Upstate Consolation University to Ban Friendship, Create Innovative Bookless Library

Mehar Shandruff-Danpoo Center

UCU’s Mehar Shandruff-Danpoo Multicultural Center and Cafetorium

The Academic Senate of Upstate Consolation University has recently passed several new and exciting policies that will go into effect at the beginning of the fall semester.  Among these dynamic and progressive measures are a ban on friendship and a plan to make the campus library entirely bookless.  Minky Winceapple, formerly Chair of the Studies Studies Program, now serving as Under-Dean for Oversight of Policy Sensitivity, explains that the new regulations “are based off of grounded theory so as – intersectionally, of course – to promote the cross movement mobilization of marginalized people who have been disadvantaged by multiple sources of oppression.”  Winceapple continues, “These policies will raise awareness by subverting structures of privilege through an extra-categorical strategy derived from critical thinking – such as the type of thinking I am using right now.”  Measly Prudence, formerly Lead Vice-Coordinator of the Office of Dining Relations, now serving as Associate Provost for the Task Force on Inter-Varsity Diversity, seconded Winceapple’s enthusiasm: “We are implementing practices,” he said, “that will recognize and honor our multiple identities, co-facilitate an interconnective learning experience, and enable us to visualize how better to ventilate the bathrooms in the administration building – perhaps with the type of ventilation I am using right now.”

BFFs

College-Girl BFFs: Threat or Menace?

The Policy for Maximizing Equality by Actively Neutralizing Gregarious Interactions Rooted in Loyalty (the full name of the ban on friendship) originated in a paper authored by UCU Associate Professor of Cultural Appropriation Grievancia Bull-Pittler, who teaches a required seminar on the racial semiotics of hoop earrings and Chinese-style prom-dresses in the Interdisciplinary Program for Advanced Accessory Sciences and Climate-Change Research.  Bull-Pittler’s paper, entitled “Interrogating ‘Bestyness’: the Hetero-Normative Construction of Betsy’s Best Friend Forever,” made the argument that her eighth-grade classmate, Elizabeth “Betsy” Saxonbruster, one of the “popular girls,” used her “friendship” with Angelica “Gidget” Di Blondina, also “popular,” to exclude her (that is, Bull-Pittler) from equal social interaction by a patriarchy-sanctioned gesture designed to ostracize those who are ontologically non-opposite-sex-attractive.  Bull-Pittler sees her retrospective deconstruction of the exclusionary compact between Betsy and Gidget as a necessary survivor-centered process linked to her weight-lifting activity, and to her fashion-commitment to jeans, a grey sweatshirt, and a buzz-cut.  Bull-Pittler understands the “pinky-swear,” by which Betsy and Gidget formalized their mutual BFF status, to have been the equivalent, at Piltdown Junior High School (Farmington, Illinois) in the late 1980s, of the white-supremacist “Okay” sign, by which the carriers of toxic masculinity nowadays surreptitiously identify one another in public.

pinky-swear-329329_960_720

Symbol of Outrageous Exclusion

MEANGIRL, to refer to the new policy by its acronym, applying to men, women, all those on the gender-fluidity spectrum, and a wide range of comfort-animals, forbids the formation of any kind of exclusive – and therefore exclusionary – personal relationship within the boundaries of UCU’s campus during the semester.  In order to enforce the new policy, about half of the student body in any semester will be recruited to monitor the other half, in order to make sure that everybody always associates on an equal and impartial basis with everybody else, thus preventing the formation of personal bonds based on so-called common interest and spiritual affinity.  MEANGIRL will also help to eliminate private conversation, the content of which, remaining unknown to the authorities, potentially endangers the community at large.  “Friends,” says Winceapple, “speaking together out of the earshot of others might criticize or call into question important concepts of today’s higher education, like Trump is literally Hitler, you can be whatever sex you choose, white supremacists are about to take over the campus, or if you find yourself in a hole you should shovel so much the harder to dig yourself out — and we here at UCU never stop shoveling really hard.”  MEANGIRL also bans whispering.  As soon as it goes into effect, all verbal exchanges must be shouted so that the monitors, who will be masked for the sake of anonymity, can hear them.

