I’m not very keen on giving money to my alma mater, UC Santa Cruz, the hippie farm also known as Uncle Charlie’s Summer Camp.
Having worked in fundraising at a major West Coast private University I know how things work in the institutional-giving business. I worked the blueprints and identified “named giving opportunities” and helped to build a new children’s hospital – which I imagine was a lot easier than asking for more money for Lawyers. It was a pretty cool experience, but like Theater it opened my eyes to the realities without particularly inflaming my sensitivities – I liked building and painting scenery much more than I liked watching actors perform a play or opera. At the major West Coast private University I learned about databases and computers, and experienced the high standards of excellence that can occur in such a fine institution. However the major West-Coast private University ran into some not-so-fine financial difficulties due to its peculiar handling of their special relationship with the Government and its Funding – Indirect Cost Recover, so the major West Coast private University had to change some practices and modify some behaviors – and for the first time in much memory it laid-off a whole bunch of staff to enable that institutional transition, including me – so screw ’em.
After many annoying phone calls from students trying to fulfill their the first-tier Annual Giving quotas, I caved-in to Santa Cruz and gave to support the Fencing program. A program that I once enjoyed and that helped to release pent-up collegiate frustration and adrenalin is now a “club sport” instead of a regular part of Athletic classes. From the vacant expression of the link, it doesn’t seem to matter much to anybody, so I will match that carelessness with my own, no big deal, things change.
I’m not sure exactly what I got out of UCSC besides the minor Bachelors’ in Anthropology, evidently not lasting friendships or ongoing academic inquiry – there are few old-college chums with whom I have any contact, and none from my field of study. I really wound up with Anthropology by accident rather than planning, I had the credits and it seemed like the one thing I could do to point-the-spear and poke a hole in the fabric of Academe, and get out with a sheepskin. I was not particularly interested in the woolly ethnography of Trobriand Islanders, the pre-Columbian Maya, or the many other minor cliques of Humanity puddled around the globe – they were interesting but I was really more interested in how this culture does things and makes its effects felt – but I wasn’t interested in Society. I knew couldn’t cope in the narrow, numerical, taxonomy and classification systems of Sociology. My interest and ability to focus would soon flag if set on that trajectory of observing and quantifying the working-class, the lower-class, the poor and the other sub-sets of class-warfare as defined by that discipline. I needed a broader base from which to suspend my doubtful higher-education. I had a not-so-secret though, having just returned from a year overseas in another Culture entirely I had a priori identification, an asymmetric information-set that matched the Anthro puzzle-set. I knew what it was like to be The Other Culture – and that eventually propelled me to produce a multi-page document, a Thesis – the key that un-locked the Degree-box. Still, it took five years and a trip through another Universeity, to Vienna, before I managed to pound that out.
Things change and I’ve changed a lot since those days, my politics in particular, and I’m not eager to support their self-celebratory, institutionalized culture of Leftism. Twenty-five years ago I was like a fish breathing, saying, “What’s this thing you call Water?” I was well indoctrinated, and the mindset was so pervasive and permeated everything that I didn’t recognize any difference. How about THAT for Kulture? Having just received the latest Alumni magazine, I’m really quite sure that I’m no longer interested in anything that goes on in their self-contained, politically-correct little sub-universe. I just totally don’t care anymore.
Post Edited with respect for the deceased.