the Deity of the Liberal Arts.

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