Thursday, October 14, 2010

'Border Watch', SUNY-Binghamton, October 1978



Back in the Autumn of 1978, at my college campus of the State University of New York at Binghamton (SUNY-Binghamton, now renamed Binghamton University), student groups and organizations could procure funding from the Student Association to produce booklets and magazines for free distribution to the student body. 


Since SUNY-Binghamton prided itself at that time on being ‘The Berkeley of the East’, many of the publications were devoted to left-wing or proudly Marxist political pursuits. But there were student groups that sought to produce publications representative of what we nowadays would call geek or nerd culture.

Foremost among the geek publications was the L5 Society’s magazine about constructing space habitats in earth orbit. The L5 magazine had meticulously detailed artwork and technical essays and was arguably the most professionally produced magazine to be issued during my time at the campus.

For stoners and fans of magazines such as ‘Mad’ and ‘The National Lampoon’, a number of one-shot humor publications appeared on an irregular basis. October 1978 saw the appearance of 'Border Watch', a newspaper devoted to satirizing some of the more pretentious movements on campus.

The Letters column I’ve scanned here represents a satire of the Letters page appearing the official campus newspaper, ‘Pipe Dream’. The letters page in 'Pipe Dream' almost always featured at least one missive from some Aggrieved Group; here the Border Watch staff is on target with their parody of a letter from an outraged coalition of ‘the women of SUNY Binghamton.’

 

I’ve also scanned a cartoon that calls to mind Bill Griffith’s comix ‘Zippy the Pinhead’; as of 1978 Zippy was still very much an underground phenomenon and the idea that he would one day be the star of a syndicated strip in major newspapers in the US would have seemed very 'far out'.

 


Finally,  I’ve scanned an untitled but entertaining little strip that deals with Halloween, and what happens when you piss off a Wizard with your Trick or Treating.

  

For a paper put together part-time by students at a time when 'desktop' publishing was still a good five or six years into the future, ‘Border Watch’ was worth picking up, giving you something compatible to read while stoned.

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