It is important to resist the temptation to remember the past as we wish it had been, rather than as we honestly remember it. In Carol Fraser’s “Let Us Eat Cake,” this tendency to be nostalgic about the past rather than realistic about the present is particularly evident. The Arch Café was awesome. I sincerely loved it. But it’s gone, and the fact is that students simply don’t have the power to bring it back.
This is for a huge number of reasons, all of which are unfortunately converging to make student life at McGill increasingly, and possibly irredeemably, shittier. So what is there to do? Should we continue to allow ourselves to be mocked by a draconian, uncaring, callous administration? It’s after all clear to them that we are, for all our furious candour, merely “students being students.” Or should we accept what’s been lost and come to the realization that “mobilizing” for the sake of this café, excellent though it was, is not worth our time or effort? Should we keep railing for the sake of railing (or because our friends are doing so, as Sam Baker notes in “This Is My Beef,” Commentary, October 14), or should we find constructive outlets to concretely improve student life on campus?
All this is not to say that I disagree with the motives of or find childish the membership of groups like Mobilize McGill and I hope that’s not the impression given, because I sincerely think they manifest some of the only true nobility left on campus. This is just to say that, despite admirable motivations, they’re punching way above their weight when they should be busy building something worth fighting for.