Sunday’s goodness knows what

  • Florida State University in Tallahassee, where I received my BA, hasn’t been the powerhouse football team for some years it once was, so I’m happy with every win, especially against in-state rivals Miami and the University of Florida. Last night, the Seminoles beat the Miami Hurricanes  45-3. Meanwhile, Houston won the World Series. I should mention that the term “Seminole” is not a mascot but the name of the team with the written permission of the never-conquered Seminole Nation. FSU and the Seminole Nation have been working together for decades on cultural and educational programs.
  • Many southerners won’t use fifty-dollar bills because they don’t like Grant’s picture on them. If I could, I would avoid using the twenty-dollar bill because Jackson’s picture is on them. He killed Indians in Florida with a vengeance and is the architect of and the force behind the inexcusable Trail of Tears. Fortunately, his picture is scheduled to be removed by 2030. That’s not soon enough for me. However, time is needed to design the anti-counterfeit system for the currency.
  • The next book on my reading list now that I’ve finished rereading The Tiger’s Wife is Inland, also by Téa Obreht. The novel was released two years ago which shows how far behind I am in my reading. In its review, “Entertainment Weekly” wrote, “What Obreht pulls off here is pure poetry. It doesn’t feel written so much as extracted from the mind in its purest, clearest, truest form.” I hope that turns out to be the way I feel about it. None of you should be surprised when I say that I’m always attracted by good novels written in the magical realism genre.
  • NPR’s interview with author Richard V. Reeves Men are struggling. A new book explores why and what to do about it caught my attention because there’s not much of a focus on men these days because men are (rightfully, I think) considered to be part of the problem. Any problem. I think some people go too far with that point of view, but that’s the current climate. According to NPR, “Titled Of Boys and Men, the book explores the economic, social and cultural shifts that have forced men to the sidelines of the economy, including the loss of jobs in male-dominated fields such as manufacturing and the influx of women into the workforce, diminishing the need for men to serve as providers for their families.” This book should be the basis for some interesting conversations. Reeves believes that “The danger with even raising the specific challenges of boys and men is that it will be seen as a distraction from ongoing efforts to help women and girls. I think that’s a false choice. Partly as a result of the changes of recent decades, we both can and should now pay attention to both sides of gender inequality.”
  • I see Yahoo “news” because one of my e-mail accounts in on their system. Every day, I see headlines like these: “Salma Hayek Took Everyone’s Breath Away in This Daring & Curve-Hugging Ombre Gown at the LACMA Gala” and “Kendall Jenner’s Skirt Slung So Low, It Showed off the Hem of Her Sheer Bodysuit Underneath.” My first response is “Who cares.” My second is, “Why does Yahoo have a daily feature story (or two or ten) about celebrities wearing revealing outfits?” I have no answers for such things.


The Sacrifice

In 1959 when I was a high school student in Tallahassee, Florida and my father was the dean of the Florida State University School of journalism, the state’s board of regents (then called the board of control) decreed that FSU’s journalism school would close. The reason, which was never spelt out, was probably politics. Purportedly, the state thought it was spending too much money duplicating degrees at Florida State and the University of Florida in Gainesville.

  • Needless to say, both universities provided similar degree programs in a multitude of subjects. So, there was a duplication in many areas.
  • Of the two schools, the one at the University of Florida was weaker in terms of faculty and equipment.
  • My father was the most widely known journalism educator in the state. One wonders if he unknowingly stepped on somebody’s toes.

FSU teaches media courses under the auspices of a School of Communication. However, I think it is missing many courses that should be taken by anyone planning to be a reporter. 

The professors in the school of journalism were spun off into other departments, English among other things, or–like my father–received offers from other universities. My father had taught at many of them already as he followed his career prior to FSU. He chose to stay at FSU after the journalism school was destroyed and became a professor of English Education.

In 1959, I resented this. My father seldom spoke of the politics of higher education. While he was vocal in the press about the closing of the FSU journalism school, he never exactly told my two brothers and me why he wasn’t taking a position at another journalism school. My mother told me that he was making a sacrifice on behalf of the family because he felt we were so invested in Tallahassee (school, church, scouting, friends) that it would be unfair to us to force us to return to California or New York or Oregon where he had previously taught.

I told her that my dad’s career was more important than the hassles of moving to a new town and finding our way in new schools. She told me never to tell him that.  I didn’t.

The Scottish Clan Campbell’s motto is “forget not.” I do not forget and I often do not forgive. So the alumni association of Florida State University hasn’t made any headway getting me to join, nor have they received a dime of my money. When they ask for my reasons, I tell them and they say that was long ago and I say so what?

In 1959, I wanted a family meeting about living in Tallahassee or moving away. If we had one, I have no memory of it. It saddens me, though, this long after the fact, that I still do not agree with the sacrifice my father made for the family 62 years ago. And it angers me that FSU was too frightened of its own shadow to stand up strongly in support of its journalism school.

It was, I think, lose-lose for everyone in 1959, but there are times on long summer nights when I remember it like it happened yesterday, and think that it was all so unnecessary.


Malcolm R. Campbell

Publisher: Thomas-Jacob Publishing


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