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(09/12/13...sent to Advocate...not published.)

The Governor's Pragmatism

Universally, the only constant is change. Change is good because it is inevitable. Doubt this if you like, but the following is a nearby example.

In 1893 LSU played its first football game (a 34-0 loss to Tulane). A photograph of the 1894 team shows twenty eight young men in heavily quilted pants and mostly middle-part haircuts. The coach, Albert Simmonds, played end.

From that small beginning football at LSU grew incrementally. Nurtured by an almost equally young academic system, and then, later, pampered wildly by politicians, students, businesses, the general public and fans--all participants in the inevitable process of change we now encounter.

Today, one hundred twenty years later, the roles have fully reversed: parasite and host have switched; dowdy academics has lost its dominance (and rightly so) because it did not—could not—compete with the glitter of football. 'LSU' is not initials, but a word: precisely defined, it means 'football'. How many people—students, fans, legislators, anyone anywhere who has ever heard of college football—how many think of academics when they hear “LSU”?


No, of course not. It's the flying spittle of an excited Coach Miles we all relate to, not the measured lecture of a Boyd professor (whatever that is). LSU Football is what LSU is. Proof is economics: Les Miles draws $4.3 million per annum; University Chancellor and President Alexander trugs along on $600,000.

Change at LSU forms a double trajectory of rise and fall: the inexorable dusting the depleted. Governor Jindal's valiant joust to defund the University system failed only because a few reactionary, delusional legislators (one election away from retirement) dug in their nostalgic heels for one last limp-wristed 'hoorah'. Next time LSU clout will rule--one hundred and twenty year old clout!

So, what do we want, we Clouters, we happy many, we band of Clouters?

One word: Parking! Gate to gate tailgating! “Parking?” the academics say. “But where?” “Look at a map lately?” From a bird's eye view of LSU it's clear the best new parking lies just east of the stadium, on a little hill occupied by a quadrangle called 'Middleton'. Look around some more: hay mucho Middletons. (One, behind the Union [love the Union!] is a Middleton parking garage waiting to happen: “Bobby Jindal's Parking Garage.”--maybe?..hope-I-hope!)

If LSU is to change let's get it done. Fans have suffered enough from a myriad of non-problems: parking tow-aways, tail gating regs, hellish traffic, no stadium alcohol, hard benches made for soft mini-butts... And why? Academics is why. For gods sakes, there are colleges and universities in Louisiana up the yin-yang, three in Baton Rouge alone. Do we really need three? However, in this entire state, we have only two football teams worthy of that name to entertain us. (Is this not a “Duh?” moment?) Enough talk of 'universities' and 'colleges'. Let us not skew our values based on ancient and foreign prejudices: both words 'university' and 'college' have ancient Roman roots : i.e., 'universitas ' and 'collegium'. 'Football' (no italics needed, folks) is as American as crawfish pie.

Governor Jindal's pragmatic decision to defund and downsize the university shows uncanny political prescience. The capstone of his administration—and the rising echo of his political future that will take him far away from Cajunland and keep him there—will be when he convinces us all that his astute vision has merit. I am with him all the way! The voices I hear say:

Geaux Change ! Change Rocks !

Greig Olivier

Prognosticator (semi-ret.)

10153 Jefferson Hwy

BRLA, 70809