R.I.P. Student Activism, 1900s-2006
According to the front page of The Cambridge Student this week, student activism in Cambridge is "dying". Damn straight. No more are we in the heady days when Richard Branson and his posse kicked up a storm being plain ol' weed-smoking rule-breaking free-lovin students. Let's compare the views of a student and a don. Liana Wood of the Cambridge University Student Union says:
What is being lost is the idea that there is a worth in education for education's sake. One of the most important part of a university education is questioning the status quo and having the chance to discover what you really believe in.Dr Owen Saxton, Senior Tutor at New Hall, is surprisingly not as stuffy and reticent as many dons are:
Most people - not just students - are more apathetic than they used to be. There's a wide disillusionment with politics - a recognition that even with the best will in the world things can't be changed as easily as we once imagined.Sound familiar?
Are people nowadays really just sheep sitting down with their mouths wide open to take the crap the government shovels down their throats? Are we as a nation (and more specifically as the medical profession) so dazed and confused by New Labour's endless reforms and reorganisations that we no longer bother to voice our protest except on anonymous online journals? And if we are, what can we do about it? Is it possible to return to the past?
I have some answers, but kids read this blog, so I'll save em for, oh, about 20 years' time.
Jeremy Paxman Speaks In Packed Cambridge Union Building (Filled Mostly By His Ego)
Famous journalist Jeremy Paxman was this week's celebrity guest at the Union. Taken from an article in Varsity:
After having examined a text of some 16th century poem, Jeremy located a small ink mark on the side of the page, hovering next to the end of one of the lines; a mark that the untrained, uncritical eye would have dismissed as meaningless. “Excuse me, sir, but is the mark on the side of the page intentional, or is it a printing error?” “I’m sure it’s nothing,” the professor replied, one of the first in a long line of those dismissive of Paxman’s “over-zealous” methods. “Listen, Jeremy…” “Sir, is it intentional or not?” This went on, to our amazement (having never challenged anything in such a determined, precise fashion) for at least ten minutes, before the professor finally caved in, conceding that the outcome of the question was crucial to one’s understanding of the poem.As only Paxo could. Funnily enough, he was there to speak about his new book On Royalty, and the best summary of his arrogant, haughty manner is given in the same article:
During his speech, Paxman addressed the central problem of the monarchy’s relationship with government: we need an emblematic head of state, familiar to millions, uninvolved in politics - above politics, without resorting to an anachronistic and irrelevant, blindly hereditary system. The one thing he was too modest to propose himself was the answer staring his admirers in the face: King Paxman I.
Terry Pratchett's 'Maskerade' To Be Staged Next Week
And now, the obligatory Shameless Plug! (Disclaimer: I advertise this play of my own volition and am not being forced to do it by my director, who is not sitting next to me right now with a Swiss Army knife menacingly pointed at my throat and threats of longer rehearsals. Oh no.) To be staged at the Fitzpatrick Theatre, Queen's College, from the 21st to the 25th of this month. Come and watch me, in a scene now famous to scores of Pratchett fans everywhere, suffer from what can only be described as 'erectile overactivity' in reaction to an olde time witch's version of Viagra. Served in a pie.
And thus ends another week in the City of Overwork. Stay tuned for more tales of misfortune, supervisor abuse, and directorial dastardliness! (yes, I KNOW that's not a word. Pedants.)