Diag Preacher Gains Record Audience
Interest in Islamic Fundamentalism "Up 600 pc"
"This is Bullshit," Say Students Exploring Zen Meditation Techniques
By FLIP ARGENTI
The Sporting Rant
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan's stunning football loss Saturday to the Appalachian State Mountaineers has sent the school's Ann Arbor campus into a full-blown existential crisis. Students are struggling to reconcile the loss with the tenets of secular humanism, ruthless ambition and naked greed that have long been cherished traditions at the elite academic institution.
Meanwhile, fallout from the Maize and Blue's loss continued to spread throughout the greater Ann Arbor area, as the Arborland Mall was the scene of a pitched battle Saturday evening between students from the school and nearby Eastern Michigan University. Police said a group of EMU students, upon encountering a group of Michigan students, started pointing and laughing in their direction while heckling them about the loss. Enraged, the U-M students charged the group in a flying wedge formation, resulting in a brawl of "quasi-epic proportions." Eight people were hurt.
"I haven't seen it this bad ever," said Frank Muldoon, a U-M graduate student and chief blogger at "Arbor Day," a local blog devoted to U-M and Ann Arbor issues. "Oh, sure, there was Rocket Left back in 1994, during my freshman year. Boy, did that stink. Then, there was Clockgate back in 2004, and Michigan's loss to Nebraska in the 2005 Alamo Bowl. But nothing even compares to the rancor I've seen since we lost to Appalachian State."
"My God. Appalachian State," Muldoon said. "There are no words."
But on Sunday afternoon, Diag preacher Ted Wormsley found himself ministering to several hundred forlorn U-M students at the campus landmark. Wormsley, like many of his itinerant colleagues a fiery and unyielding preacher, has been responsible for sending thousands of students further into the arms of Michigan's secular culture each year. While confident his rewards await him in heaven, Wormsley's earthly rewards have generally consisted of scorn and abuse heaped on him from passing students. But that was not the case today.
"Friends, I KNOW how you feel now," Wormsley said to an audience of several hundred enraptured students. "You are lost, adrift, hopeless; wondering why the God of your fathers has foresaken you in your time of need. You just want to turn to the sky and scream, why, God, why? Why? Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?!"
"Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?!" Wormsley added.
"But I must tell you this. God has HIDDEN His face from you today as DIVINE PUNISHMENT for your wrongdoing! Verily, I say to you, victory can be achieved next week, and the week after that, and all through the season if ONLY you forsake the evils of drink and marihuana and the other perils of modern life -- like fornication! Oh, and disco dancing is right out too. And you may not order from Pizza House LATER than 2 a.m., for God-FEARING people are asleep by then," Wormsley said.
Wormsley's sermon, which lasted roughly 90 minutes and touched on matters ranging from the dangers of heavy metal music to the creeping influence of Freemasonry, was met -- for perhaps the first time in Michigan history -- with murmured assent and scattered applause.
"Gee, if Brother Ted says I have to give up my pirated cable television connection -- with all the unscrambled adult channels -- AND my late night runs for chapatis to guarantee victory for the team, I guess I'll have to do it," said U-M junior Floyd Marvinson. "I mean, we can't lose to Penn State this year, and we'll never hear the end of it if we lose to Michigan State."
"If it means we win a bowl game this year, I'll commit to a chaste lifestyle," said U-M senior Pete Poindextrus. "Somehow. I mean, that's like six months of ... but I'll do it. I have to do it. God forgive me should I lapse!"
But students aren't just embracing Christian fundamentalism. Interest in what campus officials call "hardline, extremist Islamic views" has skyrocketed since Michigan's loss.
"Really, what it comes down to is this. Given our loss to Appalachian State, what will cause fans of other teams to react the way they should when they encounter Michigan fans? A shout of Go Blue! or a shout of Ya'llah, infidels! My team wishes yours dead!" said a sullen and angry Chadrick Horace, a U-M sophomore. "The way things are going, it sure looks like the second to me, so I'm considering a switch."
"By the way, did you like that? I got it from a computer game," said Horace, who during his time at Michigan has only worshipped Milwaukee's Best beer and Scarlett Johansson. "Also, I'm working on my sullen, hostile stare for when those wretched idolaters from Ohio State come up in November. With God's aid, we shall defeat them and their cursed anthropomorphic mascot!"
Those on campus also say some other belief systems have suffered a corresponding drop in interest since Michigan's loss. For instance, a philosophy professor who tried to rally his students' spirits over the weekend was pelted with books and lambasted with angry chants.
"Yeah, I remember what he said. He was going on about how Nietzsche said, 'That which does not kill us makes us stronger,' and then everybody just snapped," said U-M junior Karen St. Waldo. "I mean, what the hell? Do you feel any stronger? I certainly don't. This sucks. This sucks beyond belief."
A disturbance was also reported at a meeting of a student group devoted to Zen Buddhist meditation techniques. Attendees said that U-M junior Zack Belding stood up as the group was deep in thought, and shouted, "This is bullshit!" Belding, citing the stress of the loss to Appalachian State, then proclaimed he was "through with this peace and love crap" and "going out for a goddamn porterhouse."
"He was going on and on about the football game and how just sitting there only made it worse," recalled U-M graduate student Zephyr Nieldegard. "He destroyed the harmony of the entire group in seconds. It was horrible. Then he kicked open the door and stomped out, shouting about how he was going to -- ugh -- eat meat."
"I really don't know what Michelle sees in him anyway," Nieldegard added.
Campus officials say they are aware of the situation and are taking steps to address it. An additional twenty public safety officers have been deputized to the University's police force, where they will engage in student-pacification activities such as ticketing students' bicycles, ticketing students' cars, and ticketing students for petty offenses such as chalking sidewalks, loitering and possessing patchouli.
"Yes, I realize this may seem a bit counter-intuitive," said Inspector Clyde Argyle of the University's Department of Public Safety. "However, you have to understand that a lot of this is about students being angry. All we have to do is direct that anger against a monolithic force the students can do nothing about, and that would be us and our devotion to making sure the parking laws and petty ordinances of the campus are enforced at all times. Soon, they'll again be up in arms about our ever-present parking officers and they'll forget all about this."
"This all comes from the top, too," Argyle said. "I mean, I think we can all agree it would be a disaster if the students actually got together and worked on a clever plan to force the University to actually fire Lloyd Carr and Bill Martin, his miserable satrap of a boss. That's why we're following that old maxim -- God is with the patient, if they but know how to wait."Posted by Benjamin Kepple at September 2, 2007 06:30 PM | TrackBack