Our Declaration of Principles*


Declaration of Principles.  http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?object_id=89509

Declaration of Principles. http://www.moma.org/

1.  We will provide the people of this college with a website daily that will tell all the news honestly.

2.  We will also provide them with a fighting and tireless champion of their rights as citizens and as human beings.


Fearless and Loathing.com

*Special thanks to Orson Welles

Oberlin Memories: June Swartwout ’48

By June Swartwout

My years at Oberlin were from 1944 to 1948.  The most important influence at first was World War II, still in progress.  The Navy V-12 Unit was on campus, while many male students were drafted, interrupting their education.

I was a Conservatory student, and for the first three years we had no choir because of the lack of male singers.  This was a huge disappointment for a Voice Major.

The three main differences I remember between then and now are clothing, food service, and dorm rules.  Now, anything goes in clothing.  Then, women wore mostly sweaters, skirts, and saddle shoes.  If we wore shorts outside, we were required to wear a coat over them!  Jeans were never worn.  We ate in the women’s dorms, joined by the men.  We sat at tables set with tablecloths and napkins, were served by students doing their board jobs, and even had grace said before meals.  The food was cooked in each separate dorm kitchen, and generally it was excellent.  However, we had no choices.  We ate what was served including rationed meals once a week.  Now, the food service is casual, served cafeteria style, with many choices including vegetarian.  Which is better?  It’s hard to say.

Rules then were strict.  Girls had a curfew, and the reasoning was that if the girls had to be in the dorm at a certain time, that would also take care of the men, so they needed no curfew!  Men were not allowed upstairs to visit their girl friends except during planned open houses.  No alcohol was allowed, but smoking was permitted and was quite common.  Only married couples could have cars.  Even though grumbled about, the rules were mostly followed.

Academically, Oberlin was excellent then and continues to be so now.  The music was exceptional, and I received a fine education which led to my career as a voice teacher at the University level.  Now, the quality of music is even greater, far surpassing the 40s.

In my student days, we had none of the following: TVs, CDs, Stereo Components, VCRs, cell phones, digital cameras, calculators, computers, or iPods.  We had radios, typewriters, 78 speed record players, Brownie Kodak cameras, books, and shared phones down the hall.  Technology has developed so rapidly, I fear the students may be spending too much time with their ‘toys’ and may be losing out on personal contacts.  Do they ever just sit and talk after dinner?  Do they play bridge?  Do they really need to call their parents every day just because it’s convenient with cell phones?

The students I have met now are incredibly bright, eager to excel despite tough competition and still seem to be quite friendly.  I wish some of them would occasionally ‘dress up’ and comb their hair more often.  But as a group, the Obies continue to be unique, concerned, smart and creative as they were in my day as well.  I have no doubt they will be successful leaders in the future.

Breed, and Die: Analysis of a Visit from the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement



For all those who wish to one day be married and raise a family of little hippies and hipsters, well, you may need to adjust your core values as a human being.

Such was the message Tuesday night of lecturer Les Knight, “finder” (Knight does not like term, ‘founder,’ because he does not believe his ideas to be wholly unique) of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT). Knight’s presentation, “Thank You For Not Breeding,” was presented by Oberlin Animal Rights to a near capacity West Lecture Hall.

Knight, a public school teacher from Portland, OR, educated Oberlin community members on the movement he claims will solve the Earth’s environmental problems. And population problems.  And, you know, general living problems.

VHEMT promotes a voluntary cessation of human breeding due to the amount of species extinction and damage to the biosphere rendered by human evolution and expansion. According to Knight, “Biodiversity is lost wherever we move in,” a development that seems entirely unnatural to VHEMT.

Without giving any exact numbers, Knight proposed that if the human race was to load on to one side of a scale, and all the species that became extinct because of us were to climb into the other side, the extinct species would overwhelmingly outweigh humanity. However, he failed to offer a way to a) determine which species have become extinct due to direct human influence, and b) raise those species from Extinct Species Heaven to get on the scale.

Knight insisted that since before Homo Sapiens was Homo Sapiens, his slovenly, ecology-hating ancestor Homo Erectus had been altering the Earth’s biosphere. This semi-evolved mongoloid performed this grotesquely malevolent act by slamming a couple of rocks one day and setting ablaze half of his jungle paradise. Since that fateful day, the Homo genus has procreated indiscriminately and utilized its cunning–and fire!– to develop new, more efficient ways to pillage the biosphere. As such, subsequent procreation becomes more dangerous for the Earth.

