A very young BobLee visited Disneyland fifty years ago. I recall Sleeping Beauty’s castle, a flume ride, seven dwarfs and, of course, “Mickey”. We took Kid ten years ago. “Mickey”, Goofy and the gang were still there. ….. It’s been forty years since I was “in college”. “Mickey and the gang” are still there too.
It was this picture of “Angry Little Haley’s Gang” that was the clincher. A group of “somebody’s children” bustin’ at the seams with self-righteous indignation and the know-it-all absoluteness accumulated after 18-20 years of life….. he he he he.
A group of UNC students in full “protest mode”. It could be from the 60s, 70s, 80s …… it was from April 26, 2010. There is a “frozen in time” charm to it all. The timelessness of the “going to college” thing.
If you stroll thru a Disney theme park you see all the various “characters” ….. Mickey, Goofy, Donald, Peter Pan, Snow White, et al. A few new ones get added but all the old favorites stay on. its the same on college campuses. There is Frat Boy ….. Coed Diva ….. Real Jock ….. Intramural Jock …. Dorm Rat ….. BMOCs ….. BMOC wannabees ….. Student Government Nerd …. Preppie ….. Future Serial Killer …. and, of course, those lovable Angry Junior Anarchists.
Like 98% of current college students, I never “protested” but we certainly had guys and gals doing it. “It” ramped up a tad after I left as “…. that crazy Asian War” caught the fancy of the “I wanna be mad about something …” sloganeers. The sale of RIT dye escalated in the 70s as tie-dye t-shirts became the official uniform of the counter-culture.
“Back then” Y-Court was UNC’s petting zoo for “wooly bullies”, “earth mothers” and “take a bath you mangy hippies”. NCSU’s Brickyard served the same purpose. Every college campus had its designated viewing spot for this generational street theater. If one had a break between classes ….. “lets go over to Y-Court, grab a cherry coke and hassle the hippies ….. maybe we’ll see Zackie Murphy. Peach Pearce, Larry Miller or Danny Talbott.” Zackie, Peach, Larry and Danny would NOT be “protesting” but BMOCs and coed divas liked cherry cokes too.
America’s Greatest Generation birthed the Protest Generation. Mom and Dad survived the Great Depression, waded ashore on Omaha Beach, and froze at Chosen Reservoir so we could romp ‘n stomp and listen to Joan Baez and Bob Dylan’s mournful entreaties to make a difference by growing a beard and not bathing very often. Now The Greatest Generation’s grandchildren are taking their turn.
Self-Righteously indignant post-adolescents haven’t changed all that much in forty years. Haley’s Gang has its own cutesy acronym that symbolizes whatever teeth-clenching cause de jour burr is under their little saddles. Its “immigration” this week but it could be “the environment” or “legalize pot” or “Che Guevara Lives”. The “cause” doesn’t matter. It never has. It’s just that “something” inside some that says “lets do something to draw attention to ourselves and pretend we ‘matter’ “.
“”….draw attention to ourselves and pretend that we matter”
As with each generation of “protestors” there will be considerable defection from the tribe as graduation nears. Birkenstocks will be replaced by Florsheims. Personal hygiene will take on renewed significance as the next rite of passage looms.
Each generation contributes a chosen few to “never grow up”. Like Peter Pan’s Lost Boys they move into a dilapidated hovel in NeverNeverLand (aka Carrboro) and “go on staff” with the designated acronym to carry on the fight on behalf of the voiceless ….. or some such trite catch phrase. Blah blah blah yadda yadda yadda …… recruit the next generation of aimless kids desperate to belong to something and pretend to matter.
Many UNCers have been embarrassed and upset at Angry Little Haley and her Motley Misfits. Yes, their antics have generated some obtuse publicity. So, unfortunately, did the pitfalls of 2010’s version of Roy’s Boyz. So too with NC State’s four pot-smoking footballers earlier this week. So too with Duke’s Gang of 88 four years ago. College campuses are society’s petri dish for exaggerated foolishness.
Colleges, and the kids that go there, tend to do that a lot. If it’s any consolation ….. most of Haley’s Motley Misfits WILL “grow up” …… AND then do all the sordid foolish stuff that adults do. At least while they are “in college” there is an excuse.
NOTE: For those who don’t know ….. “Angry Little Haley’s Gang” staged a relatively peaceful “walk-out” Monday night at Tancredo’s speech. No windows were broken or pepper sprayed. UNC security under the calm leadership of Popular Young Chancellor Holden Thorp managed this latest Kabuki Theater performance adroitly …… BobLee applauds “adroit” management.
Do they still sell cherry cokes in Y Court?