viral contagion dubbed academia reported in burlington

by sophiewolfe

BURLINGTON:  On October 32nd, 2021, the Vermont Health Department made the first public statement regarding the ailment which has been spreading throughout the state in recent weeks. The people of Vermont, largely students at the University of Vermont, have been reporting alarming academic symptoms. The Disease of Academia (a temporary name, one could only assume) is rapidly making its way across the school’s campus, and is sure to expand throughout the state, affecting both children and the elderly. Even your cat could be exposed.  

Our reporters spoke to several students who had recently been exposed to this life-altering condition. Anyone on our staff speaking to these individuals wore hazmat suits, so as not to become absolute nerds themselves. One particularly disturbed student spoke only in fragments of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. When asked how they were feeling that day, this student replied, “Two things fill the mind with renewed and increasing awe and reverence the more often and the more steadily that they are meditated on: the starry skies above me and the moral law inside me. I have not to search for them and conjecture them as though they were veiled in darkness or were in the transcendent region beyond my horizon; I see them before me and connect them directly with the consciousness of my existence”. The eyes were bloodshot, the voice monotone. This poor kid spoke as if controlled by some invisible greater force, having lost any sense of autonomy they may once have carried within themselves. We briefly attempted to translate these ramblings before remembering that we are not (and will never be) philosophy majors. 

Besides the dramatic changes in speech patterns, other recently reported symptoms have included a shift in personal style. The Disease of Academia has been known to diminish physical strength, not to mention sexual vigor. In order to make up for the loss of muscle, victims of the disease have been piling on the corduroy, both to keep their fragile bodies warm and to hide their newfound frailty. Experts have noted the presence of elbow patches on corduroy jackets, as well as the prevalence of self-describing ‘skaters’ now transitioning their look into something that can only be described as Jeff Goldblum On Thanksgiving. Young college students who previously displayed their anti establishment beliefs by exclusively wearing poorly fitting jeans and secondhand t-shirts that advertised archaic charity 5Ks or holiday parades are now buttoning their top buttons and purchasing blazers. They are smoking cigarettes again, either because they believe that their reading of Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal is incomplete without them, or because they have a complicated tendency toward self-destruction. 

In our most recent conversation with one of the afflicted, our reporters asked the question: What is the cure for this disease? Could such a thing exist? Knowing the patients and their proclivity for abstraction, we expected some theoretical response invoking Jacques Derrida and deconstructionism or something. Instead, this particular student only stared back. She shook her head, her giant corduroy jacket bristling against her neck. “Only the STEM majors are safe,” she said. “For the rest of us, it’s too late.”

Categories: news, nov. 9, sophie wolfe, vol 25

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