The Absence of Rational Minds
Harvard's AFARM Wages Guerrilla Warfare Against Conservative Values
In his generally inane comments on political affairs at Harvard, Joshua L. Oppenheimer '96, co-founder of the Association for the Absence of Rabid Moralism (AFARM), made one correct observation when he compared ideological struggle at Harvard to warfare.
While the dorm rooms of Peninsula Council members have yet to be overrun by angry liberal forces, the battle analogy is apt.
And in this protracted conflict, both sides make their best efforts to stay out of the opposite group's line of fire. Conservatives and liberals, as they write in campus journals and speak out at public events, try to make themselves as invulnerable to attack as possible. In short, they try not to look stupid.
But whit the creation of AFARM, Harvard liberals have traded in jungle camouflage for shocking pink jumpsuits. They have jumped right out of the over of jungle foliage--and right into the sights of my gun.
So can you blame me for declaring open hunting season on them? (A note to my liberal friends: please do not interpret this usage of the language of warfare as a physical attack on liberals, call me Himmler or Goering, etc. This is all rhetorical.)
This editorial is a brief meditation on the stupidity of AFARM.
To start with, whether AFARM should even exist is dubious. It responds to the legitimate concerns of AALARM, the Association Against Learning in the Absence of Religion and Morality, not with open and smart discussion but with lame posters and infantile humor.
Here are some choice slogans: "Old MacDonald has AFARM" and "There is no cause for AALARM."
Ha ha. I am on the floor writhing in fits of uncontrollable laughter.
Some of the strongest arguments against AFARM can be found in a series of quotations by Oppenheimer himself.
When asked about his position in AFARM, Oppenheimer said: "I don't remember what I am. I think that is my position."
When asked about whether they engage in debate--the very model of rational and intelligent discourse: "I don't think we do debates."
In their continuing (and futile) effort to be irreverent and vaguely humorous, the members of AFARM took the names of their "leadership" positions from the Marquis de Sade's novel 120 Years of Sodom. (How trendy, how sophisticated, how culturally elite!)
This poor attempt at whimsy is not only not funny, but highly offensive. To borrow these terms from the Marquis de Sade is to ignore his extensive legacy of physical and sexual abuse against numerous innocent women.
It also means ignoring the Marquis's deviant sexual practices and immoral conduct, but I won't mention that because Harvard students couldn't care less.
Then there is the matter of the group's funding. As The Crimson reported last year, AFARM has received roughly $500 in grants from the Office of the Arts and $300 from the Undergraduate Council.
I have several questions: Should a group whose idea of "art" is a really bad play script about gay rights receive money from the Office of the Arts?
Should a highly politicized group like AFARM be supported by the Undergraduate Council, which claims to represent all Harvard students? And should an organization that is basically one big joke by Harvard gays receive Council funding when other student organizations engaged in worthwhile pursuits and public service get little or no funding?
As Oppenheimer explained, his group is "waging general guerrilla warfare against AALARM in about as...plucky a way as you can when confronting Nazism."
His word choice reminds me of the last time I heard the word "pluck." It was in that cinematic classic "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," when a nurse visits the Bueller household to cheer up the allegedly sick Ferris.
"I'm here to restore you pluck, 'cause I'm the nurse who likes to..."
Along these lines, the new motto of AFARM should be:
"We fight morality with lots of pluck, 'cause we're some students who like to..."