These are the vaults of my never-ending foray into Gonzo Journalism, Another Day in the Freak Kingdom. From here you can check on the biographies of the characters, see pieces of the novel, and attempt to pry the rest out of me through e-mail. Due to size constraints, I can't make the whole text available over the Web, but if you ask really nicely I may give them to you.
These people actually exist, for the most part. They are ten times as crazy as they appear in the book, however, and they all should be locked up for the good of the nation, including myself. Don't say I didn't warn you.
"The whole point of this is lost to me, but I think it has something to do with the notion of Fitting In and Being a Productive Member of Society. Sure, we all want to be like a damn green Surge mountain, and make our first million at 25. But stay the straight and narrow, my friend, or someone will make short work of your weirdness. There is no room in professional America for a person who goes around laying the stomp and the whipsong on people for no damn reason, martyring yourself. Aggressive flatulence, forced feedings of swill, and massive consumption of alcohol are certain college experiences, but they do not belong in the Responsible America we so desire."
"One of my biggest mistakes that I made when I should have known better is to assume that because these people are in college they have basic intelligence and reasoning skills. I have always been against the arguments that intelligence and common sense comes from age, and here I was making the same argument when it came to college.
"'Who are you? You're not in track,' they guy said, trying hard to look tough, but failing miserably.
"With finals completed, it was time for a much deserved break. No matter what the original intentions of spring break were, it has evolved into a one-week period where the goal is to get a really dark tan and party until you forget exactly where you are. Although this last point seems fairly counterproductive, nevertheless it is an intricate part of the College Experience.
"A recent nationwide college poll bears this out. In the past 25 years, the percentage of college Freshman who say that they are going to college to find a philosophy of life has dropped from around 68% to 40%, while the percentage of people who are at college to make a lot of money has increased from 40% to 72%. College today is nothing more than a trade school, a vo-tech, where people come in and learn how to punch numbers into a spreadsheet or to punch code into a computer, then settle down into a long life of boredom, apathy, and disharmony, fueled by their new-found skills in manipulating technology to fulfill their worldly desires."
"But that is somewhat irrelevant, especially in regards to that College Experience that I could not forget no matter how much I want to or how much I tried. The only radio we have on our beloved campus is the pitiful Radio K, a pathetic AM station that runs a few hours a day. On the third largest college campus in America, if you wanted to hear the obligatory college radio station, you had to tune to 770 kHz sometime around noon, within a few hundred yards of the transmitter. The U decided not to jump on the FM bandwagon when it rolled around about 25 years ago, thinking it was just a fad. With that kind of thinking at the top, it's a surprise we have computers on this campus, or even telephones."
"However, it was refreshing to know that people were proving, left and right, that once you stop making decisions for your children and start letting them act on their own, they will find all kinds of interesting ways of taking their lives and driving them over the high side of their first lap into adult life. Either they were destroying their futures through idiotic mistakes or getting locked down, squashing whatever individuality they had in favor of 'not making waves' and 'planning for the future.' Here they were, people who knew exactly what they were going to be, majors all planned, résumés created, husbands and wives sought, mortgages acquired, children procreated, 401(k)s set up, and don't forget the yearly vacation to Salt Lake City. Human existence had already lost its luster, but with a new Ford Festiva in the garage, who needed to think?"
"After the industrious student registers for their classes at the U, the next hurdle is finding the classrooms on this large campus. Many students are found at three in the morning, round about Lilydale and Vadnais Heights mumbling about finding the Donhowe Building or Williamson Hall. Not only are these students often drunk, they are downright ignorant as well; there are no classes in those buildings. In any case, nearly all entry-level classes are held in 125 or 175 Willey Hall, so if they show up there when they are in doubt, chances are they will stumble into one of their classes.
"'Hey, Mr. Spiczka,' I said as he answered the phone in his office. 'I saw the STrib today. What the hell is going on?'
"When I was at the University, I was relatively safe. I could run through the hallways and bolt the door as soon as I got home, saving me the embarrassment of petty conversation. I only had to see people in the classroom, and once that was over all I had to do was pretend they didn't exist if I saw them out in public. It was not the normal social life of a college student, but I am no normal student. I only went out on journalistic assignment, merely to see what the Hep were doing these days. I had no attachment to the people who were my subjects.
"Nirvana and Kurt Cobain were from an earlier era, but not that much earlier; a time of relative innocence, a time when the future held as many possibilities as existed on any given evening at Nightstorm. While not everybody appreciated the bands that came out of Seattle, which was to the early '90's what San Francisco was to the '60's, a few years later many would be pleading for it all to come back. After Cobain's trip ended, we were left to deal with the specter of the Spice Girls, Hanson, and some Puff Daddy who make the top billboard charts by stealing a song and turning it into a memorial to yet another murdered artist.
"The beginning of the week was rather uneventful. I wasn't a tourist, and I had no real inclination to see the sights beyond what I was shown. I had come for peace, and I had no problem with lounging around and thinking about the fine mess I was in with my campaign. Sam tried to give me some help, but he just wasn't sufficiently into politics to be able to get into a deep discussion regarding the various issues around campus. Polly also wasn't about to get into a discussion on the intricacies of politics; Sam was right when he said that she wasn't exactly a high-watt bulb. Mostly she kept to herself and watched television, or worked on her college algebra homework. I tried my best to be friendly and polite, but my heart wasn't in it, and neither was her brain. I could never put up with a person like that, but then again, I never had to. It was simply another part of the trip."
"i am on a college campus, but i let the people around me trick me into thinking that they were of a different breed. they may be pols, which is good, but they are college pols, and they fall prey to things like everybody else. the captain and jack being two of the most popular. of course, i don't spend any time with the captain and jack, and that is one source of tension. a few others are on a more personal level. bottom line is, today just didn't feel right. it felt like it was shoved sideways into the calendar, and it never did undo that."
Category: Gonzo , Last Updated: Friday, 23 July 2010 19:23 , Written by Nathan Hunstad
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