Berkeley, California- January 31, 2010. It was with great pride and immense pleasure that we here at the UC Movement for Efficient Privatization (UCMeP) hosted what most certainly was one of the most anticipated, talked about, and privatized events of the year.
In a glamorous yet secretive ceremony on Friday afternoon, January 29, UCMeP honored Berkeley’s official spokesperson Dan “Big-D” Mogulof by naming him the Top Outstanding Oratorical Leader (TOOL) of the Year. Originally, the ceremony was to be a public affair held in Big-D’s office with attendance open to the entire campus community. Yet Big-D’s surprising reticence to being named TOOL of the Year in public led us to scale down our plans for a grandiose public spectacle. In the end, the event was held in a highly secured undisclosed location in front of 90 pre-invited guests with a strictly enforced media blackout (at Big-D’s firm behest). The elite invite-only audience included students, faculty, employees, alumni, administrators, and members of the UC Police Department. Most importantly, the man of the hour, Big-D himself, was on hand to receive his award.
This private gala in honor of Berkeley’s director of public affairs was full of memorable moments. The sights, the sounds, the food, the moderately invasive security checks, and, of course, the fact that elite members of UC Berkeley’s administration finally came out of hiding to support Big-D made the heavily fortified event something none of us will soon forget (you can find pictures and more information on the event at https://ucmep.wordpress.com/projects/).
Considering all Big-D has been through in recent months – the beatings, the arrests, the taserings, the tear-gassings, the police raids, the massive tuition hikes – UCMeP was just so pleased to celebrate his equanimity and meritorious ability at keeping such a straight face through it all.
While the fun and glamour of the award ceremony was thoroughly enjoyed by all (okay, most) of those in attendance, UCMeP was taken aback by a slew of hasty emails and unsavory comments we have received criticizing what guests described as Big-D’s “refusal” to engage in anything remotely resembling dialogue during the event’s concluding question and answer session. Some noted a profound irony in Big-D’s repeated assertions that he wanted to build “dialogue” on campus, all the while offering time-consuming evasions, rambling non-sequiturs, and hollow compliments to those in attendance (who were all dressed very snazzily, we should say). Still others seemed flabbergasted by Big-D’s inexplicable decision to shut-down the event (after a gracious 20 minutes of fielding questions), claiming he had to go to an important meeting at 1:00PM, only to hang around the event venue drinking lemonade, eating cake, and chatting with adoring fans until 1:45PM.
With this said, UCMeP would like to take a moment to address all of the misguided accusations that have been leveled against Big-D as a result of his reticent performance on Friday. False charges of Big-D’s “refusal to engage in dialogue” are not founded in anything Big-D said or did at the event. Rather, we here at UCMeP believe that such uninformed opinions are directly attributable to the misleading connotation that the word “dialogue” currently carries in English-speaking societies.
While one might be tempted to think that “dialogue” has something to do with two parties engaging in some sort of exchange of ideas through communicatory practices, this is actually a very incorrect (and not to mention dangerous) definition of “dialogue.” For those of you who have been misled by this populist connotation of “dialogue,” as well as its established denotative meaning (only in dictionaries…), UCMeP is happy to clarify for you the meaning that Big-D attributes to the word “dialogue.”
Beneath the influential populist connotations and official albeit specious denotations of “dialogue” lay its permanent etymological roots. Visually, the word “dialogue” (like the merits that so many liberals ascribe to it) is nothing but deceptive. After all, the first two letters are “di” which could lead even the most vigilant to believe that “dialogue” involves some sort of “two-ness.” In actual fact, however, the prefix of “dialogue” is, of course, “dia-” which has a completely different meaning than “di-.” As in “diachronic” or “diagnosis,” the stem “dia-” means “through” or “across.” Therefore, etymologically “dialogue” actually has nothing at all to do with exchanging ideas or words. It simply has to do with doing something across and/or through speaking or writing (“-logue”).
Being the careful and inimitable rhetorician he is, we should not hold it against Big-D for preferring the more immutable etymological meaning of this much-misused term, instead of falling victim to the whims and fancies of the English language’s casual colloquial evolution. It should be clear then that when Big-D repeatedly espoused building “dialogue” through his gratuitous homilies-disguised-as-answers-to-questions-that-didn’t-address-the-questions-asked, he was not in any way being duplicitous. Rather, he was brilliantly performing the very strict etymological interpretation of the word “dialogue” he so ardently believes in. With this understanding of the term “dialogue,” we are all certainly in store for another “exciting” semester here at UC Berkeley!
Given the fact that the vast majority of the UC community will never make it to Big-D’s linguistic level (partially due to the “necessary” budget “allocations” away from basic writing and composition courses at the UC), UCMeP would like to encourage Big-D to take on a new nickname to help avoid confusion in the future: Dan “The Monologue” Mogulof. Not only do these rhythmic syllables sound almost as soothing and natural as those of a baton pummeling an undergraduate, but they will also work to clear up any befuddlement as to Big-D’s preferred tactical choice as Executive Director of Strategic Communications.
We desperately hope that nasty rumors defaming Big-D’s brilliantly monologic performance on January 29 do not sully this man’s otherwise pristine reputation on campus. For all of you claiming that Big-D is dense, unresponsive, and merely a tool (in the negative sense of the word), UCMeP encourages you to challenge him to a public debate (although we do recommend you come prepared with an egg-timer). While you’re at it, UCMeP suggests you send similar requests to all those misunderstood administrators and up-to-now-totally-silent Regents who, we are certain, are just itching to tell you about the wonderful things they have been up to since they were forced into seclusion last July…
Finally, we would like to thank Vice Chancellor Nathan Brostrom for “making the effort” (as Big-D said) to drop by the award ceremony for 15 minutes. We find it heartening that the administration is so eager to engage in such a sincere and substantial manner. And please do not read too much into the timing of his departure on Friday – he meant absolutely nothing by making his exit at the very moment we all gathered arm-in-arm to sing “Kumbaya.” Mr. Brostrom simply was late to a pressing appointment in his new role as Vice President of Business Operations. We hear this was an exciting meeting with Bain & Company devoted to figuring out how the UC could best use the skills Mr. Brostrom learned while at JP Morgan to further drive public education into the ground(s of Bear Stearns’ vault).