Chaos in Print: The Further Adventures of the Scarecrow – The Interview

Hi! Firstly, I should say that I am not the Scarecrow. This is Mark Cappis. You are probably wondering why I am writing the Scarecrow’s column this month. Well, Scarecrow and I have been friends for a long time. We met in first year, got to know each other, now we hang out and watch Star Trek and stuff like that. And, when Scarecrow got on this ten-most-interesting-people list, he said he’d sure like someone to interview him. Impressed with that letter I wrote in the December Dag, he called me up and asked if I’d be the interviewer. He said that “This would be [his] last chance to tell people what [he] really thinks.” Unable to turn down a challenge like this, I gladly accepted. So, we decided to get together one Friday afternoon in the coffee-house, and the witty banter began:

Mark Cappis> Firstly, I guess I should ask the question that a lot of people would like to know. What’s with the name “Scarecrow?”

Scarecrow> To quote a wise man, we are all of two hearts: one we keep in light, the other in shadows. I believe that to truly know yourself, you must delve into your soul, and face your two hearts. I have seen the heart I keep in shadows. I have wrestled with it. I have controlled it. I have named it. That name is…Scarecrow. That, and the Scarecrow is my favorite villain on Batman.

MC> Okay…. How about your show’s name, Chaos in a Box?

SC> Well, one of my favorite laws of physics is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Basically put, it states that the disorder of the universe is constantly increasing. Now, the disorder, or entropy as it’s called in the sciences, is unmeasurable. But, the change in entropy is. We can only measure it in an isolated system. The best way to isolate a system is to put it in a box. If we isolate the universe, we would be putting it in one huge box. Disorder is another word for chaos. So, the chaos in a box is constantly increasing. Chaos in a Box is a statement about the nature of the very universe. Cool, eh? And you just thought it was something that sounded neat. On a related note, I just finished reading this cool book called The Sandman: Season of Mists, in which the physical manifestation of absolute order was a box, and the physical manifestation of absolute chaos was a child. Very cool.

MC> Expanding now, you have been a supporter of the radio station ever since the day you started coming here. What’s the big deal?

SC> When I was 10 years old, my parents took me to see the movie Good Morning, Vietnam, and it put just one thought in my head: being a DJ is cool. I swore then that someday, I would be a DJ. So, doing my show is more the realization of a dream than anything else. I know, some think that university is a place to start fulfilling your dreams, not a place to actually have them fulfilled, but it happened to me.

MC> Also, when we started coming here, the big issue at the time was is the station worth it? and that it was victim of poor management. Having been here for three and a half years now, how do you think the station has changed since then?

SC> Man, that’s not a loaded question! Well, you’ve got to keep in mind that I started coming here about halfway through the year, so I don’t know the extenuating circumstances of that year. But, the next year, we had Lowell Dahlman, and the first article in the Dag saying how poorly the station was being run. Now, I knew Lowell. I thought he was a pretty decent guy, and did a good job with what he did. He had his attempts to boost listenership with things like “Wadio Wednesday,” but for some reason they didn’t go over too well. Next up, we had Kiersten Hainstock. She, in retrospect, was a victim of circumstance. A few months into the year, she fell ill, and was devoting too much time to just staying alive than running the station. But, she tried damned hard, and I think a lot of people just tied into her unjustly last year. Now, we have Erik Bjorgan. Back in October, he really got the ball rolling. We were cataloging CD’s, we got on the air (89.1 FM, for those who still don’t know), but at about December, things just kind of stopped. If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed, it’s that station managers seem to come in strong, preaching reforms and how great the year is going to be, but then at about December they just kind of stop. It’s like the novelty of running the station wears off. To tell the truth, I’ve never really seen any difference in management over the years.

MC> How do you think Erik’s been doing this year?

SC> He’s been doing pretty good. As I told him the other day, this was the first year in along time that there hasn’t been an angry column in the Dag saying how poorly the station is being run. That means he’s either doing a good job, or people just don’t care anymore. I choose the former.

MC> You mentioned Good Morning, Vietnam as being an inspiration. As I recall, the movie really had a lot to do with angering the establishment. Have you tried to use your show to “Anger the establishment?”

SC> No, that’s what the Dag’s for. [Laugh]

MC> Speaking of the Dag, what drove you to expand into doing a column?

