Galaxy Brains of Farm Lane

Last week, I was walking down Farm Lane, as tends to happen when you have a painful walk to far South Campus for a class. I was minding my own business, blasting my tunes, and generally feeling okay about the state of humanity.

And then I saw it.

A white, gleaming table with a large sign in front, containing some of the purest examples of Farm Lane Guys I’ve ever seen.

What is a Farm Lane Guy? A Farm Lane Guy is a guy who sets up a table, usually on Farm Lane, to push munted gifts or causes on unsuspecting, impressionable college students. Last year’s Farm Lane Guys included a church that handed out motel-quality coffee to people heading to their 8:30s and a guy who passed out copies of his erotic novel on the bridge by the library. As a new school year begins, so too do new Farm Lane Guys crowd campus’ busiest areas.

This year’s first Farm Lane Guys were maybe the strangest of all. They were from the LaRouche PAC, an offshoot of a bizarre political cult that has been around since the 1960s, founded by perennial presidential candidate and convicted fraudster Lyndon LaRouche.

I decided to go up and chat to their leader, an old guy wearing a big NASA hat who was the one holding their stack of fliers. Behind him was even more fliers, a sheet to get on their contact list, and larger booklets that said you needed to give a donation of $20 to access. In front was a sign containing many munted diagrams and beliefs. One thanked China and India for “going green” and putting more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. I wish I was making that up.

“What’s going on here?” I said, trying to act like I believed any of the weird shit written on the sign.

“Did you know we’re going to have a moon base by 2024?”, he said, in a tone that said he thought everyone knew it. “And that President Trump has authorized it already?”

I had apparently missed out on this valuable information. “No, but go on,” I said.

He handed me a flier and went into his spiel about going to the Moon. I quickly stopped paying attention as the jargon raced through my ears, though I caught something about plasma energy being important and something else about the international banking elite. My brain was threatening to explode as it absorbed this information. I looked down at my hand to realize I’d accepted two more fliers.

Finally, I had to cut him off. Gazing at the big books, I asked, “I know you just gave me these fliers, but I want the better stuff. Can I have one of those?”

He said, “Well, we’d like you to sign your name over there and donate twenty bucks,” pointing to the signup sheet. Though I protested, he wasn’t giving them up. I was forced to leave with less than I wanted.

The fliers detail the LaRouche ideology, which stems from a simple premise: Humans are running out of resources and will soon overpopulate the planet. That’s not a strange idea. But their solution to the glut of people is to head to the stars to find resources on other planets suitable for humans, colonizing the Solar System on the way. This leads to some…unique beliefs. Rarely does it feel that the term “galaxy brain” can be used literally, but here I think it is appropriate. These people like Trump because they think he’s going to help them colonize Mars and then exchange with aliens for magic plants or something similar. By this point, I was starting to lose my faith in humanity.

This leads to their most obviously strange belief: that climate change is good, actually. We’ve covered this munted belief before, but seeing it come from people who also want to break up the big banks is odd. Even odder is for them to say that climate change will actually make the Earth greener. The main flyer, “INTERNATIONAL CALL TO YOUTH – The Age of Reason Is in the Stars!”, is filled with invective against Greta Thunberg, Prince Charles, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and anyone who they notice caring about the state of the planet. Indeed, fighting climate change is actively colonialist, apparently, because it denies Africans and South Americans the right to be as proudly wasteful as us First Worlders: “…if Barack Obama is outraged that many young people in Africa want a car, air conditioning, and a big house, then behind that lurks the inhuman arrogance of members of the totally privileged upper class.”

There’s not much else to say. The idea that we might find space resources is a very shaky prospect for us to put everything we have into space travel and colonization. Climate change will definitely not make the earth better, though it might not hurt the LaRouches too much. And Greta Thunberg is probably not a puppet of the global elite being used to line the pockets of hedge fund managers.

The end goal of these fliers, besides stealing $20 from you, was to promote two “International Days of Action” the LaRouche acolytes held on September 10th and 12th. These were days when thousands of their Farm Lane Guy followers descended upon the spiritual Farm Lanes of other universities worldwide to do exactly what they did here – clog up people’s lives with their muntedness.

If there’s a lesson to learn from this, it’s that you don’t need to be sane to set up a booth on Farm Lane and talk to people. In other words: we hope to see you there whenever we can get a banner and a tent. If you’re nice, we might not even ask for $20.

-K. Sins

Down in the DMs: The Sergei Slide

Hello, devoted readers of The Evening Look.  I too, am a reader like yourself–you will notice quickly that I do not have the sharp wit of B. Bunny or the sarcastic introspection of O. Justice.  But I do have a story, one that I think will be of interest to you all.  

I’ve been following the content of The Evening Look almost since its conception.  The Evening Look is an apparent antithesis to campus conservative publication, that, like Batman, is not the hero we deserve but the one we need right now.  But for a long time, things seemed pretty underground, with me and scarcely a few others liking tweets and leaving comments. They’d gotten The Morning Watch’s attention though, which I guess is what matters.  “It’s what you practice in private that you will be rewarded for,” blah blah blah.  

