Yes, it was a very snowy weekend. The Blizzard of 2013 howled for about 24 hours, starting mid-day on Friday. By Saturday afternoon, the sun was peeking out, and yesterday was a fantastic day — beautiful blue skies and crisp, without being too cold.
The snowstorm set the stage for a student-imposed assignment. Via the Social List, a snowball fight challenge was issued. Then a series of messages followed organically that could have been the response to an exam essay prompt. It started with a challenge from the Class of 2013 (primarily second-year students):
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Fletcher students are not created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with unequal powers of wit, passion, and brevity. That to secure these lofty ideals, warriors are called upon, deriving their merry powers from the spirit of their greater lot. …The Class of 2013 calls upon its men and women — aspiring scholars, philanthropists, and diplomats — to eschew peace this once and to arm themselves with snow to remake the Fletcher School once more.
Soon after, the details of the call to snowball-laden arms went out:
For all those who are aching for an all-out battle, ready your snow horses and bayonets. Sunday Evening, Fletcher Field, 5 PM. Class of 2013 to gather at north end along Ginn. Class of 2014 to gather at south end of the field along Professor’s Row. (I know this doesn’t fit the dictates of modern warfare, but I think it’ll be more dramatic this way.)
The Class of 2014’s response:
Normally we do respect old people. However you, class of 2013, want this and you will get what you deserve!
And then an assortment of comments, many from the Class of 2013, who seemed to have more theory to weave into their snow-warmongering:
We did not seek war. But 2014 has left us with no choice. The 2013 PeaceMALDs have decided to join their WarMALD colleagues, along with other courageous men and women of the distinguished 2013 corps, in this quest to rid Cabot of tyranny, ageism, and first-year brazenness.
Due to the lack of acknowledgement by the Class of 2013, the Swiss Council at the Fletcher School has, in an unprecedented meeting, decided to abandon its long-standing policy of neutrality and we call on all other neutral nations to follow us in this historic step. We will proudly provide our extraordinary expertise in the discipline of snow fights to the Class of 2014, which has shown tremendous effort to reach out to the Swiss delegation.
MIB SnowPowder, LLC will be setting up a ready-made snowball factory shop located on the east side of the field. Our mission is to anticipate our customers’ needs and to stay on the leading edge of technology in the snow-arm industry, and provide quality snow-ammo and services at a reasonable price. Mini ice buckshots will be sold for a quarter a piece, while our devastating snow bombs will be priced at 2 dollars.
The Fletcher Humanitarian Community will provide access to emergency care for war-wounded people. We will offer assistance to people based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender, or political affiliation. Our actions are guided by medical ethics and the principles of independence and impartiality. We do not take sides in armed conflicts, we provide care on the basis of need, and we push for independent access to victims of conflict as required under international humanitarian law. You can recognize us in pink shirts with glittery unicorn emblems.
As a man of peace, as an attorney, as a man of good will, as a father and husband, I call upon you all, ambassadors of peace and good will, to avoid war. Do not be a realist. It is not about the survival of both classes. It is about peace, and cooperation for the common good. I am not taking any side in this moment of tension, but I am willing to be a mediator to settle the dispute. I am not talking about a peace enforcement mission under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. I am talking about trying to settle the dispute for the benefit of the whole community. Let’s negotiate the historic Hall of Flags peace accord…Give peace a chance…
The emerging security paradigm of this post-Nemo world has blurred the lines between combatant and non-combatant. This war amongst the people can and will get messy. We must be prepared for the war after the war. We must be prepared for the known knowns, the known unknowns, and the unknown unknowns.
And, finally, a note of sanity from a first-year student:
Dear God, will the second years stop at nothing to procrastinate on their theses?? How many innocent first years need to be pelted by snowballs before that lit review section finally gets written?