Thursday, December 11, 2014

Silence and noise

Harvard has a finals week tradition called Primal Scream, which entails a large number of undergrads imbibing vigorously, disrobing completely, and then running around the quad screaming. This term, a group of students concerned about racism determined that this event would be the perfect setting in which to stage a silent protest. The Crimson dutifully chronicles the results of this prudent judgment, in prose and pictoral form:
As student streakers began to gather, talking and shouting, just a few yards away, the protesters, some of them clad in black sweatshirts with the words, “I ♥ Black People,” stayed silent. After failing to quiet the students with a megaphone, Khurana was lifted onto the back of a half-naked man, from where Khurana tried to quiet the crowd again. 
When the streakers continued to talk, the protesters broke their silence, chanting, “Silence. Silence.” Meanwhile, shouts of “U.S.A., U.S.A.!” erupted from the group of runners, drowning out the calls for silence by the protesters. Primal Scream participants have also chanted “U.S.A., U.S.A.!” during past runs.

“This is absolutely ridiculous, this is absolutely ridiculous,”one of the protest organizers, Aubrey J. Walker ’15, said to his fellow protestors. “We’ll wait here all night. Guys, look to your left, look to your right, these are your brothers and sisters and siblings. All we ask is for four and a half minutes of silence.” 
Shortly after, a group of streakers from the back of the crowd began to run in the opposite direction of the protesters, and the rest of the streakers followed in a lap around the Yard. The protesters turned to face the streakers after they finished their first lap around the Yard, forcing some streakers to run off the path and into the middle of the Yard. Some runners chanted, “black lives matter!” while others shouted obscenities.
No satire could improve on this reality. I'm not sure there will ever be a more complete encapsulation of Harvard than the photo of the Dean of the College perched on a shirtless student's shoulders yelling ineffectually into a megaphone at a crowd of drunk, naked kids and protesters in the rain.


alex said...

That's amazing.

Miss Self-Important said...

Isn't it? A Top 5 moment in college absurdity.