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2013 Fall Issue 4 (October 18, 2013)

A Note to the Eds

October 18, 2013
By Christopher C. Rushlau '78


Sorry you don’t have my email on file at the alumni office.  Why it is safe to take the opinion of someone who says he’s an alumni (alumna?  alumnae?  alumnum?).  Click here.  A guy says to me, I was walking around Northfield and I suddenly noticed no one on the sidewalk was smiling.  And so it was I realized I’d passed into Carleton.

My comments on Ben Strauss’s article, but first I’ll ask him if his father is/was Les, Isadore, the third.  Les was about the most honest person on campus when I was there, despite/because of his nickname among his buddies, or eponym:  He states the obvious, and repeats the absurd

Firstly, I want to deplore the public officials who allowed the controversy about attacking Syria to break out while our students were on campus, possibly compromising their neutrality by luring them into expressing opinions on an issue of global importance and so, in the long run, harming the planet by withering their career prospects.  Obviously by “neutrality” I mean neuteredness.

Secondly, what would Paul Wellstone do?

Finally, I wonder how this issue played/is playing over in St. Olaf’s.

Ben, that title is rich.  It’s worthy of the Carleton which I went to and which probably never existed in any “facts on the ground.”  I mean, that title is a good definition of political correctness.  Covert censorship only works when it betrays itself as censorship: so there is no such thing as political correctness.  There is only neuteredness for the sake of sucking-up to foul persons, and there is overt censorship.  Let me give the last word to Ms. Wetherall, from the article.  Almost everyone agrees on some standards of political correctness. “I think it’s necessary if the [speech] you are censoring could cause harm to another person socially,” said Mollie Wetherall ’16.

I was amazed at law school here in Maine fifteen years ago (I graduated Carleton in 1978, with a year tacked on for good behavior) to see the self-neutering of law students.  Since then I’ve gradually been realizing that that’s what most college students, and indeed high school students who want to go to college, major in.

So finally and please stop worrying about the missing “from,” I want to announce a personal milestone, the establishing of a day care center for two-to-four year olds which guarantees their entry to, completion of, and subsequent employment on the basis of completing law school.

I would like the paper to start a contest for the name of this day care center I am setting up.  I will donate ten dollars to supply a prize, ten dollar’s worth of donuts, providing that the prize committee consists of a student, a teacher, a non-teaching staff member, and a “townie”.  That’s a committee of four.  No tie-breaker.

Thank you.  But a last thought: is grammar censorship?  But let me say, too, I feel wonderful, like I’ve finally shifted my weight as a Carleton student.  And I only cut back against the flow of my rhetorical muse once, to add the “providing” for the donut prize.  That’s enough.

     -- Christopher C. Rushlau ‘78   



Greetings, Mr. Rushlau,

We appreciate the note, and hope you had a nice time in Northfield.

Would you like us to run your comments in the following issue?

Thanks,

jacob

p.s. My dad graduated Carleton in ‘81, so he must have been a freshman when you were a senior


 You know “nice” is a contraction of “nescius”, meaning “not knowing”?

I don’t recall your father, perhaps for the same reason.

What’s the use of meeting people if you don’t note all their warts and wrinkles?  If you forbid yourself to notice their warts and wrinkles, you’ve made it impossible to meet them.

I remember the one or two students, and maybe a moment from one or two professors (Wellstone was not one of them), who/which placed truth at the top of the scale of academic value.

Truth is that (to cite my definition from the time, I think) which holds you when you put your weight on it.

In the future, let’s be sure to put the “from” back in the phrase “graduated Carleton,” if not using the proper entirety of “was graduated from Carleton”.

Thinking of the places I’ve been graduated from, and quoting Paul Simon, “it’s a wonder I can think at all.”

Thanks for the platform at a place I want to remember with more than just shame.

     -- Christopher C. Rushlau ‘78

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