Dude, Where’s my Speaker?

By Kim-Jenna Jurriaans and Preston Kraft

After a completely fruitless three hour trip to Heidelberg College two weeks ago, to hear a speaker who didn’t show up, because, well…. he got the email with the RIGHT date in it, these writers were ecstatic about their second bid to some off campus encounters of the scholastic kind, last Tuesday.

Our very own Hassan Nejad was approached by Clark State to monitor a discussion between students and Dan Senor, former adviser to Paul Bremmer and chief spokesman of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.

Oh boy, oh boy! This we had to see. Pictures of large auditoriums, filled with well schooled, dressed up youngsters, practicing the universal “I’m extremely interested?-mode, characterized by pensive frowning, appropriate nodding and the occasional hand on the chin, came into mind and inspired us to work on our very own repertoire of serious face expressions for the evening.

“Dress up nicely,? Nejad told his flock in Islam class who were interested in attending the formal event. On the inquiry by one of these writers whether this meant No pajamas, Nejad smiled politely, but whether he really trusted our ability to present a decent fashion sense by the next Tuesday remains uncertain. After all, this is Antioch. Nicely, therefore could consist of any outfit varying from black underwear and rollerblades to multicolored knee socks and “matching? hot pants. But this lot wasn’t one to be ashamed of. One of the attending Antiochians stole the show by swapping his usual green flannel bed wear in for a nonchalantly conservative combo in beige and red, impressing many a passer by on his short stroll from Spalt to the car. Yeah, this flock was dressed and prepared to impress.

We arrived in Springfield were we were greeted by a small Star Wars convention on the ground floor of the theatre that was housing that night’s discussion on “The Iraq war and con sequences for the Middle-East?.

But what was this? Instead of the chic auditorium we were ushered into what seemed to be an empty ballet recital room on the 2nd floor, with a video projector, a white screen and four rows of folding chairs in front of it. Not feeling extremely inspired to work on our plié talents; the slightly surprised Antioch crew went straight for the catering.

Nejad, who entered the room a couple of minutes later looked somewhat startled: “where’s the speaker?? “You are the speaker?, a blond Pi Theta Kappa woman informed him. “Well, you are the speaker to lead the afterwards discussion. The real speaker will appear on that screen over there, at precisely 7.30. You did know that this was a satellite meeting, right.? The expression on the faces of the Antioch flock answered the question, even without verbal output.

“Well, at least they have cookies!? remarked Preston Krafft, who felt that since he already pulled all his charms together for the occasion, he might as well work them on the dessert buffet. At precisely 7.30 the Antioch delegation, the majority of the audience, set straight in their chairs to witness the life broadcast from Dallas, to which several colleges throughout the country were connected.

And what a broadcast it was! In perfect liberal fashion, toes started curling up about 5 minutes into the gig, as Dan, polished, groomed and showing of his impeccable dental work, glossed over centuries of historical perspective to declare the Middle- East Problem as a result of the Arab’s defeat in the race to modernity and an animosity that, according to him has been existing for thousands of years.

“Wow?, Nejad commented as soon as the broadcast went off the air, “this is a hard act to follow. But what an act it was! This guy clearly doesn’t know what he was talking about.? He was asked to lead the discussion because of his knowledge of Islam and the Muslim world and said he was appalled by what he had just seen: “At first I wasn’t really sure about this whole thing, but now I’m actually glad that you all came. You wouldn’t see anything like this at Antioch any time soon.?

One of the Antiochians, in a vain attempt at anger management, was seen leaving the room half way through the session. “There is a reason I don’t watch Fox. But this was worse?, one of the 4th years said on his way back to the car. In a discussion session, strikingly similar to our Monday and Wednesday Islam classes, Hassan did his best to iron out some of the inaccuracies that had just been fired on the audience, in what appeared to be a 45-minute propaganda video for the invasion of Iraq.

After the meeting Preston Krafft said, “That guy was definitely a Bushbot, no doubt about it. He was just overly optimistic. He was more scary than funny.? The writers of this piece, hereby also want to point out their appreciation for Hassan’s efforts to bring some Antioch enlightenment to those less fortunate regions of Ohio.

Hassan finally proposed to take out his flock for a giant scoop of ice cream at the local ice-cream parlor. “It was like after you’ve lost the big game and your coach takes you out for ice-cream?, said 4th year Kendall Canyen. “I actually didn’t really want ice cream, but since Hassan was paying for it..? Thanks Hassan!