Spring Break Stories

Beer, heavily spiked fruity concoctions, limited clothing, lots of Sun and parties that change venues rather than begin or end form the back bone of spring break mythology. Maybe you even remember Elvis Presley's spring break movie, Girl Happy or some other classic film like Where the Boys Are to give some substance to the lore. Not the same as MTV doing live coverage of bikini contests in Daytona but stories have to start someplace if they want to grow into legends. For those with a more serious approach, visit springbreak.com for the history of spring break or an alternative version from coolestspringbreak.com. With all of the spring break information on the web, the surprise is that there is not an archive of oral histories. Sounds like a job for Story Chip!

Some years ago, one of my students submitted a piece for the school paper that attempted to put some perspective on his legendary adventure with spring break that included parties, Sun, lots of drinking and aspirations of finding bikinis with removable tops.

“We can't print that! It's misogynistic!” was the immediate response from one of the young women working on the layout of the paper.

Politics and editing rarely find peaceful coexistence. I now had a golden opportunity to offer experiential learning about the freedom of expression rather than a time to satisfy an approach to the politics of gender.

Sadly, learning was swept away by the politics of the indignant. My efforts to explain that the author of the piece could be a misogynist if he wanted as it represented his opinion were met with derision. My careful explanation that one is not required to agree with or even read past the second paragraph, but stories have to be told from all points of view before we can understand any event only fanned the the flames of censorship. The slippery slope of prior restraint becomes steeper and slicker when wrapped in righteous indignation.

All of this comes to mind as the annual excess of spring break and the Academy Awards are upon us. The question of whether spring break is an exercise in hedonism or misogynism will again be debated and Seth McFarlane has already been proclaimed a misogynist for his hosting of the Academy Awards. In both cases, there are stories to tell from many points of view. The archival history at Story Chip wants stories from all perspectives so that the reader can make choices about the meaning of events. We have to know that some stories will offend some readers because we know even more certainly that some events will offend us.

One quick note of the coming of spring. My 91 year old mother and one of her contemporaries just packed up for two weeks in Florida. I asked her what kind of plans they had made for their stay. She told me without even a hint of laughter that she was planning to spend the time lying around on the beach, soaking up the Sun. Her explanation left me with a vision of the two of them covered head to foot reclining in the sand. Somehow, I do not think that drinking and volleyball will be involved in her spring break from the cold of winter.

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