Cheng elected Lance Editor, plans reforms

 

The Spirit Lance was done just a couple short years after the collapse of communism in Europe and I liked the parallels Terry weaved in. Student journalists are generally viewed as communists. This article sets up the jokes for the paper and pokes fun at the stereotype of student newspapers being breeding grounds for Marxists.

 

The Lance's Editor-in-Chief and Production Manager were elected by The Lance's staff members. The Editor-in-Chief then hired his subeditors (arts editor, news editor, etc). A really bad Editor-in-Chief could actually be impeached by a super majority vote of staffers. This actually happened a few years before Terry's run as editor. It was one of those odd years when The Lance's lost a lot of its skilled staff to the demands of graduation and the lure of a still hot late-'80s economy. The elected editor and remaining staff had little experience with laying out neat little columns, ads, headlines, etc. It's not really as easy as it looks, or it wasn't before Microsoft Wizards did everything.

 

The Legendary Kevin Johnson notes that originally Spirit Lance was going to be called The Slant, in parody of the idea it should have a pro-Windsor slant. However, people felt since Chris Cheng was the general target of parody, readers might assume "slant" was in reference to a racist term for Asians.

 

Subway profits increase GNP, pull Canada out of recession

 

The University of Windsor's student pub was called The Subway, that year. The pub frequently went through both name changes (it started off called simply SACís Pub, then The Subway, later called The Moose and then The Thirsty Scholar) and expensive renovations. The pub was owned by Student Council. Theoretically the pub should have been a cash cow. It was the only licensed establishment on campus, yet it hemorrhaged cash. The real solutions to getting the student pub to post a profit were difficult to implement, hence the reason SAC -- year after year -- tried to change the pub's image. There were two main problems that actually had to be addressed. One, employee theft was a major drain, but when you had a pub where the managers tended to hire friends, well, it's hard to tell your friends NO! Two, the pub's entertainment manager failed to book entertainment that appealed to Windsor's hard-to-read tastes. No one ever got rich assuming what appealed to the students in Canadian-media saturated cities like Toronto, London, and Waterloo would appeal to Windsor students who were raised on a diet of Detroit FM radio. Canadian bands like The Northern Pikes and 54-40 packed Toronto or Waterloo campus pubs but were nearly unknown to Windsor people. Because of general mismanagement and expensive, serial renovations, pub losses had mounted to the point where the university administration was going to step in and close the pub. An eleventh hour deal, full of promises to tighten the belts and not renovate the pub for at least a couple years, kept the doors open.

 

In this article which Terry and I hacked out together, we posited ways the pub could not only make a profit but contribute significantly to Canada's gross national product. This was 1992 and Canada was still deep in a recession.

 

The acts mentioned, Cliff Erikson and Mike Mandel, were regulars on the campus circuit. Cliff Erikson was this aging folk singer that belted out predictable covers on his 12-string guitar. Despite having sung the same clutch of folk songs for the last 20 years, he was mysteriously considered something of a marquee act. Mike Mandel was a hypnotist and had been in the game for as long as Cliff Erikson. For some reason, SAC would always reuse last year's art work for Mandel's "coming soon to SAC's pub" poster. The poster featured a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy of a photo of Mandel's face. Every year they simply made a new photocopy of the previous year's photocopy. This had the effect of slowly eroding the details on Mike Mandel's face to the point where after a decade his head shot no longer had a nose. The great mysterious noseless hypnotist! One year SAC gave a smaller version of the coming soon poster to The Lance to run as an ad. The paper's production manager refused to run a photo of a noseless human and she drew a nose in. Alas, like hands, noses are also hard to do and she gave him a rather crude proboscis. SAC and Mandel were not impressed.

 

freaky!

less freaky?

The horrible noseless hypnotist!

Whew, nose back where it belongs!

 

The Cadillac Galapagos bit came from a long running joke Terry and I had where we would juxtapose the Galapagos islands with the imagery of some wanton, environmentally destructive commercial exploitation of said isles.

 

The bit about the pub manager getting into the lucrative business of launching payloads into space is a call back to a Pennysaviour novena.

 

The bit about the manager wanting a shot at managing Parliament's cafeteria was a crack at the media's constant referral to "excessive" government perks in a time of recession. Parliament's highly subsidized cafeteria was frequently cited as an example of government waste. Legend had it that lobster dinners were available for mere pocket change.

 

 

Campus parking garage already built by the time you read this!

 

I believe the Legendary Kevin Johnson wrote this one. Windsor's disastrous experience with downtown parking garage construction was always ripe for parody. It's a subject we reused the next year in The Border City Lance. Check out my background commentary there. In sum, no parking garage Windsor ever contracted to build was ever, ever built on time or on budget. Ever.

 

The article's author's name "Hilton (Compri) Brecht" is a rather clever one. Brecht is from playwright Bertolt Brecht who wrote Waiting for Godot. Pretty clever, huh? You know, only now did I catch that joke. The names Hilton and Compri are from two hotels that sit side by side on Windsor's water front. The reason Compri is in brackets is because the hotel's official name is actually in brackets. So "(Compri)" not "Compri". The hotel explains that the brackets are meant to imply a stay at the (Compri) includes everything for one price, like breakfast, parking, a bathrobe, etc. Again another nice little touch by Kevin.

 

The Odette build was the U of W's new business building. It had a very nice lawn in front. One year the School of Visual Arts (which was housed in the slightly off campus Lebel building) created an outdoor gallery of abstract, mixed-media sculpture on the lawn of the Odette building. Business and art, it would seem, don't mix. Shortly after the art went up, vandals tore into much of it, spray painting slogans on the wrecked sculptures that charged the artists in abstensia with a host of communist and anti-family activities.

 

The quote from school president Ianni scorning critics and challenging them to come up with a better idea was based on a real, earlier incident. The school president was enacting some grim solution to some equally grim problem that pleased no one. When critics complained, he shouted in a meeting "I'd like to see you come up with a better idea!"

 

 

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