Beyond humanity’s environmental impact, Knight examined the detrimental effect of humans on themselves. Citing the 100,000 40,000 daily infant deaths around the world, he asserted that, at the very least, contraceptive practices are in need of fixing. Many of these deaths, Knight argued, were a result of poor education and the second-hand status of women in many countries around the world. Despite policy amendments by the United Nations in 1979 and 2000 to benefit women’s liberty, the world’s population continues to grow as husbands internationally forget to follow the UN’s new rules and keep swinging for sons.

Knight suggested that the world community needs to re-evaluate its core values to include non-humans in its realm of concern, so we must stop the breeding and allow a gradual, controlled extinction of humanity.

However, before we do, I insist we pass the torch of biological hegemony. To bears.

To learn more about Les Knight and his organization, visit www.vhemt.org. And don’t be discouraged by the Cold War-propaganda-esque insignia.

Oberlin Memories: Thelma Morris ’54


Music educator Art Becknell  ’51 died in the 1990’s, after a distinguished career at the University of Wisconsin. I remember him as the large, amiable, headwaiter at May Cottage when I was a freshman there.  May Cottage was a rambling brick dormitory, its two wings connected by a central dining room. It’s long gone, replaced by the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies.

Dinners at May, as in all the women’s dormitories, were, well, somewhat formal. The housemother, generally a widow with some pretension to serve “in loco parentis” was usually present.   Lou Di Lorenzo ’51 was our dining room Chaplain. Lou was an English major with dark, piercing eyes, one of the Senior Class Wags who had a way with words.  We stood behind our chairs while he centered our minds with pithy sayings:  “A kiss that speaks volumes is probably not a first edition,” is one I remember to this day. Then the housemother was formally seated, a signal that we could sit. The waiters, upperclassmen all, brought in bowls of steaming food on large silver trays balanced on their shoulders.

After lunch one day in mid December, Art Becknell took me aside, and explained that the waiters had  delegated him to ask me to take part in a holiday tradition sacred to dear old May Cottage.  Could I, as the smallest, lightest resident frosh, be counted on to keep a confidence?  And would I help out?   My self-esteem soared. I was thrilled. I liked Tradition. I could do it.

Came time for the festive Saturday night dinner before Oberlin’s Christmas holiday break.    Lou Di Lorenzo undoubtedly uttered a pithier-than-usual aphorism, then the housemother was seated and the  students followed suit.

The doors to the kitchen were flung open,  and through the darkened, expectant dining room paraded the waiters, in white serving jackets and ties, empty handed.  In the rear came Art Becknell, his two sturdy arms supporting a large silver tray on his shoulder, carrying the Christmas Roast Pig through the length of the room, and back out to the kitchen.

That was me, in pink slacks and rosy sweater, doubled over on arms and knees which were folded up into my scrawny chest, my hands protruding below scrunched shoulders, porcine-like.

In my mouth I bit firmly into a shiny red Delicious.

Welcome to Broberlin

There are certain things that I like that are not so hot among many Oberlin students. Jack Johnson, for one. I can’t explain why, but the man’s voice melts away my worries and just makes me want to rip off my shirt, grab a Corona and kick it in a lawnchair in the front yard. Taylor Swift has a similar effect, except that she makes me want to be a lovelorn 15 year old girl. Can’t have everything, I guess.

Growing up I played three sports a year because a) I had to, and b) I kicked ass. At age 5 my soccer team gave me a standing ovation when I showed up a little late to a game because these kids–myself included–poured their hearts and souls into the game of soccer. It didn’t matter that the team was coed, or that the league didn’t keep score, or that we weren’t actually playing on nets yet. It was the same case for every other sport, too. Sports were law and children abided. Parents didn’t dare keep their children out of a sport for any season for fear that Ken Murphy, the town sports fascist, might start asking questions at the next PTO meeting. Next thing you know half the town’s wondering if you’re in dire financial straits or, heaven forbid, you spawned a homosexual! These things are unacceptable in Hingham, Massachusetts–aka MILF City, aka Brotopia.

It did become acceptable to drop your kid out of ONE sports season if, once puberty hit, he or she developed a reputable talent. This is because parents in Hingham begin discussing college about the time the first zit pops up on their child’s face. And these people know how to get into college. So most parents will begin pushing their children to learn different skills, like drawing or music or exploitation of the weak. A couple might send their son on a trip to Spain to make room for a foreign exchange student (because everybody wants a foreigner that they can show off to their friends) and, when they switch back, the little tyke might bring back a very welcome passion for Spanish guitar. Well, the trip paid off and the kid goes Ivy and then, before you know it, he’s paying for his folks’ retirement in Fort Lauderdale.

