A gut-recognition of the schools as a system of totalitarian control and personal impoverishment began spreading among students after the McCarthy numbness lifted. By the early Sixties it was well advanced, though still voiced only by a few in contact with the freer educations of political action and beatnikism. In the FSM, this gathering discontent exploded. Everyone -- except students -- was astounded to find that the "quality of our education" was an issue equal with political rights at the heart of our action. They called our feeling "educational alienation," but I think it broods to revolution.
This poem came later, when the President of the State's University system was finally fired, for the wrong reasons. An arch Liberal and the leading managerial theoretician of the Multiversity, Clark Kerr was also a brilliant manipulator of power. In the hardening political climate, he finally lost his grasp and fell to Reagan's displeasure. The media made a big obnoxious deal out of Mario's commentary on the firing. Mario later amended it with some kind words about Kerr being a human being and so on. But his first spontaneous, incautious reaction spoke for many. We were so weary of all the pretense.
On The Firing Of Dr. Clark Kerr,
Should I crow, say
About your Minerva. We put our selves
But sometimes, spun over the rail far out
Hey there then Coach, I'm hip
So we learned at your heels,
And how you did chide us
So what if those walls
That's stark and crude, like the first stains
There was nothing personal,