I feel that the flared-jean Frannies deserve a break from my flaming pen this week, so I’ve undertaken to create a comprehensive portrait of a more comedically neglected subsection of the Franciscan student body: the Intellectual Crowd.
It perplexes me, this campus’s general unwillingness to utterly charbroil the tweed jackets off these Belloc-wannabes, for there is such rich kindling potential in their foppishness (which is an incredible irony, considering their common disdain for FOPs).
At the risk of revealing too much about my identity, I’d like to mention that I spend the majority of my time hanging around a group of repulsively pretentious, consistently overdressed humanities majors whose conversation fluctuates between some vague notion of “building authentic community” and systematically refuting each argument in “The Wealth of Nations” as if it were their duty to guard the common man against being overtaken by Adam Smith’s flowery adjectives.
These people are insufferable — and I mean it. Very often I find myself sitting in one of their derelict Steubenville mansions on a Sunday afternoon searching vainly for just One Novel on their stuffed floor-to-ceiling bookcases, desperately trying to avoid the gaze of any man who might challenge me to a “casual game of chess.”
I’ve learned my lesson: the casual game does not exist. It will inevitably end in my hurling one or more pawns at their smug faces. I would throw something with sharper edges (a knight, perhaps), but they will have taken everything I had. No amount of watching “The Queen’s Gambit” could have prepared me for this moment.
Why do I subject myself to this torment? Perhaps it’s a part of my constant personal mission to convince myself that I’m a character in a twentieth-century English novel.
It isn’t my fault that “Brideshead Revisited” made me view the university as a sacred and aesthetically particular place.
To compensate, I dot the i’s and cross the t’s of this article with a dark, inky pen while the stench of the Ohio drifts through my vents. I drink tea and stare pensively out the window overlooking a campus that can reasonably be called the architectural equivalent of your grandmother’s 50-year-old shag carpet.
My point is, I require such a group of erudite young philosophers to surround me at all times in order that I might forget that I’m downriver from a Chernobyl sequel just waiting to happen.
Am I one of them? Is my closet full of rich, dark fabrics a sign that I have become the very monster that I feared? Perhaps.
But I maintain that I will never, ever willingly purchase a rosewood pipe. I may secretly harbor an affection for the distributist system, I may curse the Modern State underneath my breath, I may even speak about Dickens as if he were a contemporary, but at least I only attend office hours to beg for mercy and not because my professor is my best friend.
And someday when I speak only in Gerard Manley Hopkins quotes, on this shred of dignity I will brood “with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.”