Friday, March 4, 2011

More Characters: Evan the Red

I've been having a bit of a debate. Not with myself, mind you, but with the various members of the Ayn Rand Worship Society. When they were much younger, they had their own publication dedicated to flanneling free market principles, Romantic literature and Star Trek (I think I told this story already). Today, they are all alumni, they publish blogs and run endless debates on MIT's Linked-In site devoted to the postulation that  they are so much smarter than everyone else when it comes to economic thought, and therefore policymakers should take them seriously.

What separated the denizens of Ergo from the denizens of thursday was that whereas we were a bunch of smelly, hairy, pimply-faced leftists in flannel shirts and bluejeans, they were a bunch of smelly, clean-shaven, pimply-faced libertarians in short-sleeved button-down shirts and khaki pants from JC Penney. And they had discovered Brylcreem. Not that either of our respective groups was ever going to find romance with a partner of the opposite sex. We were just two sides of the same bad penny.

Speaking of flannel shirts and blue-jeans, there was one particular Marxist who happened to live on Second East - next door to me. And he was as dyed-in-the-wool as it gets. If you've ever seen the Young Ones on BBC America, the most obnoxiously leftist member of the foursome, Rick, can be recognized by the Soviet-style heroic paintings that he applied with a brush and a roller to his wall. This is not exaggeration. My Marxist neighbor actually did that to his dorm room interior.

So who was this person? We called him Evan the Red.
He really was everyone's favorite socialist. He was always telling us oppressed masses how we could better ourselves. In addition, he had liberated himself from Food Service by acquiring a hot plate and buying in bulk.
Evan had been doing this long before Costco made it popular with the bourgeoisie. The only problem was that Evan had developed a cooking style that was essentially to put a pot of vegetables on low flame and then rush off to the Marxist Lecture Series. This form of cooking was known as The Slow Burn. Evan had been blackening food long before Paul Prudhomme had perfected the technique and made New Orleans a gastronomic landmark.
However, when Evan made a blackened dish, it remained blackened for a long time. And the Fire Department usually had to be called in.
But when Evan was around, nothing went to waste.
A final note: the old joke among Jews is four rabbis, five opinions. Among the small community of radical activists, it was 12 leftists, 13 different (and fiercely distinct) leftist groups...
The only thing that united them was Doctor Marten's boots. Never, ever get them confused...
One day, I will have to explain the Social Action Coordinating Committee. They were a bit more, ahem, mainstream.


  1. It was so odd - by the '70s, student activism was such a distant memory that a guest lecturer had to be brought in to tell us about the battering ram and the dean's office takeover.