March 2003 (v5 i5)
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Eccentric student's backpack speaks at anti-war rally
Cute buttons and whiteout convey thought-provoking message
by Jake Wilburn, Associate Editor

[illustration: Aaron Stanush]
CAMPUS — English junior Janice Greltsch's elaborately adorned backpack succeeded in sharing a humanitarian vision with thousands of observers at a publicly held anti-war rally early last month. The backpack, an exclaimed supporter of pacifism as well as school supplies, was able to effectively extend its olive branch to the masses by the sole means of potently clever buttons and other peacemongering décor. Its recent inspirational impact was no surprise to Greltsch.

"That bag is made of 95 percent canvas and a 100-katrillion percent concern for the well-being of our planet. It's about time people started opening their minds to the real sources of knowledge such as backpacks, car bumpers, and away messages."

The backpack's discourse was highlighted with insightful John Lennon quotes, a moving depiction of a black hand shaking a white hand, and various powerful sentiments including the dictum "War Totally Stinks!" accentuated with wavy lines to indicate malodor. Such whimsical commentary and classic peace iconography spurred enthusiasm in a wide range of attendants, among them Wheatsville Co-op employee Beau Dubroc.

"That backpack has a way with words, man. What really got me was that button that said 'Got Peace?' Even though I believe that drinking milk is wrong because the fluid in a cow's utter is its own, I still recognized the catch phrase, and it really put all this war shit into perspective."

The message also penetrated the minds of previously apathetic passersby as in the case of undeclared freshman Jonathan Nockels.

"I saw a bunch of people gathering, and I just thought it was some sort of dreadlock convention. But then I caught wind of that backpack, and I stopped dead in my tracks. It had so many great things to say, like 'War in Iraq? No!' and 'War' with one of those Ghostbusters signs over it. One of them said 'Jansport'-I'm not real sure what that means but I'm sure its something liberal and badass."

Since its public protest, the pack has been compared to Mahatma Ghandi in its rationale, Martin Luther King Jr. in its passion and clarity, and a sleeping bag in its ability to zip up. However, those close to the philanthropic luggage have claimed that its freethinking eccentricity is by no means young, citing a faded whiteout declaration that "Curtis Middle School Sux!" as well as a memorial tribute to Kurt Cobain, remnants from its earlier days as an alternative backpack.

The ardent response from the audience not only provided hope for a non-violent resolution of the tensions in the Middle East, but also compelled many UT students to adopt and build strong foundations for their own individual opinions.

"I totally agree with the backpack. War is really mean and President Bush is super dumb. I mean, my parents like Bush, so that would be totally lame for me to like him too."

Greltsch has vowed that the backpack will continue to enlighten the general public so long as it is in her possession, and has revealed plans to make use of other means as well.

"If you think the backpack is cool, wait until you see the back of my Subaru-or as I call it, 'The Difference-Maker Mobile.' Every time I drive down the street I make all sorts of cool statements and impress everyone with my free spirit and liberal conscience."
Editor's Note: In many Arab cultures, it is traditional to eat and greet others only with your right hand because the left is used to cleanse oneself; thus, greeting someone with the left hand is considered an insult. Bruce Springsteen is overrated. If I were to meet Bruce in a dark alley, I would greet him with my left hand holding a loaded gun.
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