Point Remove the M from the Central Campus Diag
by The Gargoyle
Counterpoint Who the Fuck is this School Naming its Buildings After?
by The Every Three Weekly
For decades, Michigan has been haunted by a ghastly presence that has affected the life of every student, staff member, and overfed squirrel to ever set foot (or paw) on campus. The few students brave or foolish enough to speak about it do so in hushed whispers, fearing that even the mere utterance of its name may bring about terrible consequences. This is, of course, completely unfounded, but is to be expected from a generation of Harry Potter nerds. Out of respect for the many students who refer to this terror as “It-That-Must-Not-Be-Named,” I’m hesitant to address it by its proper distinction, but the editors of CONSIDER: magazine have assured me that this is a space for free speech, and I need not censor even the most heinous of curse words, so I’ll just come right out and say it. I refer to the unholy terror incarnate that we must face nearly every day of our unfortunate lives: the block “M” on the Diag.
The origin of this cursed artifact dates back to Ancient Ann Arborian civilization, circa 1922 AD. The original “M” persevered until 1952, when it was removed, supposedly to remedy structural damage to the concrete done by time but actually to remedy structural damage to students’ souls done by stepping on the M. After its destruction in the fires of Mount Doom, a year of peace, prosperity, and bountiful harvest followed. But like a cold, brass phoenix that is also a witch, it was rebuilt a mere year later at the request of the demon-possessed class of 1953. It remains to this very day, wreaking havoc upon every new class to enroll at Michigan.
For those of you blissfully ignorant of the evils perpetuated by the block M, allow me to rob you of your innocence. Every single Michigan student who has ever stepped on the M before taking his or her first blue book examination at the university has failed the aforementioned examination. For those of you desiring so-called “statistical proof” of this curse: In a recent survey of people currently sitting in my dorm room, a full 100% reported having failed my first blue book after stepping on the M. Until recently, those afflicted by the M’s curse could free themselves from its influence through a satanic ritual which involved running naked from the bell tower to the Natural Science Museum and back at midnight before the bell stopped ringing. Regrettably, thanks to a Zionist conspiracy, the bell tower no longer rings at midnight, and now those hexed by the M are eternally damned without hope of salvation.
Of course, the M’s wicked powers are not limited to this. Every year, on a pagan holiday known as the Unhallowed Ceremony of Ceaseless Misfortune (commonly referred to by nonbelievers as the MSU game), the M emits a frequency heard only by those vile creatures known as State fans (and, for some reason, pigeons). They descend upon our campus in enraged swarms, hell-bent on destroying the M - a feat we would happily allow them to accomplish if the M did not simultaneously reach its dark tendrils into the minds of vulnerable Michigan football fans and force them against their will to defend it. Like moths to the slaughterhouse or cattle to the flame, these opposing armies are drawn to battle each other, year after year, in the name of a fearsome entity whose power neither can escape. The annual death toll exceeds that of any other University-related phenomenon, far surpassing those of fraternity hazing rituals and even post-Organic Chemistry exam mass suicides.
Naturally, the M’s power waxes and wanes with the cycle of the moon - much like witches, werewolves, and Women’s Studies majors. Students fortunate enough to encounter it at the trough of its biorhythmic cycle have reported that the experience did not cause their future exam grades to slip, but that their confrontation resulted in slipping of another kind: the literal kind. Which is, like, also pretty shitty. Have you ever fallen on concrete? It hurts. Anything that makes that many students go down must either be a cursed artifact or a GSI who offers lots of “extra credit.”
If you require further proof of the M’s foul nature, consider this carefully cherry-picked selection of words that begin with the letter M: Malicious. Molestation. Malefactor. Masochism. Malignant. Motherfucker. Moist. Clearly, we cannot allow this filthy letter to pervade and pervert our lives any longer. We must remove the block M from the Diag, posthaste. Current students must follow the example set by those brave souls that sacrificed their lives to free us from its corruption in 1952. If my completely hypothetical theories are correct, we should be able to permanently obliterate it by sacrificing forty-two virgins to it on the anniversary of its construction. Brave women of Martha Cook, we will never forget your sacrifice.
