WHO WANTS THE TRUTH IF IT'S BORING?

Alexander J. Young

Abstract


Though the title of this article may well have roots elsewhere, I read it on the men's room wall in the Student Union Building at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Appearing with it were other "seventyisms" such as: "Incest is Relative," "Minnie Mouse wears stretch pants" and "Monday will be cancelled 'cause of lack of interest." They led me to believe that graffiti of this kind might be a key to the genre of the age? August Mau, in his epoch work, Pompeii, Its Life and Art, described a Pompeiian wall on which was inscribed, Romula hic cum Staphylo moratur, "Romula tarried here with Staphylus," and another, Restitutus multas decepit saepe puellas, "Restitutus has many times deceived many girls. Somehow, the Pompeiians appear more human when these remarks are added to the petrified remains of what was once an important society.

There is certainly something (I almost said some essence) to be gleaned from the walls of today's toilets. When I first read, "Who wants the truth if it's boring," I laughed. After serious reflection (I was at the time in an ideal setting for contemplation), I was left with the feeling that an historian some two thousand years hence might give his eye teeth for these quotes. Since the wall of the men's room will be long gone, I thought I'd better try to see them published. The rest of this article can be left out of the time capsule.

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