Sunday, June 12, 2005

Down Memory Lane . . . hey, this is a dead end street . . .

As an undergraduate at Baylor University, I worked about 20 hours per week in Penland Cafeteria and studied most of my other waking hours . . . but somehow found time to contribute to mischief instigated by the Noble NoZe Brotherhood.

Yes. I was a NoZe Brother.

(pregnant pause . . .)

Okay, so none of you know what that means. Let me explain.

The NoZe Brotherhood is an anonymous, satirical fraternity lurking on the margins of Baylor University life. I say "lurking" because the organization has been on and off of campus for years and years. Consequently, the Brothers wear wigs, Groucho Marx noses, and faded tuxedos for disguise and sometimes break in on eminent guest speakers at Baylor University Chapel to induct them into the Noble NoZe Brotherhood, a great honor indeed.

They also expend a lot of effort in satirizing Baylor University.

Why? Why satirize Baylor?

Probably because it is so easy to do.

Baylor University is the largest Southern Baptist University in the world. It is also very much a school of the American South. Consequently, it emphasizes its venerable TRADITION . . . especially football.

Well, yeah, there's also that Bible stuff, and that's important, too, but Homecoming -- when everybody comes 'home' to Baylor -- that's the biggest event of the year.

So, in the Fall Semester of 1978, we Noble NoZe Brothers cancelled Homecoming. We printed our fall issue of The Rope -- a parody of the campus paper, The Lariat -- with the bold headline:

"Homecoming cancelled"

We waited until the campus paper had been delivered to the dormitories early on the Thursday morning before Homecoming, then sneaked around to each dorm and placed hundreds of copies of our parody on top of the newspaper piles. Since we had designed this special Rope to look exactly like a Lariat, the effect was convincing and devastating.

Students really believed that Homecoming had been cancelled. People were weeping, distraught, angry.

We thought it was pretty funny.

The administration was not amused. They banned us from campus. If a NoZe Brother were to appear on campus, he would be faced with arrest.

That just made tweaking the administration's collective nose all the more enjoyable, and it certainly didn't stop us from making our mischievous appearances. We just had to run more quickly, chased by Baylor's Keystone Cops . . .

* * *

Now, I maintain that Baylor expelled us from campus because of the ruse about Homecoming being cancelled, but there is a revisionist view.

In the same issue of that parody, Brother NebuchadNoZer and I (Brother AgNoZetic) published a satire about the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas and its pastor W. A. Criswell. At the time, we had just read a report that Rafael Septien, who was an excellent placekicker for the Dallas Cowboys football team in the late 70s to mid-80s, had recently joined First Baptist Church of Dallas . . . as the 20 thousandth member.

It seemed odd to me that a really famous person would just happen to be number 20,000. After all, that's a two followed by four zeros.

"Look," I told my friend Brother NebuchadNoZer, "they made this guy wait to get baptized so that he would be exactly the 20 thousandth member!"

We decided to satirize that, and for your convenience, I reproduce it here:


Bertrand Russell joins Baptist faith

Impressed by the church's opulence and the pastor's white shoes, Bertrand Russell accepted Christ into his heart as his own personal savior and submitted himself as a candidate for baptism and membership in the First Baptist Church of Dallas, the largest Southern Baptist Church in the entire world.

W. A. Christwell, currently celebrating his 50th year in the ministery, expressed genuine pleasure at the famous atheist's sudden reversal, noting, "We are really pleased to have Bert as one of our congregation; it's always nice to have famous people join our church."

Russell, the 144,000th member at First, followed in the steps of Dallas Cowboy placekicker Rafael Septien.

"I guess I made it by the skin of my teeth," he quipped.

When asked about his surprising move, Russell said, "I was standing gripping the pew in front of me and asking myself why I am not a Christian and I couldn't think of any logical reasons; then it hit me, by God, there are a lot of good benefits to being a Christian, especially in America."

Russell did not elaborate.


As I noted above, some revisionist historians point to this satirical piece as the real reason for the NoZe's expulsion from campus. I'm willing to concede that the Bertrand Russell article written by Brother NebuchadNoZer and me may have been one deciding factor.

But I still think that the Homecoming deception most annoyed the administration.


At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 2:31 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Satchel on, Brother LongNoZe, satch!

Jeffery "AgNoZetic" Hodges

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