T.S. Eliot and his detractors

New commentaryIt’s been a rough couple weeks for T.S. Eliot in the Regenstein Library stacks. To recap: on June 9th, I discovered the first stanza of T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” on a wall, boldly written in sharpie. By July 1st, someone felt compelled to express how unimpressed they were.

And so the poem remained for months, until a week or two ago when Facilities appears to have stepped in to play literary critic, abridging the poem and getting rid of the commentary. (Why didn’t they paint over the whole thing? And why paint over the tiny commentary in pen? Was the painter fond of the poem? Did he like it better without the second half of the first stanza?)

Facilities may have spared the beginning of the poem, but the blank space they left behind was soon filled with the most vitriolic piece of graffiti I’ve ever seen in the library:

Fucking imbecile. With this bullshit, it’s no surprise you’re a liberal arts major. Enjoy living in poverty after college, asshole.

Less-than-polite retorts are nothing new. Pride in economically beneficial majors is nothing new. But I’ve never seen anything like this– and directed towards someone who copied poetry onto a wall! Did the writer fail the unit on poetry in junior high English? More than with most graffiti, I really wonder what was going on in the writer’s head on this one.

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