Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Silk Ties and Shiny Shoes

The town hall meeting yesterday regarding the closing of the Cactus Cafe was nothing more than an exercise in placation on the part of President Will Power and Texas Union director Andrew Smith. The latter of which who sat silently on the front row,back to the audience, head down like a cowering pup. Answering to no one, save a few prompting whispers to the president who repeatedly expressed his "appreciation" for our concerns and opinions. Would have been nice if he had shown as much appreciation for the truth. He was engaging in a so called dialogue about how to save the Cactus, all the while standing on the corpse of the place. The meeting was a sham. He walked in with an air of resolve and it was apparent that there was nothing to be said by anyone that could change his mind on the matter. When it came out that the actual number attached to the Cactus and justifying the cut was $66k a year, an audible gasp filled the room. When people offered to "cut a check right now", the president used students as shields to further protect the agenda,the board and himself. It was obvious that the Cactus had been in the cross hairs for a while and to think they thought they could get away with dragging it out behind the barn and killing it off is the most appalling notion of this whole mess. I remain hopeful and will continue to do all I can to fight it, but honestly I won't be surprised if a year from now some corporate entity sits on that site right along with the Starbucks,Taco Bell and Wendy's that sit near it now.


Save the Cactus said...

True, Juan Gonzales and Andy Smith never faced the audience. And President Powers said "I would agree with that" to everyone's comments, but never agreed with our pleas to save the Cactus. He wouldn't even agree to discuss options for the Cactus. Yet he kept telling each speaker "I agree with that" and "good points" or "constructive comments".

Jim Trainer said...

Concise write-up, Nathan. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

E. F. Schumacher coined the phrase “the tyranny of economic calculus” which means that if an endeavor doesn’t make a profit then it can’t possibly be worth doing. Seems the Cactus Café is doomed by this short term and not uncommon thinking. Students quoted saying the Cactus doesn’t meet their needs are being myopic. They won’t be students all their lives and some day after graduating and moving to Houston or Dallas they may return to the 40 acres. The Cactus Café is a great place to reconnect with campus. If the Cactus is closed on Mr. Powers' watch he will certainly be remembered... and I doubt this type of decision will encourage thousands of alumni to donate money to the University when it cannot be trusted to protect a beloved and symbolic place that is embedded in our culture and consciousness - the Cactus Cafe. Mary Gordon Spence said it all, “this is the last straw.”

NH said...

Well said. I keep seeing these students having a Homer SImpson moment years from now when they actually realize what they took part in dismantling.
Seriously though, in the short term, commerce almost always trumps art. But ultimately on a grander scale art and soul always get the last laugh. When Bill Powers and Andy Smith are gone they will be nothing more than a memory to a few. The music of Townes and those of his breed will live on vast and strong. Has always been the case. I say chin up to all supporters of the Cactus. If necessary we will find a new place to nurture what we all love and respect. Powers, Smith and all their brute intentions will burn and fade in time but (to paraphrase Leonard Cohen) the tower of song will prevail.