I recently re-read The Green Man, a fanciful novel by the late British writer Kingsley Amis. In it he briefly describes his character’s visit to his old alma mater, the University of Cambridge, as follows:
I found a parking space only a hundred yards from the main gate. The outer walls bore chalked or whitewashed slogans here and there: COMMUNALIZE COLLEGE ESTATES, NUDE LIE-IN GIRTON 2.30 SAT., EXAMS ARE TOTALITARIAN. First one whiskered youth in a frugiferous shirt, then another with long hair like oakum, scanned me closely as they passed, each slowing almost to a stop the better to check me for bodily signs of fascism, oppression by free speech, passive racial violence, and the like.
Amis wrote that paragraph 50 years ago. Fascism, oppression by free speech, passive racial violence — truly, there is nothing new under the sun.Published in