Oktoberfest was beer-ly a fest at all

The U’s paltry turnout yesterday’s Oktoberfest celebration-fewer attendees at any given time than one could shake a stick at-serves to illustrate a very real and very common feature of humanity: 90 percent of the time, humans make good decisions-and the other 10 percent of the time, the bad ones can be selectively avoided.

Common, rational, basic logic serves a number of purposes in life-among them is keeping ordinary people from making extraordinarily bad decisions.

It is this natural, human ability to say, “Yeah?that just doesn’t make any sense-at all. Thanks, but really, no thanks,” in the face of arbitrary and painful opportunities that keeps most people alive.

Sadly, as is evidenced by the Oktoberfest fiasco, this ability is not always utilized.

As anyone can attest, sometimes sheer, blunt counter-intuition overrides our truer, basic genetic predisposition to err on the side of reason: Pseudo-celebrities willfully ingest animal byproducts that no man was meant to ingest; certain politicians are elected (and re-elected) despite every breathing protozoan knowing better and here, at our own university, event organizers decide to throw an Oktoberfest shindig on a dry campus.

Let that sink in for a minute. It’s a densely inconsistent scenario.

Celebrating Oktoberfest at the U is like throwing a Mardi Gras party at a convent.

First, the term “university,” in the present lexicon, is a term meant to represent an institution comprising scholars, students and generally thinking-type folk (that is, folk who can, when push comes to shove, compose a complete thought and execute it without too much obvious failure).

Second, Oktoberfest is a celebration of Germanic culture and tradition-much of which is rooted in the appreciation of hoppy beverages and lederhosen.

Third, Oktoberfest for non-Bavarians is a time to revel in revelry-that is, to cut loose a little and do some polka dancing.

These are, of course, gross stereotypes, none of which are meant to accurately represent a people. They are, however, meant to illustrate a broader point: Namely, that having Oktoberfest on a campus like ours actually serves as a greater insult to the event’s traditions than not having it. No matter where you come from, there is (or should be) no doubt that root-beer kegs and root-beer pong fit nowhere into these traditions. Nowhere.

The idea that anyone could think that an Oktoberfest held at the U-with two booths and no libations-is a good idea is genuinely shocking. It means that people sat down and said, in agreement, “Yes sir, this makes sense, well done.” And that is kind of scary.

In the future, organizers and participants alike would do well to learn from this blunder and maybe think a little deeper about their proposals. It’ll do us all a wealth of good.

Kim Peterson

Mark Pyper and Matt Pyper of Salzburger Echo play melodies for Oktoberfest on Swiss long horns Wednesday in the Union Patio area. Oktoberfest featured other live music and a pie-eating contest.