Wednesday, December 21, 2011

1969 revisited

Thanksgiving, after I almost cut my finger off, I was up in my little office and happened across what is probably the only existing copy of Spirit magazine, the literary magazine of West Virginia University from the Spring of 1969 (God bless that year...that decade.)

I was the editor of that magazine. It cost 50 cents and caused a broo-ha-ha on the campus. At the Phi Beta Kappa dinner (yes, beloved, I am Phi Beta Kappa) the president of the University shook my hand and said, "Our Mr. Bradley. You won't be doing any more magazines now, I'm pleased to say..."

What caused such a furor is hard, from 2011 to imagine. There was an article on poverty by John D. Rockefeller III, who was President of West Virginia Wesleyan at the time and went on to be Governor and, to this day, the Senior Senator from West Virginia.

There was the "Spirit Salutes" three page list, based on Esquire Magazine's year end "Dubious Achievement Awards" article where we ridiculed and made fun of most everything on campus.

Here is the breathless prose, written by me, that introduced the Spirit Salutes article:

"Human imperfection is so prevalent among us that it all to often goes practically unnoticed. The SPIRIT (as the conscience of the campus) can no longer turn its head to the atrocities constantly being committed. We've let you get away with a lot of things--no more, baby. We herewith declare war with the forces of evil and ignorance that surround us and our first campaign is to expose and salute those who in the past year have helped to prove that man is in no way a rational, admirable creature. Once done--once you know you neighbors (and yourselves)--then perhaps you'll get together to reevaluate and correct--but we're betting you won't: we're betting all our best efforts will go unrewarded, all our warnings will go unheeded, the world will surely go to hell despite us. Alas!"

Sounds like me right? A heavy dose of irony and skepticism and a bit of tongue in cheekness. And I love to say/write/think "Alas!"

There was the interview with two very scarey looking Black students who were leaders of the Black Power movement on the campus (such as it was....) Some objectionable language, but shouldn't there have been from young black men--one a Viet Nam vet--in 1969.

Most of the rest of the magazine was student writing (pretentious, ironic and overinflated) and poetry and an article by the head of the Classics Department called "White is Beautiful" (more tongue in cheek and irony).

Maybe it was all just too ironic.....Oh, there were the nude photos, very artsy, but nude to below the navel. It was the photographer's wife for goodness sake and she was lovely....truly lovely.

I'm betting it was the glass of red wine balanced on her perfectly flat belly and her lovely, if I might say so, breasts. That might have been the President's problem.

I wrote a short story in that magazine. I'll type it into a blog this week--or next, it is almost Christmas, after all--just to see how it stands up to four decades and more.....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.