Every day on the WCC campus there are numerous references to ‘the gods.’ ‘The quads of the gods,’ ‘enumerated among the gods,’ even, ‘the will of the gods,’ are a few examples of common usages. What is behind the trend? Are the rumors of neo-paganism on liberal arts campuses true? It would be concerning if they were in this case, since WCC stands for Wyoming Catholic College. Now, however, there is new evidence to shed light on the possible meaning of these apparently polytheistic tendencies.
A respected archeologist by the name of Dr. Granley Stove was in an undisclosed location near the city of Lander, Wyoming, in search of the long-lost mineral claims known as the, ‘Four Apple-Green Jade Fields,’ which were rumored to be in the area, when the ground beneath him gave way. He woke up in a stone chamber, surrounded by great figures on stone pedestals. He reports that his first sensation was fear, as he had come to rest on what he thought was an altar in the middle of the chamber, with a dull, radiating pain coming from his lower back, which also was damp. He could also smell cheap beer, so he knew that he was definitely in serious trouble to be hallucinating about that. He shifted slightly and there was a crunching sound. A metallic crunching sound. Reaching behind himself, he pulled out what remained of a Pabst Blue Ribbon can, the source of the dampness.
Reassured that he was not bleeding out and that MOI for spinal injury was, in fact, not probable, the good doctor eased off of the altar, which then fell apart as whatever material it was composed of destabilized and began sliding outward in all directions. Fascinated, he picked up on of the building blocks, only to discover that it was an old WCC course packet. Examining others, he found that the entire structure had been made up of more of the same. “Surely nobody would have been foolish enough to willingly part with this wealth of knowledge,” he mused to himself.
Opening the cover, he found the name of the guilty party and his countenance gave way to his characteristic smile. Tarker Fiedle… He should have known. That would explain the PBR, at any rate. A short distance away, Dr. Stove discovered magnificent editions of Homer’s Iliad and the Odyssey, both bound in embossed leather, clasped with gold, each page within having been lovingly created on vellum by some unknown hand, yet the work was such as would cause even the monastic beings behind the Book of Kells to feel some twinge of envy. These manuscripts, he knew, must be worth a college president’s ransom…
Turning his attention to the figures, the good doctor discovered that they were, in fact, fine examples of neoclassical style, carved from some form of metamorphic stone he could not recognize, which was very like Carrara marble, yet possessing color and texture variations which of its own merit seemed to make the features of the figures seem more alive even than those of Bernini’s Baroque masterpieces. One thing that he did note, much to his amusement, was that without exception, the figures of both genders were fully clothed. He deduced, chuckling to himself, that the artist must have been homeschooled.
He knew the type… Those students who would, even as WCC seniors, avert their eyes awkwardly as an image of the Aphrodite of Knidos by Praxiteles was projected on the wall during art class… However, as he turned his examination to the inscriptions at the base of each and looked still more closely, he realized that this hypothesis this was unlikely, as the artist was very good, seemingly a true artist, one who would be less likely to have such objections to portrayal of the beauty of the human body as such, but more importantly, he realized that the subject pool was unlikely to have whole-heartedly agreed with the morality of nude modeling in the first place, as he recognized in the name and face of each in turn as a student or one of the alumni of the College, but portrayed as one of the ancient figures of legend and deities, i.e., ‘the gods.’
There were dozens, not simply the Greek and Roman gods, but some from other cultures, including the Vikings, as well. There was an Ares, portrayed as Vomas Graab, right beside the shorter figure of Dionysius, portrayed by someone called, ‘Bilbo.’ Thor was there, in the figure of Mack Karter, as was Vulcan, being one Bill Brooks. Some of the gods were represented in both their Greek and Roman variations, such as the ‘goddess of the hunt,’ Artemis in the Greek, Diana for the Romans. The former was represented by one of the Alaskans, although Dr. Stove couldn’t be certain that the face matched, as the two graduate sisters were hard to keep straight on occasion. The latter was a current Senior from Wisconsin.
To his amusement, he found that none of the more potentially scandalous gods were represented. There was no Zeus, no Aphrodite, and no Cupid. There was, in fact, a pedestal for a Helen of Troy, who was not a goddess, but was apparently seen as fit to be included, yet, as the inscription noted, there had not yet been 1000 ships, nor for that matter, any number of ships launched for any WCC maiden, so there was no real consensus on who Helen of Troy might be best represented by.
Having found the exit, the archeologist sat down on the threshold to watch the sun sinking behind the Wind River Mountain Range. Cracking open a cold PBR he had found in a dusty minifridge behind one of the statues, he reflected on the things students will occupy themselves with besides homework. At least, he decided, based on the quality of the works within, the good, the true, and the beautiful must not be entirely lost on the creators of the bizarre monument. It might not be said, he decided, that they were not true liberal artists in some sense. “Best of all,” he mused, “we now know who ‘the gods’ are.”