Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Last week, students noticed Jack Forder ’16, according to those who shunned him, “to be exhibiting behavior symptomatic of anti-intellectualism.” After being forcibly checked-into Worth health center, Forder was officially diagnosed with early-stage anti-intellectualism, and put under heavy quarantine.
Said a Worth representative: “Although Jack’s illness isn’t fully developed, thank God, he is still extremely contagious and must be terminated, I mean quarantined.”
Said Forder on the phone with us, “My symptoms were misinterpreted! I was merely expressing a scorn of elitism, which I thought would be shared by my friends, when I was restrained, strapped to a cot, and wheeled into the darkest corner of Worth. My crime? Apparent dangerous and contagious anti-intellectualism. But that’s not true! I love thinking. Sure, at times, I may be disdainful of snobbery, but that doesn’t mean I have anti-intellectualism.”
When pressed, a few of Forder’s classmates and friends passed off his comments as a further example of his virulent anti-intellectualism. Said one student, who wishes to remain anonymous: “We’re living in a country where people would rather go see a movie with their family than read a book alone in their room about religious uncertainty in the fifteenth century. We’re living in a country where people would rather complain aloud to each other than just sign petitions dealing with their complaints. How is that justified! Where’s the rationality? This is an epidemic of national proportions! And Swarthmore is the last bubble of health! We must keep it that way!”
One maverick doctor called in from his home in Arizona to report that both “anti-intellectualism” and “intellectualism” are not at all conditions in themselves, but symptoms of “something much more dangerous.” At this point the doctor laughed maniacally and said in a shrill near-whisper, “We are all suffering from life: a soul-crushing illness that is always terminal.”
Following their comments, the healthy students went down to Olde Club and, in their words, “de-stressed,” while Forder, strapped down to his cot with no light but a turned-off table lamp too far to reach, closed his eyes and started composing a poem.
Submitted by the Swarthmore Scallion