Sunday, January 07, 2007

Tempest in a bong

My last post reminded me of an incident that happened when i was in my first year of college. I was at Western Washington State College, now Western Washington University. It was 1975 – ‘76

The dorm i lived in was 5 or 6 floors high, with walls of windows on both sides. Each room holds 2 people, many of whom had never met before becoming roommates. That was the case with my roommate and i.

One of the on-campus Christian groups started handing out posters with large crosses so that people could put these in the window of their dorm room facing outward.

Within a few weeks the dorm looked like a monastery from the outside, with all the crosses in the windows.

The some smart ass (it was NOT me), decided to make similar posters, except with marijuana leaves on them.

This (surprise!) offended the Christians, who felt that they were being mocked. As indeed was the case. (Sensitivity is not the strong point of the 17 and 18 year old.)

Then the beer drinkers got in on the act and escalated the situation further. Posters depicting a beer mug began showing up in windows. Some rooms would have a cross in one corner and a marijuana leaf in the opposite corner. The dorms now looked like some kind of crazy patchwork quilt of sin and redemption.


Editorials on both sides appeared in the college newsletter. Feelings were hurt, insults were hurled, people from all sides were in high dudgeon. It was really very funny.

Eventually a new rule was adopted that forbade posters of any size or content from being displayed in dorm windows.


I so wish i had taken a picture at the height of the poster wars.

28 comments:

alphawoman said...

Oh the 1970's on college campuses! I recall we hung the centerfold from the Playgirl issue in the glass side window of the 2nd floor! I think it was either Bert Reynolds or Joe Namath! That would have been one great picture to have of the mosaic of your dorm windows!

Thailand Gal said...

Do you recall the poster with all the Disney characters engaging in an orgy? That is one that graced the walls of my first apartment, the one that was *all mine*. That must have been the early 70s.

We also thought it was cool to prowl the streets of Los Angeles at night, searching for wooden cable spools. We'd swipe them and use them for coffee tables.

Quite cool actually :)


Peace,

~Chani

mrschili said...

That would have been a GREAT photo, Meno! It serves the Christians right, though for starting that - they had to KNOW that SOMEONE would mount a challenge...

Sanjay said...

LOL loved this and your last post. :)

jen said...

i wish you did too.

the green folks sounded hilarious.

Marsha said...

I am having a great time reading your stroll through the dead meno scrolls and further down memory lane.

amusing said...

Oh, last week we had vituperative bitch (was that you or Ms. Dancehall) and now I've been tickled by "high dudgeon" -- oh I love it when blogs remind me of dandy diction!

Ortizzle said...

Nothing on my dorm windows, although quite a bit got thrown out of them during Frosh Orientation week when the Frat Rats came around for the customary "panty raids." ;-))
(I went to U. of Texas; maybe that's a southern thing.)

Lucia said...

I love the title of this post! Tee hee. So much energy wasted over silly poster wars...

meno said...

alphawoman, i remember those centerfolds, at least the one of Burt. He's gone a bit downhill since then, as have we all.

chani, oh that's wonderful! i had a mug with Disney characters engaging in acts of oral outrage. Most of our furniture was orange crates stolen from the backs of grocery stores.

mrs.chili, too bad this was WAY before digital cameras were in every phone. We'll just have to imagine it. If i remember correctly, the Christians were shocked and outraged. But you are right, they should have realized that they had started something that would get a response.

sanjay, thanks!

jen, it was very very funny. And the more we smoked, the funnier it got.

marsha, thanks!

amusing, i started the VB and nancy knew one too, so she took up the call.

ortizzle, i would never have survived a panty raid. Boys were still icky to me then. I think i was the only 17 year old virgin at the school. Of course that's not true, but it felt like it.

Holly Capote said...

Karl Marx would have had fun at your school. He would have amended "Religion is the opium of the masses" to "Religion and pot are the opium of the masses."

urban-urchin said...

I can't remember what posters if any were up in my dorm room my first year of school. I do remember my scary roommate and pepto pink carpet... Other than that, the year is all a bit hazy.

patches said...

