Holy Week and the Perils of Irony
An old college buddy dug this up from his basement, scanned it and sent it along. It originally ran in the Observer, Notre Dame's student newspaper, on May 11, 1970.
This was during the Student Strike, when schools around the nation shut down in protest of the invasion of Cambodia. The Kent State shootings had been May 4, and Notre Dame (or at least my department -- there were a lot of meetings that week!) had taken the position of allowing students to take their grade at the time of the strike, take an incomplete or finish the semester.
There were a lot of speeches being made and I was once again in the uncomfortable position of opposing the war, opposing the incursion which a lot of people felt brought with it the risk of Chinese intervention and of having high school friends serving in Southeast Asia. For me, the answers were not as black-and-white as they were for students whose high school buddies were also attending universities where correct answers were either one thing or the other.
So I wrote this piece, with the headline signaling my approval of John Lennon's approach of "you better free your mind instead." I don't know how my fellow students took it, but my department head told me he was at some parish council meeting when someone came in waving it and shouting about what they were teaching kids at that college of his.
We both laughed, but it was an early lesson in how irony is often lost on readers and you're better off just stating what you think without trying to make them think in turn.
However, it being Easter and relevant to the Scripture being parodied, I post it here for those of my readers who enjoy thinking. A higher percentage, I think, than I had back then or in any of my paying venues since.
(Click for a readable version. Please remember that, in them thar days, your hard copy was typed into the system by someone whose spelling skills might not be as good as your own.)