Sunday, September 23, 2007

High school underground newspapers


Being a high school intellectual, at least in the 60’s, made one wiser, smarter, hipper, and more worldly than our elders, especially our teachers, principals, political leaders, parents and ministers. A high school intellectual, with one witty comment, could show an awareness of the intricacies of life and the world that older people could not grasp.


Between classes, we had the wisdom of the ages and were not afraid to share our knowledge of life. One of my personal favorite axioms of that time was that the major difference between high school and college was that at college you could get chocolate milk. In this axiom my own personal acumen and knowledge was shown to understand the entire misguided American educational system.


We were wise sages masquerading as high school kids. And high school underground newspapers were one of the principal manifestations of the superiority, morally as well as intellectually we had over our teachers and our straighter classmates.

By weaseling my way into the high school hip intellectual crowd, I was invited to attend a meeting of Smuff, the soon to be high school underground newspaper of Hackensack. Working for Smuff was a great honor, albeit one that did not appear on my college applications. Prudence, as they say, is the better part of valor.


Why the paper was not burned and all the distributors expelled I do not know. The high school administration allowed it to go on. Maybe they realized that the Smuff thing was just a fad that the writers would appreciate later when we were getting our graduate degrees. At any rate, it was tolerated.


Some times I get nostalgic over a few beers and get out my old Smuffs. They are enjoyable reads.


editor's note: the long out of print "Our Time is Now" edited by John Birmingham (the first editor of Smuff) contains excerpts from a number of high school underground newspapers (including Smuff) as well as an introduction by Kurt Vonnegut. It is available quite cheaply in paperback on the Internet.

4 comments:

Anthony Buccino said...

You can still find Our Time Is Now - used, of course - on Amazon. That's where I found mine.

Terrific site.

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