By Michael Sarko

I have no illusions concerning the feasibility of virtually dismantling the status quo of my absurdly over-populated Big 10 school. No amount of idealism has the power to take down a de facto Fortune 500 corporation. Even if such a task could be accomplished, I’ll have graduated by the time the full effect is taken and I would have nothing to show for it but the satisfaction of successful subversion. Complete deconstruction is no longer the purpose, as far as I am concerned. The highest pursuit has hence become discord for the sheer grim entertainment of its own sake.


CLEM is a state of mind, a way to occupy yourself while courting the bawdy whore that is your undergraduate degree. It is a part-time pastime involving confusion, subterfuge, and general embarrassment.

Its targets are not your six-figure paycheck professors and slimy administrative officials; the Animal House days of student body versus dean of students are long over. Call me Machiavelli, but it seems to me that your professors and administrators have succeeded in life, essentially scamming everyone into the sweetest con in history and reaping the benefits while others do the real work. In the case of this cold war, I’d rather leave the head well enough alone and take needles to the rest of the body. This means TA’s, RA’s, underpaid university staff, and college stereotypes. These people deserve to suffer because they are the horses driving the carriage of the myth of Higher Education.

The only time in human history when we were truly egalitarian was when we were a struggling nomadic species sharing the same everyday miseries and shortcomings. The purpose of CLEM is to help remind those in need of reminding of those dark foundational days.

Step 1: For the RA – Make dormitory living conditions truly unbearable.

Ruin your RA/tool’s week by playing up the most immediate discomfort of the dorm hall: stink. Most people use some sort of body spray to relieve their rooms and halls of the odor of human filth. Steal the spray and there will only be more in the future. Solution: Find a way to over-do the Axe and apple-scented slop to the point that everyone is literally sick of it. Without spray, the human stink will pervade throughout the hall and everyone will be brought closer to the base reality of cramped living conditions. This will accomplish nothing but irritability, which is exactly the point. Your RA will ultimately question his decision to play babysitter instead of getting an apartment like any self-respecting upperclassman instead of perpetuating the belief that dorm life will somehow be better “when I’m in charge.”It’s ridiculous enough that the average collegiate gets crammed into a closet with three other people, sharing sickness, sadness, and stench. Why make it worse? Because while stale bread will make you lose your appetite, maggot-infested bread will make you attack the baker. Remember, the true subversive doesn’t strike against the leader, he or she destructs the scaffolding beneath the leader.

Step 2: For the TA – Slowly expose them to the absurdity of their own lives.

Most TA’s are pretentious grad students who are convinced American universities are just handing out professorships. Most of them have never been out of school, which means they have been in the comfort of academia for roughly 15-20 years. That’s about the same as manslaughter in the first degree.

Bit by bit, dismantle their self-confidence by alternating between apathy and surprising intelligence. Make sure that they overhear you talking to a classmate about how some guy you know never even went to school and now he’s a millionaire. Every now and then, ask the TA seemingly innocent questions about their pseudo-intellectual fashion statements, commenting on how your last TA did the exact same thing, i.e. thick, black-rim glasses, khaki pants, and blonde-brown hair dying patterns. It also can’t hurt to hide subversive propaganda throughout the classroom, in school computers, and in subtle doses within your papers.

Step 3: Create chaos by exposing stereotypes.

Ya know that sensitive guy who’s always playing guitar on the school’s grassy knolls for the purpose of seeming deep and earthy? When he’s not looking, very slightly de-tune one or two of the strings. Nothing drastic, just a slight turn of the key. Tiny little bits of cacophony are the difference between sounding good and sounding amateur. He probably won’t even notice until he’s made a subconscious ass of himself.

For all those girls who manage to fix their hair and cake on makeup but can’t seem to dress themselves in the morning and so they go out in public wearing PJ’s…find an extremely public place on campus that has high student traffic, preferably a decent-sized body of water. Now, spend some of that hard-earned book money on two or three dozen pairs of flip-flops which you will scatter all around the public area. The message may be outwardly confusing and mostly subliminal, but they’ll never be able to look at minimalist footwear the same again. It’ll always leave a weird feeling in their stomachs.

Just remember: find the nerve center of your most hated stereotype and work it like a mail order bride.

These are just a few suggestions on how to CLEM up your school. You’ll never change the system, but you’ll confuse the hell outta people and get a few laughs while you’re at it. Discord is, in fact, a viable hobby.

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