I ADMIT IT, I'm one of those students who don't particularly keep up with what the Undergraduate Council is doing every Sunday night. I probably couldn't name two of my House representatives.
But like a lot of people, I love a good campaign. For one thing, It's often the last time you realize that you actually elect politicians into officer. For another, It's good, wholesome, guiltless fun. And a lot of Council candidates run truly entertaining campaigns, Curious to discover the nature of political propaganda, Harvard-style, I made a survey the other night. Here are some totally subjective awards:
*The St. Thomas Aquinas Just War Award: to a Mather House candidate who bemoans the concrete jungle's crowding and strict no-alcohol policies, and says on his poster, "Let's face it. Mather House gets no respect... The self-respect of our House and ourselves is worth fighting for. I place myself in the service of that struggle and ask for your support."
*The Ernest Hemingway Simple Declarative Sentence Awards: to a Leverett candidate whose plain white paper poster reads: "Government exists to serve the people. The council exists to serve Harvard undergraduates. I would like the opportunity to be of service to you."
*The Putting Your Best Faces Forward Award: to a Lowell House incumbent whose poster consists of her name and three snapshots of the candidate grinning wildly in a Harvard sweatshirt, a Lowell t-shirt, and a Radcliffe sweatshirt, respectively. I was thinking of giving her to Holy Trinity Award for Best Triple Personality, but I decided to leave the God-bashing to G.B. Trudeau.
*The Spartacus Youth League Non-Negotiable Demands Award: to a Quad House candidate. His poster says, in four lines of boldface type, "Make Harvard hear you. Equality for the Quad. Total Divestiture from South Africa. End to sex discrimination on campus."
*The Statement Which Proves Itself True Award: to a Lowell House candidate whose position paper includes this masterful turn of phrase: "Although I am not a silver-tongued politician, I am willing to do whatever has to be done to get the job done."
*The Ronald W. Reagan awards--first place, for pushing Mom, Apple Pie and Flag in a Harvard Context, to a Currier House hopeful who is running on the motto. "For Skill, For Experience, For Currier." Second place, for pushing Our Boys In Uniform in a Harvard Context, to the Leverett House candidate whose face fills in for Uncle Sam in a remake of the famous World War II "I Want You" recruiting poster. This candidate also snags the Richard M. Nixon Zealous Reelection Campaign Effort Award. His poster, according to a note on the bottom, is "paid for by the Leverett House Committee to Re-elect."
*The High School Hey Let's Have a Party Award: to a laid-back Lowellian who argues on his campaign leaflet that "the Council should be a normal student club that's fun to be a part of and whose major priority is doing good for the University. It's in this spirit that I hope to become a member."
IN THE SPECIAL Oh You 'Shmen Division, for truly amazing political posters representing the follies of youth, we also a have a Statement Which Proves Itself True Award, to one of the 12 Canaday/Union Dorms candidate who writes. "What is a position paper? Well, to be frank, I have absolutely no idea."
*The Theodore Cleaver That's Exactly What We Were Afraid Of Award: to a West Yard aspirant who splashed across her missive in big letters, "I can work with the bureaucrats. I've been one."
*The Best Variation on Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" Idea Award: to a suspicious Canaday Candidate who writes, "I've heard nasty rumors that Canaday residents get dumped into Mather. If this is so, I say we dump the House lottery." Runner up was harder to choose, because it seems as though each member of the Class of '88 is convinced that the computer which allegedly assigns him housing it secretly rigged to ship him off to the Walker St. vicinity. But the second place award in this category has to go to the Weld/Wigglesworth/Grays candidate who so eloquently expressed lotterophobia in a huge red scrawl: "HOUSING LOTTERY SUCKS."
#The Real Men Don't Eat Quiche Virility Award: to another Weld/Wigglesworth Grays hardass who says. "We don't need a wimp who will sit back as our interests are being shelved. I will make sure our points get across."
OF COURSE, I don't expect to see all the award-winning candidates on the council floor this fall. The undergraduate electorate sometimes fails to recoganize true political genius (as did my conservative cohorts in Lowell. House last year when they soundly voted down a friend who ran on a the most brilliant of any Council platform yet conceived: "Vote for me or I'll throw away your grandparents." Incidentally, the brutal defeat forced him to run a single-issue campaign this year focusing on the unpleasant vagaries of the Core Curriculum.) But at least some of that genius is bound to slip through, and the results could breed a whole new respect for political sophistication.