Marl Flaybiter

Executive Assistant Coordinator of the Task Force on Inclusive Partnerships

The other cynosure policy will create the first bookless library to grace a college campus.  Marl Flaybiter, formerly Executive Deputy Chancellor of the Committee on Investor Communications, now serving as Executive Assistant Coordinator of the Task Force on Inclusive Partnerships, announced the bold news during a meeting with library and other effected staff in the Mehar Shandruff-Danpoo Multicultural Center and Cafetorium, formerly the Andrea Dworkin Memorial Housing and Parking Office.  “The bookless library is a natural outgrowth of long-standing trends in higher education,” Flaybiter said, “such as diversity, inclusiveness, intersectionality, multiculturalism – and many others I am thinking about right now.”  According to Flaybiter, a library full of books privileges the literate and inquisitive who attend university with the object of gaining knowledge and wisdom and who probably feel superior to the mass of students who can barely read or write.  The mass of students find books intimidating, and intimidation is incompatible with the “safe-space” doctrine of the modern campus.  “A book can’t speak,” Flaybiter reminded his audience, “so it can’t issue a trigger-warning.”  What will replace the books, once the shelves have been cleared?  The policy stipulates that the coffee shop will be dramatically expanded to occupy the entirety of the lobby floor.  The second floor, up until now devoted to periodicals, will become an online gaming center, with up to four hundred gaming consoles.  The third floor, up until now devoted to the book-stacks, will become a paint-ball arena with recharging stations for laptops and cell phones.

14 thoughts on “Upstate Consolation University to Ban Friendship, Create Innovative Bookless Library

    • Let us hope that, like the Tower of Babel, the whole thing comes tumbling down — the sooner, the better. We will all shout, Jenga!

  1. I recently read that checkouts from university libraries are down sixty percent in the last decade, and was surprised the decline was that small. I wonder how many books were never checked out, even in the days when books were all we had. I have often been the first or second patron to check out a book, and many of those books had been waiting thirty years for me to blow off the dust and flip their pages. We should probably be honest and admit that academics don’t write books to be read, they write books to win awards and get promotions.

    Utopian schemes often include a proscription against friendship. To be honest, so do many religious orders.

    • A few months ago I wrote of the behavior of the thirty-something assistant professors in my department: They have imposed non-fraternization on themselves, arriving, they immediately hide themselves in their offices with the doors closed (and probably locked), and with the window in the door blocked by a poster so that no one can see in or out.

      I have read somewhere that the typical academic article has two readers.

      I have imposed on myself for the last decade or so the project of what I call “reading backwards.” I rarely read anything published after 1970. I prefer to read writers from the previous centuries, who (like Maistre and Chateaubriand) often speak powerfully to the contemporary condition.

      Chateaubriand wrote books with geographical themes: Itinéraire de Paris à Jérusalem (1811), Les Natchez (1826), and Voyage en Amérique (1827).

      • I had noticed the trend towards non-fraternization, but had assumed it was mostly non-fraternization with me. Still, I don’t think the young professors are particularly sociable among themselves. The computer has made the office a far less lonely place, so that’s where people stay. My department has become about as meaningful as my zip code.

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  3. @JMSmith. Less lonely, yes, in a way — but also less directly gregarious. The screen mediates human contact, but at the same time it functions as a prophylactic against human contact — face-to-face contact. By “screen” I mean either the monitor in the office or the smartphone, at which ninety per cent of people seem in 2019 to spend most of their time staring.

  4. Christchurch Girl’s High School banned friendships after two of the girls formed a lesbian relationship and murdered one of their mothers because the family was planning to move overseas. The movie “Heavenly Creatures” was about this. Friends were officiously put in different classes as a matter of policy for years.

    • I wonder whether “friendship” is the word that we should use in that context. “Homicidal partnership” or “murderous compact” might better reflect the moral reality of it. And in that case, actual friends posed no threat at all to the institution or to one another. I’m not sure I could take “Heavenly Creatures.”

      • I suspect that, not unusually, the motive was lust rather than friendship. I am only vaguely aware of the case, but am I right to assume that the proposed separation threatened their sex life?

  5. @McVicket. Yes, lust and friendship are different categories entirely. Everything in the scenario to which Richard alludes is concupiscentially driven.

  6. There is much to the trend of college libraries possessing fewer books in their collections. I periodically use the library at my old community college. They’ve cleared most of the upstairs floor of their collections which has been replaced by living room type furniture. Yet I find public libraries to still be going strong. I use small town and city libraries for a variety of reasons. When I am at the library with my nine year old son, I often see people from different age groups using the libraries’ resources, especially their book collection. Maybe it’s the partial insularity of the higher education system while the public library system is still more interactive with the populace it serves.

    • Thank you for commenting, Jim. The year of peak literacy in the USA was probably 1950. Under various influences, literacy has been in a steady decline ever since. Literacy is more than an individual achievement. It is a cultural attitude. Television, beginning in the 1950s, then the cascade of digital devices in the last three decades, have been eroding it ever since.

  7. Pingback: Cantandum in Ezkhaton 06/23/19 | Liberae Sunt Nostrae Cogitatiores

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