Saturday, January 24, 2015


A pony tail.

And back when I was in college, for some reason, the “cool” professors had pony tails. Don’t ask me why. Oh, and they were also vegetarians. Do the math. It works, I guess. 

There he was.

He was one of my first Political Science professors.

Into the lecture hall he swaggered. Kaki pants. Light blue Polo oxford shirt. He flipped his hair like a chick, and he fastened it back accordingly. Don’t automatically hate him, I thought to myself. Give him a chance, I continued to plead silently.

Three ginormous chalk boards hung behind him.

Eschewing the podium, the traditional dais, he preferred to speak while he paced. His arms met his words at seemingly the perfect moments, gesticulating as punctuation to whatever point he was making at the time.

The course’s beginning was coverage of the American Presidency. I’d done some preliminary reading, some amateur research, finding the great office and its dozens and dozens of holders wanting. I’d noticed a trend. These dudes nearly always expanded their reach, especially in the 20th century, going as far back as Jefferson. 

I wondered what my professor thought.

He skipped to the usual litany of American “heroes,” highlighting guys like Lincoln (I’d later write a thesis on the parallels between Lincoln and Hitler, which, um, didn’t go over too well), FDR, and Kennedy. He’d sprinkle anecdotes here and there. Some of the stories were mildly amusing, but it was kind of like being at Mass ... in need of that different atmosphere a Church and a pious priest bring, … only to have the priest turn his homily into a stand-up comedy routine. He kind of killed the scholastic vibe immediately. Lincoln was a tortured patriot; FDR saved the world from fascism; Kennedy was the last great hope for democracy. You get the picture.

Don’t get me wrong.

I love it when a professor openly displays his bias. Love it. EVERYONE has a bias. It’s only fair when cards are set, FACE UP, on the table. That’s where real discussion begins.

But this guy wasn’t for the kind of intellectual honesty I desired. No.

He was giving a lame sermon filled with inculcative maxims. These were lofty truths we were receiving, and they were beyond question. At least that’s the air he encouraged.

A hand went up. Super-hot chick in the front row (they all fell in deep love with him). Who is your favorite president? she asked as if she was about to remove her clothes. Feh!  

I rolled my eyes.

I took my best guest, whispering the answer to my classmate. FDR!, I breathed/coughed with a sarcastic smile. 

The professor smiled at her a little too long, and placing his hand to his chin he contemplated his answer. He leaned against the dais as if he were struck by a profound query. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, he spoke to her directly. He’s underrated and severely under-appreciated. He saved capitalism from itself. He defeated Hitler’s Germany. Many of the wonderful programs we have today we owe to FDR.

He and the hot chick bantered back and forth about the genius of FDR’s wife and some such other nonsense. The professor also served up the crowd pleasing line (especially to the cadre of hot chicks in attendance, and at SDSU they basically print hot chicks by the bus load): One day, we’ll have a woman president, and she’ll show the men how to run this country!

Christ, I thought I was at a campaign rally. Hahahahaha. All the babes were hooting and clapping loudly, and the brain-dead males, who wanted little more than to bang said cheering hot chicks, dutifully and with Pavlovian aplomb clapped and hooted in gleeful agreement. Ah, but those boys’ hearts were BLACK, I tell you, black with ulterior motive. Hahahaha.  

I was surrounded by super excited venereal disease hosts. This wasn’t academia. This was a mere extension of a twisted fraternity party. All we were missing was beer, the social lubricant de jure of coeds everywhere. 

Oi vey.

I counted ceiling tiles while this type of “education” went on for most of the semester. You could predict my professor’s opinions before he gave them airing. He was a carbon copy of a 1960s monster. Nothing shocking. Just boring as fuck. 

Every extension of government entitlement programs = good. Every military adventure fought by HIS favored political party = good and necessary. Every private business = bad. Every military adventure fought by HIS hated political party = bad and unnecessary. Wealth and achievement = bad. Poverty and under-performance = good.

I aced his course.

THANKFULLY he had so many students he didn’t have time (nor probably any interest) to get my name. I could ask questions and spar with him knowing I’d remain largely anonymous – though, after a while, he’d associate bad joo-joo with my hand going up. Hahahaha.

How did FDR save capitalism? I asked him, sounding innocent enough. He gave yet another predictable answer about public work projects, unions, nationalizations, and, rather shockingly, WORLD WAR II as reasons for US economic recovery during that era.

So sending men off to war is capitalism? I asked him further, sounding less innocent.

He wasn’t used to follow up questions by someone without booty shorts. Hahahahaha. He wasn’t as enthusiastic about answering, either.

I forced him, for ONCE, to attempt to define his terms. 

In a chess-like manner, I wanted him to give capitalism a clear definition. And by this time I’d been able to figure out he hadn’t any earthly idea. The word itself, capitalism, was coined by Marx (perhaps its greatest historical foe) as a slur.

What the professor wound up explaining was a kind of corporate fascism, where the state controls business. Capitalism is the free flow of goods and services WITHOUT government intervention nor favoritism. FDR was no more a capitalist than Marx. They were just socialistic fascists of different stripes, but they’d be MUY comfortable in bed. 