Parents recognized when they’d lost the battle with a sport, so all the little ones with chronic asthma were taken off the ice and given a piano to pass the time with. But they did not get to take another season off. I was one of the majority stock that never learned a skill of repute. I can’t play an instrument, I can’t sing, I can’t act, I can’t draw. So I played sports. And through sports I grew to appreciate the adrenaline rush from chasing frantically after a guy kicking a ball, and learned that the greatest compliment one can ever receive is a firm slap on the ass after a solid RBI single.

So it came to pass that I bought into the sports culture and started rocking loose-tongued Timbalands with sweatpants and a pseudo-flannel for the rest of my adolescent life. With the style came the tastes and I found myself chasing the sweet, narcissistic girls who would flirt your face off all night when they were drunk but then never mention it again. I am very easily negatively impressed, so when girls started breaking my heart I started ridiculing them, and my bros and I passed four years of lunches complaining about women’s suffrage and ordering our various female acquaintances to make us sandwiches. (Note: I don’t really have a problem with women voting.)

There’s a very brief summation of my life up to this point. Today, my appreciation of Jack Johnson’s music is complemented by an ardent desire to take the sleeves off all my t-shirts, and wear my flat-brimmed Red Sox hat tilted up just like my boy Sam Adams. These things had been staples in my life until I arrived at Oberlin. It seems, however, that the things I like are decidedly “not cool” here. Which makes no sense because to everyone living outside the zip code of 44074 (approximately 6,692,022,277 people) that’s all hot shit! I love you people, but you make me look crazy sometimes.

So now that you know a little about me, I’d like to invite you into the world of Broberlin, where everything that I once considered “normal” is suddenly offbeat, weird, even. Episode 1 of the Brofiles: Nick and the Sauna Veteran will be here shortly.

Nick and the Sauna Veteran Part 1

So this one time I was leaving the gym after a crushing defeat on the intramural basketball court. I fucking hate losing. I don’t care what anybody says, it’s not about fun. It’s about fucking winning. Because when you lose a game of chess or croquet or whatever it is you play there is just no way you can ever be close to that person that beat you again. He’s got it in his head that he’s better than you, and he can whip that out at anytime. You might be playing a game of FIFA later and he’ll snidely remind you of that little failure at the squash court and it brings your game down so hard.

He might play the pseudo-nobility card and pretend to be all gracious that you were such good competition. That jerk will be all, “that was really a great match, friend, but you just couldn’t quite beat me.” And he’ll say it with a British accent because it just sounds a bit more snobby. Really, listen some time to somebody who’s trying to be nice about beating you, he’s always going to have a distinct “mmmyyyyesss” quality to his voice at that particular time. I don’t like winners, and I hate being a loser. It’s a difficult paradox.

You may safely infer that I don’t lose well. You could say I slip into my grumpy pants after a loss. So I left the court alone and scowling, and went to the locker room for my post-game pee. Usually there isn’t anybody in the locker room late on a Tuesday, or really at any other time, either, but on this evening I walked past a grizzly looking middle aged man pulling up his swim trunks. Yes, I saw this man’s penis, and yes, that would make things a little weird later. When I left the stall, the man was gone but I had an overwhelming urge to swim, so I put my shoes and my shirt and my phone and my wallet and my pod in a locker and rolled on out to the pool.

I pumped out a few laps and was resting my arms on the side of the pool so I could subtlety assess arm flaccidity when the guy from the locker room walked into the pool area covered in sweat and rubbing his clearly flexing pecs. I had no idea where he had been but this guy was on top of the fucking world. His shoulders were thrown back and he was strutting along teeth flashing and just rubbing the fuck out of his chest. Dude was feeling like the shit, not caring that he was looking a little like a masturbating Wookie. (I refuse to consider that Wookies have penises or vaginas, but they might have nipples so that has to be where they masturbate.)

He popped in the pool and swam a few laps and then left again. I was just about done so I followed shortly after and that’s when I realized what had put that guy in such a good mood. Why he was feeling so great despite being covered in sweat, a state of being generally considered kind of not so great. I stepped to the glass door and tugged it open to see the sweaty man perched on the high bench of the sauna, leaning back and smiling without a care in the world. He was in swim trunks, but I sort of was reminded of seeing him naked when I walked by and may or may not have taken an impulsive glance towards the danger zone. He noticed, and gave me a look of shame so profound that I no longer care about disappointing anyone, they just could never be as upset as that dude.