Amy Gibbons: No Shits Gibbon

Right now I have seven tabs open on Microsoft Word. That’s too many tabs. Essay season is upon us, comrades, and I’m currently grappling with the task of writing two 3000 word essays before the end of term in order to make way for my, as yet non-existent, dissertation.

Life at York can be rather like a whirlwind, or a colossal pool of stagnant water. I’ve found that the past few weeks in particular have shown me both, such that an accumulation of high-speed and slow-rolling events saw me so spaced out mid-Dickens seminar yesterday, that I’m pretty sure even Little Dorrit herself could not have made sense of what I was saying.

Rewind a couple weeks, and it’s the YUSU election results. We all know the general attitude towards election season at York: mates rates, or no one cares. But despite any disenfranchisement with the system (as reflected by the lowest voter turnout in five years, no less), there is something incredibly dynamic about campus. Maybe it’s because we’re all ambushed in our (lectures/seminars/labs/aerobics classes) by Pres candidates every half hour, or maybe it’s because there’s one too many ‘It’s Clear Vote Mia’ signs on every corner. Regardless, somebody is shouting louder than the geese, and that’s difficult to ignore.

Equally, elections season can certainly drag; and not only because, on finding out I’d made the conscious decision never to bother with Lord of the Rings, my boyfriend is forcing me to sit through the trilogy. (We are three hours into the first extended edition. Help. I have so far been presented with the question: “Would you like to see an orc being birthed?”, and Gandalf’s said that one line; I just assumed it ended there..? Guys?!)

But back to YUSU: I’m sure we’ve all seen some fine election-based satire this month, but one film made by The Lemon Press stood out for me in particular; that is, of the sad, sad cardboard campaign signs drowning in the Yorkshire drizzle and floating, defeated, in the general direction of the waterfowl.

This, I thought, was a perfect representation of many of our feelings, captured in black and white and set to the atmospheric ‘Mad World’ by Gary Jules. Not feelings of sadness, necessarily, but somewhat of helplessness, and of pity. Does it really matter who is successful in the election less than a third of us deem worthy of a vote? Is it indicative, perhaps, of our collective carelessness that only two candidates each ran for three of the five pivotal full-time officer positions, and we saw more joke candidates for Pres than genuine contenders?

The reason over 6000 of us watched that video just goes to show how much of a farce the whole process really is to students. In a collection of cliche campaigns, predictable year after year, it transpires parody is effortless. Maybe we don’t vote because we don’t actually see ourselves reflected in the faces on the back of the 66 bus, or perhaps (and I think more likely) we don’t care because we know, however dedicated, YUSU elected officers are actually here to lobby the University for us, and not make the final call on what we pay; or where we’re taught; or how many contact hours we have; or even whose needs the University prioritises.

We elected representatives, and they will represent us. Whether we’ll see any noticeable change by the time the fresh faces of 2018/19 take office is a completely different matter.
Also, the CGI for The Fellowship of the Ring is genuinely not bad. I’ll let you know what I think at the end. Although at the rate we’re watching this you might have to wait till I get a column in The Guardian on Saturday.

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