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Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Collage Years Are the Best Years

Because they will probably never see the light of day otherwise, I've decided to post three unpublished (unpublishable?) issues of the Hamilton College Daily Bull composed when I was editor of this infamous broadside publication in 2008-09.

The black-and-white images that you see below would have each covered the front side of a single 8.5x14" bright yellow sheet of standard copy paper. On the back would have been two columns of local advertisements and campus community announcements for/pertaining to Hamilton and Clinton, N.Y. The bright yellow paper would have been visible in most public places on campus.

Though these particular issues went unpublished, for a while the collage technique used to create them served as standard practice for The Bull. And the issues that did make it to print stirred up quite a bit of confusion and controversy. If there were a clipping service at work on the critical reception of The Bull from this period, it would turn up a lot of opinion pieces like this one from the Hamilton College Spectator:

"The Daily Bull is a unique and quirky publication that finds its ways onto our dining tables to provide students with a spot of smug humor here and there. However, recently it has taken an extremely strange direction. Now we get random collages of pictures of overtly sexual themes and often are subjected to jokes and humor that does not make sense to anyone except the person who wrote it.

"The Daily Bull is not useless -- it allows students to request that lost and stolen items be returned, but it still has become more annoying over time. A once enjoyable and semi-respectable publication has taken a turn for the bland and boring.

"Shouldn't Hamilton students get a voice of whether the distribution of these materials should be aloud
[sic] in our common social spaces?"

I think most editors of The Daily Bull, those who preceded me and those who succeeded me, would agree that publishing that rag is like a bizarre sociological experiment. It makes a general audience captive to an "underground publication." Of course, the real irony is that there is no student underground at a college with only 1,700 students; there are just those who get it and those who don't. The collage years are indeed the best years. It will never again be that easy to shock and mystify an audience.


  1. Peart, i see you have fallen into this racket. i prefer to mentor Virginia youths and teach english in an ESOL format exclusively using Apolon's book of Bulls. I hope you write me back and help alleviate some of my professional concerns. Give my regards to the other half of your orange; she who compliments your elegant coif.

  2. Apolon's Bull is the definitive document on The Bull. But it's out of print! You have to go to the Hamilton archive now to read it.

    So I hope this "racket" drums up a little belated publicity for an era/aura of the publication that is now gone. The decisive moment: when Dean Urgo left the college.