Thursday, March 4, 2010

'Tis the season (to engage in folly)

Clearly, the annual change of seasons is upon us. The perennial bulbs are tentatively pushing their light-green shoots through the softening soil and leaf-mold. Technically, it's still winter, for as everyone knows, the vernal equinox marks the beginning of spring, and that's still some three weeks away. Still, I was cheered when I heard the meteorologist on CNN explain that, climatologically (rather than astronomically), winter runs from December through February, and spring, from March through May. So, here we are. High time.

In fact, on Tuesday, as if to confirm this philosophy, the temperature hit a balmy 50 degrees Fahrenheit (that's 10 C to the rest of the world). The sun was shining. And yet there was more. As I strolled the campus, I felt an unusual sense of elation. My thoughts turned to the pleasures of the coming season. No, not just the delightful song about poisoning pigeons in the park (regardless of where you stand in the controversy over the Cambridge vs. Viennese versions; and I'm an Audubon Society member, so, no flaming talkbacks, please; it's a joke—get it?).

No, even more prolific and prominent than the daffodils at home were the posters on campus:

Barely able to contain my joy, I said to myself,
Can it be??! Has yet another year passed so quickly, and is it once again time for "Israeli Apartheid Week"?!
Yes, it's that time when "activists," convinced that the tiny State of Israel (out of all 192 UN member states) is the absolute embodiment of evil, engage in persistent and really annoying but futile attempts to persuade everyone else to think likewise.

In fact, it's so important that this special week cannot even be the length of a normal week: what began as a 5-day event in Canada 5 years ago has swelled, depending on where you are, to as long as 14 days. (Admittedly, "Israeli Apartheid Fortnight?" sounds a but too British and effete, or more like a summer camp; and besides, it would have the same acronym as the Israel Air Force; can't have that, now, can we?)

At Hampshire College, one of the above posters describes it as 12 days long, while the other manages to make it simultaneously 7 and 8 days. We're still debating the effectiveness of our "quantitative skills requirement," for obvious reasons. Or perhaps the discrepancy is just a reflection of Students for Justice in Palestine's strong Jewish contingent, who disagree among themselves over how long to celebrate Passover.

Let the festivities begin!

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