Still, I was pleased to see some quality flyers posted all over campus with that familiar lighthouse image this past week.  Boasting superior content for superior beings, it was clear that the anonymous creators of The Evening Look felt–rightly so–that they should expand their readership.  And it seemed to work! Strangers started liking and retweeting articles, or even better yet, standing up to The Morning Watch instead.  I imagine our masked heroes were very proud of themselves, as was I.  

Part of the beautiful nonchalance of The Evening Look is that all articles (thus far) have been anonymously published.  The Morning Watch takes great care in clearly stating the source of every massive pile of shit that they release to the innocent eyes of the internet, but here, where every article is an utter joy to read, the geniuses behind the screen are hidden.  Anonymity also opens the door to laypersons like myself to be able to contribute freely without subjecting ourselves to the mortifying ordeal of being known. Which is nice.  

So imagine my surprise when Sergei Kelley, HBIC over at The Morning Watch, slid into my Twitter DMs one afternoon under the assumption that I worked for The Evening Look.  He had some complaints regarding placements of flyers (anyone will tell you that directly on top of The Morning Watch’s flyer is Prime Real Estate).  Rather than going straight to @LookEvening, he decided to subject a mere observer to what I would assess to be a more eloquent version of a temper tantrum.  

I wonder if Sergei always converses with people like he’s addressing a professor.  And not even like a chill professor that lets you talk without raising your hand–no, this is the professor whose attendance policy is “late=absent”.  Let me remind you of the context of this conversation: Saturday night in a college student’s Twitter DMs. And Sergei’s message starts “Hello [my first name] [my last initial],”.  He threw in an initial!  In my DMs!  He then proceeded, in MLA format, to essentially tattle on The Evening Look to a person with absolutely zero authority.  He even attached photo evidence of the flyer placement, as if I, who he presupposed to be the perpetrator, would not be aware of where I put flyers.  I don’t know whether to be flattered that he thinks I could be one of the masterminds behind The Evening Look, or offended that he clearly thinks I’m a dumbass.  

I politely replied to ‘Mr. Kelley’ that he must be confused, for I have no affiliation with the publication.  I wished him the best of luck with his flyers. And I am sure the utter humiliation of being wrong is the reason he has left me on ‘read’.  I mean, nobody knows the editors’ identities. He must have been so, so confident that I was involved in some way, simply certain that he’d cracked the code, that his investigative journalism instincts would finally prove themselves.  But once again, the mind behind the stellar content from The Morning Watch is sorely misguided.  

Thank you all for reading my story, and to the editors of The Evening Look for all that they do to maintain civil discourse on this campus.  To the rest of the staff over at The Morning Watch: your man is already in my DMs, and the truth hurts.  Better luck next time. 

Sincerely, 

A Dedicated Looker

Consider That The Morning Watch Might Accidentally Be Furthering Campus Liberalism

I don’t understand your strategy. You consistently write about various instances of collegiate “leftism” on campus yet, as a self-titled conservative outlet, refuse to comment or criticize anything. It seems almost contradictory that your tagline reads “objectivity, not subjectivity”, yet you blatantly label yourself as the only conservative publication on campus. 

Which one is it?

It reads like a classic case of trying to have your cake and eat it too, except you seem to be attempting to eat a vegan cupcake which you don’t quite possess in the first place. 

Do you want your readers to be the ones making the value judgements while you sit and shrug? If so, it would seem consistent to try reporting on all campus news and not preselect for the most underwhelming liberal activities on campus. Reading through your posts in the last few months, you would think conservatives never do activities on campus. Don’t you want to talk about how awesome it is when your folks come here to DESTROY random students with FACTS* and LOGIC*?  It’s frustrating to read and makes it difficult to understand your angle.

The dedication to objectivity makes it impossible to tell your angle. You wrote an article about pronoun training for MSU service workers and decided to interview the vice president of MSU’s Turning Point USA chapter, but because you put on this objectivity charade you make him say “yeah it’s a little out there but I think it’s fine,” like some sort of liberal. A reader who doesn’t know about the topic might walk away thinking “Boy, no one seems to have any objection to this policy at all. It sounds like a fantastic idea.” 

You are a largely milquetoast outlet trying desperately to live up to the fetishized dream of a perfectly objective conservative news outlet. You want to say the Forbidden Words about pronoun training, but instead you look like a thirsty man begging a woman for a crumb of coochie in the DMs. I hate to break it to you, but anyone who stumbles upon your site and just reads the last few posts probably thinks you’re godless libs. Therefore I would like to present a solution to this chimeric logic nightmare: 

Become an independent liberal outlet on campus.