While I do acknowledge my opponent’s argument and would most certainly crush him with the utmost ease, I will ignore his point and discuss a completely unrelated issue. With the recent opening of the new and improved Bert’s Café, students will be able to neglect their work in the UGLI with stunning ease. Not that students were really working in the library before, but now there’s really no reason to do so at all. This recent development has raised some very interesting questions about our school, though. There are deeper issues at hand than whether or not students are learning and doing their work. There is some sinister plot afoot that has begun to consume the entirety of this University. It is with great courage and foresight that I present these issues to you. Someone needs to be asking the tough questions these days, and it might as well be me. So anyway, who the fuck is Bert?
On the surface it appears that Bert is a jolly, jovial older man who wished to give back to the University that he so dearly loves. But only a truly blind fool would believe such a public relations cock-up. The truth is, this school really doesn’t know whom the fuck Bert is, nor does it care. President Coleman accepted his money without reservation or condition. More likely than not, Bert tricked the University into signing a contract that would put his new café under Sharia law. Do we really want our library cafés named after radical Muslim extremist centenarians? He could be one, for all we know. The mere fact that Bert has been alive for 100 years should also give us pause. What kind of deals has this man made with the devil in order to ensure his continued survival? Could it possibly be that he exercised, didn’t smoke and was a little lucky? Of course not, don’t believe any of that New Age health bullshit. Bert was probably a terrorist in his youth. He may have even killed Franz Ferdinand and started WWI. He’s that old; we just don’t know.
More troubling than Bert’s true identity, though, is the general lack of concern for the names of our university’s buildings. A disturbing trend has emerged recently, one in which the administration shows little to no interest in vetting our named honorees. Consider the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library on North Campus. Could someone please explain to me why there is an entire building dedicated to the study of Gerald R. Ford? The message this sends to me is that all I have to do to get a building named after me is not be elected to the vice-presidency or the presidency. Done. Where’s my building? It may be time to re-evaluate our criteria for political success.
The string of questionably named buildings and monuments stretches far beyond Bert and Ford. A unanimous vote of the Board of Regents approved the new North Campus Ted Kaczynski Chemical Laboratory Annex, much to the chagrin of Unabomber fans everywhere who had hoped for a centrally located building. More recently, ground was broken on the new Richard Rodriguez Practice Facility and Compliance Office. With every new announcement I am losing faith in this University’s ability to choose effectively people to name buildings after. Where are the Angells these days? Where are the Tisches, and where are the LS&As? These are long established and respected families that we can be proud of naming our buildings after. These families have given their lives and fortunes to this school, only to see the University spurn them in favor of the Keanu Reeves Center for Method Acting.
In her most questionable decision to date, President Coleman recently announced a new student lottery to determine what the next building will be called. All students are eligible to enter, but the name of only one will be drawn at random and a building will be dedicated in his or her honor. President Coleman may believe that this is a great way of engaging the student body, but we’ll see how it looks once you have psych discussion in Steve Hall. What’s more, President Coleman is even renaming buildings after homeless people. The Institute for Social Research was recently rebranded as the “How About a Lot of Change?” Institute for Social Research.
We’re on a slippery slope right now in terms of honoring those honorable few deserving to be honored. Once we go down this path toward total building name equality and strike down the hierarchy of those who deserve to give their name to a building we can never go back. In the near future buildings may no longer even be named after people who donated a shitload of money. A scary time to envision, I know, but think about it for a moment. If large-scale donors no longer have buildings named after them, the University may start naming buildings after those they believe deserve recognition on their own merits. My God, how I tremble for our future.
About the Issue
Point author: The Gargoyle was founded in 1909 by University of Michigan students Lee A. White and Abraham Van Helsing with the vision of bringing joy and laughter to the Michigan campus and eradicating Ann Arbor’s substantial vampire population. The organization has yet to succeed at either of these tasks. Its office in the Student Publications Building is home to many treasures, including two WWII bombshells, a shopping cart, and all that shit Ariel was whining about in “The Little Mermaid.”
Counterpoint author: The Every Three Weekly is the official humor publication of the University of Michigan and has been recognized by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, among others, as the finest newspaper in the world.
Edited by: Aaron Bekemeyer and Lexie Tourek
Cover by: Rose Jaffe and Benjamin English