Monday, August 25, 2008

Professor Bierce’s Blue Monday

Your winged Messenger of all things gossipy is feeling particularly blue this Monday, for in the academic world, August (or September) depending on one’s home institution is indeed the cruelest month. The peace of College Town is now unsettled by the onslaught of boisterous undergraduates beginning the Season of Binge Drinking. The fall season jousting over that most precious of campus commodities, the well-located parking spot, has begun. Professor Bierce wishes that he could pedal to work, but like most of the residents of his most sprawling burg must rely on the horseless carriage. And the delightful hiatus of summer has now passed into history. Were it not a Monday afternoon, the good professor would pour himself a stiff bourbon, in part to balm the pain of a full day of meetings. But he will not besmirch his status on campus by joining the legion of tipplers that are turning this Ivory Tower into a live tableau of a Hogarth print.

On the topic of binge drinking, bottoms up to Southern historian and former Middlebury College president John McCardell. The hale fellow is leading efforts to lower the drinking age to 18. Joining McCardell's Amethyst Initiative, a nationwide effort to end America's two-decade long failed experiment in partial prohibition, are 128 college and university presidents. They, like good Professor Bierce, have seen the carnage wrought by undergraduates gone wild. Their solution is well-reasoned and eminently sensible, but it has already run afoul of the latter-day Puritans. But to them I can only say cheers!

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