SC> Well, back in November, ’96, I wrote a little column with the simple message of “Listen to my show, it rocks!” In April, ’97, I wrote a follow-up with the theme “My show rocked all year!” The response I got to those columns was great, so I started doing it as a regular thing, and never looked back.

MC> With the Dag being one of the more controversial elements on campus today, what do you think of it?

SC> I’m a little afraid to respond, because this may lead to my column never being printed again! But, I do think that they are a little too committed to stirring up trouble. I mean, it’s nice that they question society. It’s the only way to get things changed. But the ultimate goal of questioning is to get an answer. Rather than asking a question to get an answer, they take the attitude “Hey! People will get pissed if we ask this!” To top it all off, the paper seems to be run by a little clique. The only reason, I think, that my column even gets printed is because I’m on the outer fringes of that clique. So, they’re inbred and they’ve become rebels without a cause. I can hardly wait until the day they sell-out.

MC> Sell out? Elaborate.

SC> Face it! It’s nice that they scream “Fuck the system that fuck’s you!” but that’s not an attitude to live with. A case in point is our dynamic duo of editors. If you notice, Lucas Warren has written a lot less politically motivated articles this year than he has last year. Why? Because he’s married now. He’s got a wife to think about. If he pisses off the establishment, there goes his meal ticket. So, in that context, he’s sold out. But, with Brad Goertz, he doesn’t have anything like that yet, so he can afford to keep pissing off people for no reason. And, since Lucas has sold out, Brad’s surrounded himself with people on the same wavelength, like his sidekick/cronie Andre Goulet. There’s that clique I mentioned. But, in about five years, when it’s time to pay the student loans, they’ll discover that Ferengi rule of acquisition: “A man with his principles and an empty sack is worth the empty sack.”

MC> Now that’s interesting. How do you think the Dag has changed since you started coming here, then?

SC> In my beginning, it was a newspaper. You had articles like “this professor just one this award” and “the hockey team’s winning.” Then, we had the Kenten Bowick era, in which the move began away from “news” to politically motivated goofy stuff. It really helped when he started doing stuff like put Megatron on the front cover. It let people know that changes were happening. Then, Lucas and Brad came along, and they rapidly accelerated what Kenten was doing, which is why it was so shocking. The campus wasn’t ready for that kind of rapid change. In fact, I like looking at it like this: in Kenten’s era, I was the only person doing a goofy opinion column. Now, everyone is doing it. I’m a trendsetter! [At this point, he smiled in a quite satisfactory way.]

MC> [Sarcastic tones] You’re a trendsetter, are you? Do you suffer from a superiority complex?

SC> Well, maybe just a little bit. But not as badly as the Student’s Union.

MC> What?

SC> Well, look at our president, Stewart Prest. He’s a Presidential Scholar, triple major, dating a great girl, and, to top it all off, SU President. You can’t tell me that a guy like that doesn’t suffer from a superiority complex on some level. But, the fun thing about people with superiority complexes is they eventually get overconfident and sloppy. You just wait for them to screw up.

MC> Wouldn’t his screw up be his alcohol citation?

SC> Would it? I mean, even though he did screw up, he had about a hundred students rise to his defense. I was one of them. You were one of them. If I broke a law and a hundred people told me I was unjustly convicted, that would make me feel greater than I am. I think his alcohol citation just added to his complex. I just enjoy reading the statistics that say students like him are going to experience a psychological and emotional burn-out when they hit 30.

MC> Okay…. I would hate to be you right now. Especially when I hear your answer to this next question: What do you think of the rest of the Student’s Union?

SC> We’ve got Samantha Chrysanthou, the intrepid VP Finance. You’ve always got to watch out for the people who handle the money. Shifty, they be. But, she does have a bit of an Ally McBeal thing going. I wonder if she ever sees a dancing baby…. Then there’s Rob Nichols, VP External. I think I’ll reserve judgement on him. I still think he robbed you at the election back in September. I’ve got a lot of bitterness over what he did to you.

MC> I’ve told you a thousand times. I’ve gotten over this. So should you. And I’m the one who lost.

SC> Yeah, you’re right. Who knows? He might be doing a good job. He’s just kind of lurking in the shadows. But still, back at the general meeting in, November was it? It was fun when he had to get up there and announce that he couldn’t come through on like all his election promises. When you thing about it, what have they done this year? I don’t think the SU has really done anything big this year. They’ve just…been there.

MC> You’ve mentioned that people with superiority complexes screw up eventually. So, when did you screw up?