Hysterical! Must dyslexia always plague the dumbass who throws down the gauntlet? The first word is hardly the last.

Ortizzle said...

Meno: Oh, the panty raid was just us chucking panties out the window (not mine, I was just a voyeur); it sure as heck wasn't the guys comin' upstairs to fetch 'em, lemme tell ya. Not in the dorm I stayed in, ha, ha!

Mignon said...

All that and I came away with a nasty feeling for academic administration. Banning posters! Sheesh.

(I went to all kinds of teen conferences at Western, but I have zero recollection of where we slept...)

QT said...

Yep, someone has to complain and ruin it for everyone. That much hasn't changed.

One of my best friends from high school went to Western, and I visited her quite a bit. I believe I know the buildings of which you speak.

Antonia said...

Two guys in the year above me at university took the department photo of our weirdest professor, and then with incredible patience and determination, blew it up until it was twelve feet squared, printed on a jigsaw of A4 sheets of subsidised paper. Then they put it in a prominent place on campus, where he leered his wonky smile for all to see from miles around. I, too, wish I had a photo.

Bob said...

We didn't have posters in the windows, just on the walls. We had the usual rash of rock bands and barely dressed women, with the occasional traffic sign thrown in the mix.

Maggie said...

"patchwork quilt of sin and redemption" - cool image. Makes me wish I had gone to university. I think when I return to finish my education, I probably won't be doing this sort of thing, *sigh*.

meno said...

lucia, I think many people just like to fight, and look for opportunities to do so.

holly, why not "opium is the opium of the masses." Besides, what about good old beer?

u-u, pink carpet? That is scary. And that year is a bit hazy for me too. :)

patches, I'll have to think about that one.

ortizzle, well, that's a relief! I had a different image in my head.

mignon, i guess they didn't know what else to do. But it was rather silly. What kind of teen conferences?

qt, the dorm i lived in was called Nash. I can't remember the name of the one next door.

antonia, That's wonderful! How long was it allowed to stay there?

bob, Supertramp, Al Stewart and Heart. Those were our wall coverings.

maggie, yes, i don't think you'll be staying in the dorms. It was quite the education in itself.

Bobealia... said...

Your comments are getting so numerous that I've gotten lazy about reading them. I think that yellow smiley face smoking a doob would have been funnier. God... smiley face... God.

Jeremiah said...

Dorm room windows are a very important means of communication! We used ours to display everything from the Beer of the Week, to posting a secret message to our roommates (a hanger, of all things), letting them know that one of us was currently "busy" with a "guest" and so, don't come knocking...

Bob said...

pink floyd, dark side of the moon; styx, grand illusion; meatloaf, bat out of hell. (I've seen all three of these groups in concert.)

I have albums by supertramp, (breakfast in america); al stewart (year of the cat); and heart (several - I saw them in concert at the Fox in Atlanta).

good stuff, maynard.

Mother of Invention said...

And me with my pictures and posters of Sesame Street, sunsets, and kittens hanging on a hole that said, "Hang in There Baby!
Of course, I did live in a residence called, "Maids Hall" which was aptly dubbed, "Old Maids Hall"!!

Tink said...

That would have been so cool to have a picture of! Where's that damn time machine when we need it?

Lisa said...

If the marijuana and beer posters had gone up at Baylor, some people would have been in biiiiiiig trouble! LOLOL

D_Man said...

I would have turned the cross upside down.

Then knocked on the door of those with ganja pictures on their windows...

meno said...

bo, that was right after the smiley face hit the big times. I had a plastic necklace of smiley face beads that i actually wore. I'm mortified.

jeremiah, we were still able to put stuff on the walls and doors. I thought a tie on the doorknob was the busy sign.

bob, pink floyd, oh yes.

MOI, hmmm, there were some wholesome girls in the all girls dorm nect door, but we didn't associate with them. Or rather, they didn't associate with us.

tink, i know! get right on inventing that would you?

lisa, it was pretty out there, even for the 70s.

d-man, we did a lot of that knocking on the doors too. "Hi man, got any weed?"