I told him so.

He disagreed vehemently.

He then said it was inarguable (his word) World War II brought the American economy back from the grave. I made him repeat the statement so it would be clear.

By this time the class was somewhat tired of my antics, and I could hear rumblings of tension. I was pissing on their party by injecting THOUGHT. No, we mustn’t have that! Hot chicks whipped around angrily to see who DARED question their guru. Hahahaha. Their glares only served to encourage me. It was an inverse relationship, really: the less I pissed off the professor’s Playboy models, the more I knew I had to dig with questions! Hahahahaha. Must … do … more … pissing … off. Hahahahaha.

Using your logic, I retorted while I scooted up in my seat, then, shouldn’t the current president do what FDR did in order to stimulate economic growth?

The hot chicks and beach volleyball-looking guys swung their heads back and forth, as if watching a tennis match, following our conversation as each spoke in turn.

I was almost sure he’d see the trap I set. Nope. So confident in the smell of his own intellectual flatulence he was, he INSISTED the current president only need do exactly that.

So the current president should draft MILLIONS of men, which really amounts to slavery, and send them somewhere to bomb and kill MILLIONS of foreigners … in order to stimulate the economy? I asked in all seriousness. 

Classmates’ heads swung back to the professor.

He gave a sly cat grin as if we were in on some kind of joke.

FDR didn’t do that, young man, he snorted at me. Nothing is so patronizing as someone tossing up an inconsequential, like age, into a civil discussion. He was clearly annoyed.

But you just said he did, I snapped back.

No, I did not, he said rapidly.

I almost felt sorry for him. It was like arguing with a toddler.

I reminded him of his INARGUABLE statement, turning it around in the form of a question. Isn’t it inarguable World War II gave the US massive prosperity?

He stopped speaking to me for a moment. He addressed the class as the detective might in film noir. 

He narrated above our conversation. I found this despicable and insulting. Bullies get no shelter from me. Nope. As he instructed the class basically to tune out while he dealt with me, I accused him of using his authority as a convenient delay tactic.

I don’t understand why you won’t take your statements to their logical conclusion, I said over his cowardly apologetics. Why not just say mass murder is an economic stimulant?

At that he did pause, and a trace of anger hit his face. He then took refuge in the scoundrel’s last hope: ethnicity, otherness. 

He announced he was Jewish, and this gave him special grace (my characterization) to anoint FDR with sainthood. Without saying it, he told the class I was more or less IN FAVOR of The Holocaust. 


When a person runs out of arguments, the lesser will scatter to otherness: religious, sexual orientation, gender, ethnic, cultural, economic class, etc.

No way would I let him get away with that!

I told him his Jewry had NOTHING to do with the question I asked. I told him it was a cheap shot to make even the slightest inference. I then said I was going to SPANK HIS STUPID ASS in front of his adorers. 

I said something like that. I know I used the word “spank” and the phrase “stupid ass.” 

His stupid fucking hero, FDR, sucked the dick of the most notorious Jew-killer of all time, Stalin. I know I said almost those exact words. Hahahahaha. You thought Hitler killed a lot of Jews? I asked angrily. Six million was small potatoes. Stalin wiped out about twenty million. And WHO buddied up to him? Yeah, your boy, FDR. Or doesn’t that fit with your expert analysis? I finished almost out of breath.  

He was ashen, white. Stunned.

I think he hoped the magic escape hatch of otherness would save him, and I’d wither under the awesome weight of his otherness.




Finished his lecture. Took no more questions from anyone. Bounced.


The hot chicks rushed by me, frumpily. Hahahahaha.

The remainder of the semester, I pressed this prick. Every time he made a declarative statement of any moral or ethical or judgmental kind, I was there to catch him. I wasn’t going to let him win. Since I was PAYING HIS SALARY he would have to endure my vigilance.

The only payoff, besides amusing myself and making a professor noticeably uncomfortable at times, was when a classmate spotted me at a café. She introduced herself, and asked to sit. She asked for my notes from a class she’d missed, and laughed at my margin notes. I doodle when I am bored in a class. I also argue with the lecture notes, giving asides to keep me interested. She could tell I was no fan of our professor. When she handed back the notes to me, she said she got a lot out of the class. And the way she said it it made me feel, at first, like she was kind of telling me she enjoyed the professor. I thought she was being snide or rude. She then said she learned the most about a given topic when I’d go after the pony tailed prof.


And I mean it.
Craig Edward Kelso is the author of Anarcho-Capitalism (2014), a primer on the philosophy of peaceful, stateless cooperation. His curriculum vitae include a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from San Diego State University, and a Post-Baccalaureate secondary education credential in both Social Science and English Language Arts. Kelso taught for nearly a decade in the American public school system, and was voted by colleagues Teacher of the Year, twice in his short tenure, earning numerous accolades from chambers of commerce, mayors, state assembly persons, governors, congresspersons, senators, and even Wal-Mart. Currently he struggles to earn an opportunity to be employed, working as a laborer, dishwasher. He is deliriously happily married to Myra Kelso, living in Southern California with their adorable children.

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