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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 1. 1965.

Third Leader

Third Leader

Many people will remember the Pete Seeger hit of '64 entitled "Little Boxes". In this little ditty Seeger generalises for the Masses, making the sweeping statement that people today are all the same. In particular he tilts at the windmills of the University, which is in Seeger's simplified imagery a hillside covered with little boxes, these boxes being made of "ticky-tacky" and they "all look just the same". The task the University performs, Seeger suggests, is to fit its would-be scholars into these boxes—and the implication is that these boxes are little more than parti-coloured coffins.

This "Looking up from Lambton Quay vista a la Seeger" simplifies itself out of existence, however. Had Seeger looked inside these boxes he would have found that the contents did not "all look just the same". From the distance from which Seeger chooses to report these box-inhabitants would have looked more like miniature dolls than real people, but they would nevertheless be conspicuously different. And had Seeger wound up these dolls, their differences would have become more immediately apparent.

Seeger should see the Council doll; wind it up and . . . it makes a mistake. And meet its friend the Professorial Board doll; wind it up and it immediately resolves to take no action; our Public Relations doll is more enterprising: wind it up and it circulates. The library doll is decidedly antisocial: wind it up and it fines you. The Weir House doll is rather special: wound up it heads straight for Vic A, unlike the National Party Club doll which, whether anyone winds it up or not, pats itself continuously and very vigorously on the back. Our landlord doll—well, if you are fool enough to wind it up it takes the shirt off your back.

These are not all the dolls, of course, Mr. Seeger. If you come up here to see for yourself you will find many many more dolls—about 4300 more in fact—and all very different. First of all, Mr. Seeger, we will introduce you to our Vice-Chancellor doll—wind it up and it does as it damn well pleases.