FAU's big day

There are events of national importance taking place on an FAU campus today. That's right--Amy and I are part of a reading titled "Poetry on the Environment" being held this afternoon at the Davie campus--2:30 to 3:30--as part of their day long discussion and presentation on environmental issues.

Oh, and there's some kind of presidential debate this evening, being televised on MSNBC, and not only are the Republican candidates gracing us with their presence, so are Chris Matthews and Joe Scarborough.

Yay?

Ever since the announcement was made, the university administration has been, not so subtly, hinting that this is our chance on the big stage, and that we shouldn't screw it up by being vocal or partisan--you know, we shouldn't screw it up by acting like citizens or anything. Amy's already expressed our collective disgust with the free-speech zones (something I plan to mention as an aside in my reading this afternoon), but I got this email from the university this morning that just reinforces what image they're hoping to portray. Here it is in part:

As part of Thursday's presidential debate, MSNBC will also air two shows live from OUTSIDE OF THE STUDENT SERVICES BUILDING (LOT 16): "Hardball with Chris Matthews" and "Morning Joe" with Joe Scarborough. The producers are inviting FAU students to be part of the live, on-camera audience for each show. The audience stands in the background and cheers while the stars of the show talk about the debates. From time to time, the host will speak directly with the audience members. Be sure to wear your blue and red gear to show FAU pride.

Here are the details:

Thursday, Jan. 24
4:30-6 p.m. - "Hardball with Chris Matthews"
6:30-8 p.m. - "Hardball with Chris Matthews"
10:30 p.m.-midnight - "Hardball with Chris Matthews"

Friday, Jan. 25 showtime
5:30-9 a.m. - "Morning Joe"....

NOTES: The producers want the audience to promote FAU and not a particular political campaign, so please no campaign shirts or materials. We encourage you to wear your FAU gear or anything that is blue or red. Please do NOT bring any handheld signs, as they block the camera's view of the audience and the debate site.
Please send questions to marketing@fau.edu.
Emphasis mine.
In other words, they want an ESPN College Gameday, kind of feel. Maybe I should get a big effing owl painted on my balding forehead to show school spirit, instead of calling Rudy 9iu11ani a ghoulish douchehound who is trying to ascend to the presidency on the bodies of about 3,000 victims of a terrorist attack.

I hope there's a big turnout, and I hope that every student there, no matter his or her political position, absolutely ignores every one of those marketing requests. I want to see call and response from partisans, perhaps even a scuffle or two. I want to see the Paulites go at it with the Romney supporters over Duncan Hunter's five supporters who aren't following him to Huckabee.

I want to see general mayhem, because that's what politics is--people disagreeing vehemently over matters that are important to them. I want to see some passion out there, not a marketing campaign.

And I especially want to see a sign that calls Chris Matthews "Tweety." That would be awesome.

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