|The army of WCC in JPM’s 2019 Wyominad movie|
Dr. Baxter’s epic, The Wyominad, is primarily read in light of its treatment of the revolutionary days of Wyoming Catholic College in the external battle between the Wyoming I.R.A. and the Antifa/NOLS front. In the time frame Baxter covers, this was of course`the primary conflict, but less noticed, although intricately woven into his epic work, is another internal conflict, where confusion and differences brought nearly violent and unnecessary altercation. Although ultimately resolved, that this philosophical struggle occurred between the “poetic rose thinkers” and the “disco bouncers” gives the epicness to the struggle whereby only divine influence and unity, as was brought by the reconciliation of Andrew and Janelle could unify the school in time to defend it from external attack.
Events had already begun to unfold to this moment when the fates deemed Janelle and Andrew Russell by varying circumstances to be part of the Class of 2022. Time reached across to this pivotal moment in history, some say by the influence of these gods themselves, others that a higher Providence had brought Andrew/Janelle to be in the same class. But the simplest explanation may be Andrew’s particular favor upon a Sophomore named Rinju when he said, “Then I realized: Rinju IS the party” (Russell, 221). This suggests a sort of love for party as borne out by Andrew’s later leadership of the Disco Bouncers but whether or not he knew that events would so unfold as they did, he ended up in the same class as Janelle, and both arrived in Lander in July of 2018.
Andrew distincted himself in the Freshman Expedition as an emergency leader of the Fifth Regiment when it fell under attack from both natural forces and Antifa/NOLS guerillas. Although two students died, his fame in the Fifth Regiment gave his classmates trust and hope in him, whom they started to come to as an arbitrator of disputes, such as that which occurred between Matthew Kubisch and John Malinoski on the subject of khaki pants and black shoes combinations. But then suddenly, Andrew’s divine happy menas shone forth. One day he was, although beginning to have fame, one who would say “Domino’s, non sum dignus” but the next day he was a cult leader with a cult following and seven wives. Janelle became one of them as Andrew’s cult, an assortment of disco bounders, filled the school with laughter, and anti-menas through his comedic attitude and continuous blessing of Carol “Its Carol’s birthday today.”
But Carol, and yes, many other women, did not accept Andrew’s grace, and this is where division began within the Freshman class. Janelle, previously one of Andrew’s wives, started her own community of husbands, claiming deity by the achievement of seven just as Andrew did. She was not quite as successful at her ends as was Andrew but importantly she moved away from the disco bouncer mode, likely at least partially because of critical and negative treatment of her Canadian homeland at the Senior’s Christmas Dance. She entered with her followers into the philosophy of the poetic rose but the division arising from such a move between her followers and Andrew’s soon led into division, and as was ultimately the case, at the worst possible of times.
In January of 2019 it was time for the Freshman to plan their first dance for the school, and although they were not deeply involved personally at the contentious planning meetings, Andrew’s and Janelle’s movements soon came into bitter conflict. I must unfortunately redact the exact details discussed for national security purposes, but an adopted Freshman (actually Senior) Dominick Antunes present at the first meeting had only two words to say, words he did not utter, but only, barely, notate: “Needs leadership”. Menas flowed through the school as ideas bounced between the Freshman rockers. Although a school leader had once said, “If we break something it’s totally fine” the menas that threatened to destroy the meeting carried destructive force that would negate even their iron statements of “it’s fine”.
So the class was divided, until Blaise the Sick and Savage, a sort of disco bouncer but with the deep and rocker spirit of a poetic metalhead thought of something. He raised his hand – and there was silence. And he spoke, “a Circus, a Circus”. There was silence for a moment, and then equivocation. The poetics thought of a philosophical study of music and culture, a historical lesson, while the the disco bouncers thought of bounce houses, juggling knives and breathing fire alike the fire nation which visited Lander in November of 2018. In their deep equivocation both sides liked the idea. There was hope that Thanksgiving would not have to be a war, there was a chance at peace for the year by the fact of equivocation. Redeemed, equivocation no longer was destroying the world, but unifying the class around a term that each could interpret for himself – Circus.
So they went with the Circus theme, several students thinking a Roman circus was implied, dressing as gladiators, some cooking as if for a fair, some dressed as wild creatures for an “animal” display, and some as birds worms and trees as they had so learned to admire such from Andrew. And the equivocation, while not lending itself to the best of dances ended up saving the school. For the night of the dance was the day NOLS and Antifa attacked. The Sophomores laughed, the Juniors quoted their authors’ sayings on foolishness, and the Seniors just ignored the dance and discussed philosophy but in the midst of the jeering when the bandits began to attack the Frat, the ‘22ers roared into action. Those who had anticipated a Roman Circus fought off Antifa, those who anticipated a fair distracted a few of the NOLSeys while the rest were wared away from fighting by the sight of the animal costumed students. Through all this the Wyoming IRA, ready for action, was not even needed, but did a trumphal march through Lander as peace was restored, the cosmic order preserved and balance maintained as Andrew and Janelle gave up their cults in favor of joint management of Irkutsk Ice Truckers, unifying all classes through joint study of an unequivocal new subject, metal, under Professor Nemec’s direction.
Equivocation was needed for the moment, and although as spoken by Janelle, usually “destroys world peace” in this case actually led to unity and univocation. Thus the Wyominad’s true message is of the benefit of balance in philosophical terms. It can not be taken as gospel in all circumstances, but perhaps a little balance could go somewhere such as accepting equivocation, WCCLE V as a group of heroes and not as wimps, and allowing the pursuit of grades to an extent. WCC was saved by this divine balance and as Baxter concludes the Wyominad:
For man is now to be free
But less than those in the sea
And he is nearly a bird
Have you never heard
For I think man almost better than a worm
When Leo’s won has for god, the raid of the dorm
And all bow before the king and lord
Without need of the sword.
So bring a toast for the king
That Andrew is king
And let none be fret
For Andrew is no dimwit.
Baxter, Dr. Jason, The Wyominad. New York: Baxter Books, 2014
Russell, Andrew, Evangelium Andreii. Lander: Wiominga Libri, 2018, pg. 65-8
Witzaney, Janelle, Equivocation and World Peace. Lander, PEAK, 2016