A Non-Homologous Pair of Tales
Issue #4, February 1993
My brother-in-law worked for EDS, Ross Perot's company, in the mid-80s. He had a boss who decided he liked him, and invited him to go hunting. Although my brother-in-law wasn't much of a hunting man, he decided he'd better go. The boss took him to a shooting range in suburban Michigan where they put live turkeys in cold storage for a couple of hours to stun them, and then set the turkeys down at the end of a firing range for their customers to shoot at. The more the turkeys warm up the harder they are to hit.
The week before the strike for multicultural education here at UC Berkeley a few years ago, a woman student was given permission by her English professor to address the student's 200-or-so person lecture class on the goals of the strike, asking her classmates for their support. She did so, briefly, quite effectively, though with palpable nervousness. The professor then got up and told the class that the category of "ethnicity" being used by the woman and her colleagues was not, when you thought about it, fundamentally distinguishable from "race"; that emphasizing racial difference had much in common with, and was the basis of, fascist thought; and that it was a funny coincidence that his lecture that day was to be on T.S. Eliot, whom many reviled based on just such associations with fascism. The professor concluded by remarking that the class would no doubt respect the strike, more because they wanted the long weekend than because they cared about the principles at issue. He then gave his lecture on Eliot.
Alyson Bardsley is a graduate student in English at UC Berkeley.