SC> [sigh] I guess that would be about two years ago. I came back from my much-hated job on the gravel crusher, and when it was back to the grind of classes, my marks started slipping. And I realized that, I didn’t care anymore. I don’t care about being top of my class, or getting 8’s. I just care about learning. And developing a life. My screw up was I quit caring about being the best. Maybe that’s a good screw up.

MC> I know of lot of people want to know this, myself included. What exactly is the deal with this new Star Wars movie? You are flat-out obsessed with it.

SC> Quit calling it “the new Star Wars movie”! It is Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. This is the first new Star Wars film since Return of the Jedi hit screens in 1983. When Star Wars came out in 1977, it was new and revolutionary to the world of film. People would stand in line for hours to see it, and when they walked out of the theater they would go to the back of the line and wait for hours to see it again. It’s been a long time since there was a movie like that, and people are hoping that this will be it. There are a lot of movie fans out there, myself included, which equate this with the second coming. And when something is this big, you can’t help but get swept up in it. May 19, 1999. I’ll be the one at the front of the line.

MC> What’s your favorite film of the original trilogy, then?

SC> The Empire Strikes Back. Nothing can top the opening scene with the Imperial Walkers, the blossoming romance between Han and Leia, and Luke’s shocking discovery. And C-3P0 gets blown into a million pieces. That’s just funny.

MC> Switching sc-fi flavors now, who would you say is the greatest captain in Star Trek?

SC> I think a lot of people tend to underrate Sisko. I mean, he’s the only one standing between our quadrant and an invading armada from the other side of the wormhole. He’s a dedicated family man, devoting a great portion of his life to his son after his wife was taken from him. That, and he’s got the Defiant, which is the most ass-kicking-est ship in all of Star Trek.

MC> Which character on Beast Wars: Transformers do you identify the most with?

SC> That’s a tough one. Like Silverbolt, I seem to follow this outdated chivalric code. Like Cheetor, I’ve got my youth and inexperience working against me. And, most of the time, I get kicked around like Waspinator. But, the one that’s the most like me is Dinobot.

MC> Is there anything you just absolutely hate?

SC> People whose only reason for coming to this school is to rag on it. Just the other day, I was standing in line in the cafeteria, and I couldn’t help but overhear the person behind me go on and on about how she can hardly wait until she can go to a “real school, and not this shithole,” I believe her words were. She wants to go to a place where “the cafeteria is always open and they don’t have to swipe cards.” Well, all I can say is, if you want to go to a “real school,” there’s no one keeping you here. Just pack up and go. If you don’t consider Augustana a “real school,” why did you come here in the first place? We don’t need people with such a negative attitude. So, all I can say is, if you think this place is a shithole, just shut up and go. That and the Rankin Family. Words cannot describe my distaste for the Rankins.

MC> What do you absolutely love?

SC> A Wendy’s Bacon Big Classic. The music of Danny Elfman and “Weird Al” Yankovic. Saturday mornings, where I do nothing but lie around and watch cartoons. Finishing assignments. Going into Toys R Us, and seeing the action figures I’ve been dying to get sitting on the shelves. Women in pink spandex. Cartoons of the 80’s. Cats. New episodes of The New Batman/Superman Adventures. Disney animated movies. And Trill women named “Dax.” You know, the simple things.

MC> Are you an artist or a scientist?

SC> I’m starting to wish I never wrote that column. For once, I tried to do something serious, and people were coming up to me saying that’s the funniest thing I’ve ever written. I could probably write a column about a rise in the occurrences of rape and people would tell me they laughed their asses off. And then there was Mr. Superiority Complex Stewart Prest telling me that he’s majoring in both, and he’s found they compliment each other. I am never going to try and do something serious again.

MC> You still haven’t answered the question. Are you an artist or a scientist?

SC> Now that’s weird. I’ve found that the best thing for me to do was to create an alternate persona, and allow him to be the scientist. I’m the artist. I’ve got this other person who’s the scientist. And, who knows, in time they’ll probably become one, and then when people ask if I’m a scientist or a scientist, I can simply say “I am me.”

MC> Can you reveal to the world your real name yet?

SC> Nope.

MC> I love those goofy quotes you always start your column with. Can you give us one to end this interview?

SC> The truths we cling to depend upon a certain point of view — Obi-Wan Kenobi. Good-night, everybody!

MC> Good-night, Scarecrow.

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