In order to balance your principles of conservatism and objectivity you very clearly self-select events to report on which demonstrate progressive actions and agendas (read: bias), yet after choosing which articles to write you simply report the events in language that would make Hemingway beg for more substance. This leaves your entire website a collection of articles describing, in boringly objective detail, the liberal activities around campus. The material is all there – straightforward, nearly positive reporting on the new campus multicultural center, using the singular “they” in emails, James Madison hosting a conference on “Race and Socialism”. The talent is there to make the material pop, as we’ve seen. All you have to do is get rid of the opinion section, the only section that makes it clear the site is conservative. Now you’re a liberal outlet, writing your pieces in the same way, but that’s exactly how a liberal site would want them to be written. You might even get others to participate in, shall we say…civil discourse. 

– B. Bunny

The Backstroke of the West

If you’re like us, you probably had a pretty chilled out summer. You saw your friends a couple times, and you probably had a fun 4th of July, but you spent a lot of time counting down to important milestones: the end of your shitty job, the day when you could see your faraway college friends for the first time, and of course, the return of lower effort content to The Evening Look. (If you want good content, go read L. Squirrel’s post about the tragedies in Dayton and El Paso.)

Unfortunately, that means the return of us having to engage with others’ content. Our friends at The Morning Watch had themselves a bit of a hot girl summer, posting several times to warn us about the MSU language police’s activities. Though we can’t wait to dive into those, today I wanted to talk about an article that slipped in just as we were going on break: “Where has Western Civilization Gone?”, by Babs Hough. 

Hough’s main issue is with MSU’s international teaching programs. Why, she asks, is there no center for studying Western civilization? There’s a center for African studies, Asian studies, even Gender in Global Context. Surely the good ole boys and girls next door can have a place to study great thinkers like Jefferson, Descartes, and Napoleon?

First, we need to figure out what an “international teaching center” is, since it was helpfully not defined in the article. That means I get to sift through our university’s tedious webpages to find that it’s not a physical thing at all. It simply describes faculty, media, majors, students, and other resources gathered under an umbrella. For undergrads, the Asian Studies Center connects students to relevant research material, the university’s majors relating to Asia and its languages, other students studying those majors, scholarships for those majors, and so on.

But these centers exist to counter the perception that “regular” academia was not including these areas of study. Is Western study truly being shoved out of MSU? Are we in danger of being overtaken by the rising tides of “identity politics”? Can anyone tell me why colleges can’t hire anyone who’s good at the internet?

Hough states that although she is in the College of Social Science, she “has never taken a history class”. That’s a bit like going to Dairy Queen and not getting ice cream, but okay. Hough’s lack of history may explain why she feels this way, since a quick scan of history courses being offered next semester reveals over 15 courses relating solely to US and European history, ranging from Greco-Roman statues found in white nationalists’ Twitter profile pics to our modern culture of strip malls with 28 large chain stores. There are also large numbers of Western-centric courses in social science’s other main historical discipline, political science. For instance, PLS 170 (Intro to Political Philosophy) had only Western philosophers to read and PLS 342 (Comparative Political Economy) was exclusively about European exchange-rate regimes. These were not bad courses by any means, but they featured little to no non-Western perspectives. Additionally, nearly every class that doesn’t specifically focus on non-Western areas features Western thought prominently.

A Western Civilization Center feels quite redundant. But what would one look like? Fortunately, there are real examples of these mentioned in the article. Both the University of Arizona and Arizona State University receive over $5 million in funding for “economic freedom schools” that teach the history of Western thought. These schools, originally funded by the conservative megadonors Charles (living) and David (fortunately deceased) Koch, are now funded by Arizona’s state government. The only one with classes is the one at Arizona State, directed by former MSU James Madison professor Ross Emmett. (Example classes from ASU’s program include “Great Debates in American Politics and Economics” and “Capitalism and Great Economic Debates”). The others only do research and invite speakers. Like Hough’s proposal, they seek to “counter liberal hegemony on campus”, according to conservative site Campus Reform, through courses like this.

But again, the problem is that these centers seem unneeded. You won’t derive the syllabus for MSU’s economics courses from reading leftist thought. Nor does the basic political science education, based in the American political system and its Western origins, focus entirely on the Babylonian Empire. It is difficult to get an average social science degree and not cover the ideas focused on in the Arizona schools. So how does the “freedom center” differ from normal social science courses?

The answer is that they go out of their way to exclude non-Western perspectives. Compared to the average program here, the economic freedom school at ASU goes out of its way to only focus on Europe and America outside of its introductory course. The rest of the world exists as dirt that might have people on it. 

In effect, Hough’s center would serve as a pointless safe space where ideas and writing from outside the Western world do not exist, despite the fact that students are already connected to those works and ideas in social science programs here. Unfortunately Hough has graduated, but if she hadn’t she could have finally taken a history course to find what she felt was missing, such as HST 334A (Renaissance and Reformation) or HST 202 (US History to 1876).  She doesn’t need a space to be salty online about how a textbook had a case study from Nigeria in it – there’s already a webpage for that. It’s called The Morning Watch.

– K. Sins