My faith in politics had waned long before I watched 20 minutes of a nauseating Q&A session between Ann Coulter and a nameless mass of privileged young white conservatives whose questions were barely more probing than, “Ann, are you a gift from God?” When Ann said that she was, “sure” that liberals will take credit for ending abortion a hundred years from now—just like they took credit for ending slavery and segregation—I vomited all over my bed. I should be pissed but my bed is already filled with blood sucking insects, so a little vomit on top isn’t really a big deal: anyway, I think I’ll avoid sleep tonight.
As brutal as the fall has been—the endless army of rogues scuttling about the halls, plaguing us residents of Jameson Hall with an unspeakable terror—a long winter looms, promising a heightened devastation. The days are bearable, as the cowardly varmints hide when our minds are at their sharpest. But the nights, oh the nights mother, what a different beast they are. The nightly beast calls the bugs, rousing them from their hideouts to feed on helpless residents. The wind slaps against the windows; the darkness beckons the infestation.
My lone assumption going into the Cornell Horse Show at the Oxley Equestrian Center on Sunday was that the show would be outdoors. In my imagination the show took place on a spacious, sunlit course presumably made of grass. In reality, however, the show took place in a claustrophobic indoor course, lit by buzzing fluorescent lights, in desperate need of ventilation. “It would be a disaster if it were outdoors,” scoffed Katie Allero (as we’ll call her), a senior rider for Colgate, when I asked her if this venue is considered normal. Perhaps I deserved to get scoffed at. My knowledge of horses is limited to Seabiscuit and repressed childhood memories of Black Beauty; maybe I shouldn’t have been pressing my assumptions on an experienced collegiate rider.
Anyone who went through grade school in the United States left with a lasting sense of “anything is possible.” Equality of opportunity, nonexistence of impossibility, absence of any barriers whatsoever—these are the talking points of grade school teachers intent on instilling a sense of radical optimism in impressionable young students. Presently, after years of reality extracting my imbedded optimism, these bumper sticker principles seem more appetizing to a nine-year-old version of myself—a version who believed not only in an elfin pseudo-incubus that exchanged negligible amounts of money for deciduous teeth, but also believed that a bunny rabbit had the wherewithal to cleverly hide eggs and bring me boxes of duck-shape marshmallows in the name of Jesus’ resurrection. I thought that if you swallowed watermelon seeds then a watermelon would start to grow in your stomach because of an episode of the Rugrats for god’s sake, I was in no position to decide whether or not “impossible is nothing” was a sensible slogan for my entire life.
You don’t have to be Al Gore to realize that when it’s 70 degrees in late October in Ithaca, Southern California bursts into flames, the northernmost point of land keeps getting rediscovered because of massive ice melting and there seems to be at least one devastating natural disaster per year in America, the climate is indeed changing and not for the better. A profound conclusion I know. But this isn’t another article about how we should turn off the lights when we aren’t using them or the benefits of carpooling; it isn’t even an article about more hardcore, Ed Begley-level environmentalism where we all drive hybrids and walk around with solar-paneled backpacks that power our iPods.
Normally, a girl who dresses in a miniskirt that barely covers her panty-less crotch, covers her chest with a shredded wife-beater that is bound to reveal a half of a nipple after a few hours of dancing, cakes her face with a couple thick coats of makeup, wears an eye-patch and calls herself a pirate is widely recognized as a prostitute. We see that girl on HBO’s AC Hookers. She struts up to seedy cars with promises to give the drivers a “piece of this.” She fulfills the fetishes of Jersey perverts striving for sex on the high seas.
With no Christian fundamentalists among the current pack of Republican presidential hopefuls, the candidates saw this weekend’s Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit as an opportunity to win the support of the highly-influential evangelical community. The candidates paraded down as home God-fearers, tossing the fresh meat of “pro-life,” “holy word of God,” and “family values” into the salivating crowd of lobbying Christian zealots. With the candidates constantly trying to out-hyperbolize each other, there was bound to be a cockeyed quote or two.
Upon returning from my 10:05 class this Tuesday, I experienced something beyond cruelty, something beyond the savagery of prelims, something beyond the futility of motivating myself to trek to class in pre-winter 40 degree weather—I turned on The Price Is Right and saw not a warm, grandfatherly Bob Barker wrangling hyperventilating college kids around the stage but rather a chubby guy with goofy glasses awkwardly stuffed into a suit, stiffly asking the announcer to please show us the next item up for bid. What a sick joke it was.
When authorities thwarted 14-year-old Dillon Cossey’s planned massacre at Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School, the community of Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania—a forgettable Philadelphia suburb best known for its mall—shivered in terror upon realizing its own mortality. The disturbing near-disaster thrust a community who prides itself on proximity (20 minutes from Philadelphia, 90 minutes from both the Pocono Mountains and the Jersey Shore) into active participation in a distant world that previously only existed through their television, observable from the safety of a tender suburban living room. School shootings happen in rural schools filled with buck-hunting evangelists who think psychological issues are for the weak and the sinful, or in city schools filled with the drugged-out, 50 Cent-obsessed descendents of poor rapists and murders, but not in Plymouth Meeting. No, these types of things don’t happen in such a pastoral oasis of sensibility.
Not only do we have an entire day devoted to the catalyst for the extermination of an entire race of native peoples in the Caribbean, but we also conduct a parade in his honor. High school marching bands blare out patriotic tunes in an excruciating brass jumble, a fifty-foot Garfield hovers over little kids who suck on red, white and blue lollapaloozas and anorexic dancers inexplicably pirouette with translucent umbrellas atop floats crawling down New York City’s 5th Avenue. All this revelry marches on in the name of a man who never even stepped foot on the United States of America—Christopher Columbus.