In late spring, 1979, I played a knight in the cast of my Scarsdale High School senior class production of the musical farce, Once Upon a Mattress. I had a small singing and dancing role, in support of the male lead, Sir Harry, played by my classmate, Aaron Sorkin. Aaron went on to fame and fortune as the writer of such stage and film productions as A Few Good Men, Social Networking, and TV's West Wing. Not bad for a drama guy.
In today's Wall Street Journal (online edition, 5/19/15), I read an article about a graduating senior female at Columbia University (my grad school alma mater, as I have noted before), who dragged a bed mattress across the dais at her graduation ceremony (see "Columbia Student Graduates While Carrying Mattress"). Thus, the inspiration for today's blog post.
Good grief. Really? A mattress? At class commencement exercises? In front of all those parents who just dropped about $250,000 on a Columbia degree? Apparently, the student in question (she is named in the article, but that's not my point, here) had hauled a mattress around campus, and to her classes, during her senior year as part of a "school sanctioned art project" to "raise awareness of campus sexual assault," as stated in the WSJ article. The female student had been the alleged victim of an on-campus rape by a male classmate. I write "alleged," because the female student never filed charges with the New York Police Department, and the University apparently discontinued (my word; not sure if the term is accurate, but, this seems to be the gist of it) an internal investigation. The male student has filed a lawsuit against the University for what he says, according to the article, is "sustained harassment."
I also read in the article that the mattress-dragging female student had been the invited guest of my fellow Dartmouth College alumna, the Hon. New York Senator Kirsten Gillenbrand (Class of '84, one year after me) at President Obama's State of the Union Address, in January 2015. Gosh, the places people will go, with or without a mattress (with a groan and a nod to another famous Dartmouth alum, Theodore Geisel, Class of 1925, better known as Dr. Seuss.)