In “Alice in Wonderland,” they paint the white roses red before the arrival of the Queen. In today’s version of Alice’s world, the modern university, they paint the grass green.
Many of the nation’s colleges and universities plan to let students drift back to campus this fall. Here’s hoping they all have plenty of ventilators. Same for the bars of New Haven, Princeton, Cambridge and other large and small towns where the current generation of rowdy and uncontrollable immortals go to get ej-a-ma-kated.
The students and pseudo students will hear pieties from their school about social distancing, hand washing, hand wringing... served with a heaping helping of political correctness, pseudo free speech and the occasional classroom appearances of professors who actually want to teach, but fear taking attendance.
This is especially true of the Movie Set colleges. The what? Places that look like places of higher learning but really are little more than places of show. Majestic buildings. Rolling hills, green lawns (do they really paint them that color?)
The grownups wandering about? Most of them are there to paint the grass. They wear coveralls and carry paint cans. Then there are administrators with lofty titles but fuzzy function and who have the cunning to land and keep cushy jobs -- where attendance isn’t taken either.
But the students and pseudo students cannot be tamed regardless of what’s preached at them. They will violate all the rules and some of them will get caught. Most won’t.
Kids will crowd. They will gather on the lawns of dorms or frat houses, red plastic cups in hand. They will “socialize” using every guide from Miss Manners to the Kama Sutra. It’s what they do.
And both real and Movie Set colleges are all good at one thing besides spouting pieties. They’re good at forming task forces and committees to study their real or movie set problems.
So, expect painstaking in the neck conferences on what was right or wrong or good or bad about distance learning. What worked, what didn’t, what needs to be improved or discarded or left alone?
And there will be seminars and -- with socially distant seating -- on the socialization that college is supposed to provide vs. staying home and studying the history of ice cream flavors 102 in their jammies. Important stuff, doncha know.
Meantime, life will gradually return to normal. Football coaches will sign outrageously overblown contracts. So will the small army of deans and vice presidents and directors of this and that.
Who didn’t leave campus during the ongoing virus season? Fundraisers and public relations staffers. They’ve been busier than ever.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Any Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org
© WJR 2020