I See Dumb People: Historical Drama


The inaugural Kate Kennedy Coverage week is over. My favourite contribution to the event was Jamie Ross’s article in The Stand. He advocates ignoring everything to do with what are totally irrelevant developments, and he darn well makes you laugh. But therein lies the problem; if you like laughing so much, why on earth would you want to ignore what is possibly the funniest thing to happen in St Andrews this millennium?

It is precisely the contrast of grandeur and irrelevancy that gives me a hearty chortle every time I hear something new about this merry band of brothers. Where did I last hear something about them? Why, in The Saint, of course!

In accordance with this historic event The Saint released its first ever KK-themed edition. I always enjoy reading The Saint, but I think that, in light of the events it was obliged to cover, it is safe to say that everybody’s expectations for this issue were somewhat higher than normal.

KK plastering was delivered, as expected. And why not? Hillevi Gustafson rightly described the situation as ‘something out of a student journalist’s wet dream’. The urge to say something was almost overwhelming.

What I did not expect, however, is that in an issue containing such illuminated quips as ‘they must come en masse into our library, go into our toilets and masturbate to their heart’s content’ and The guardian of the door is a Norwegian drug dealer with one eye and a face full of scars. His first and last name is Wolverine, the funniest thing in the entire issue was on Page One.

With all due respect to each writer in question, the fact that the Kate Kennedy Fellowship held a ‘Constitutional Convention’ and want to establish a ‘College of Fellows’ wins the humour stakes by orders of magnitude. I would happily gamble my membership of the KKF if I stood to win the ability to purposefully concoct something so hilarious.

It was funny that the politics of a club widely deemed to be totally unbearable became so fractious that there are now two of them; it was funny that the Principal weighed in on a political squabble between one organisation that is unaffiliated with the university and another that is completely made up; it is funny that we are all now members of a club whose leadership has been decided for us; it is funny that everybody involved with this charade is trying to get away with maintaining their commitment to noble principles and not political gain. The name is funny, the ‘press conference’ was funny, the lies now being exposed are funny.

But Page One of The Saint tipped it over the edge. You see, I have begun to connect the dots. I have become convinced that Sunny Moodie thinks that he is John Adams, Pat Mathewson is Thomas Jefferson and this whole debacle is somehow akin to the American Revolution;

All they wanted was proper representation. A serious debate on allowing women into the KKC would have quelled the issue (temporarily), but the archaic and tyrannical Thomas Pye was having none of it. This was convenient, because in fact there were deeper and more fundamental issues at play.  There were flaws with the KKC that this concession alone would not solve. These men desired in fact for a more perfect union. No affiliation without representation!

With the KKC weakened by an ongoing struggle with the University, and having enlisted the support of the Students’ Union and the SRC, it was time to strike. In the dead of night, independence was declared. The KKC offered far less resistance than was expected, and have backed off, for now.

Soon thereafter, a constitutional convention was called. Moodie and Mathewson, obviously, would be at the forefront of proceedings, their experience being essential. Their aims are pure, however, and they will step aside pending the first election.

So far as we can tell, the convention went well, various administrative and aesthetic details were decided, but there was controversy (and this really is the icing on the cake) over the potential for a deadlock in the College of Fellows.

You honestly could not make this stuff up. And I didn’t; this is all real.

Sunny Moodie is a brilliantly articulate speaker and senior member widely respected within the KKC, compelled by principle to join the splinter movement. John Adams was a respected lawyer who had represented the British defendants of the Boston Massacre, garnering esteem among the administrators of the colonial government, but he too felt compelled to side with the Sons of Liberty.

Pat Mathewson is significantly younger, an inexperienced speaker, but is an intelligent idealist and an excellent writer. Thomas Jefferson was eight years Adams’ junior, and did not care for public speaking, but is credited as having the predominant influence over the drafting of The Declaration of Independence.

The KKC are the British Empire, simultaneously weakened and preoccupied by ongoing battles elsewhere. Their president is King George, towards whom a lot of the stick for the KKC’s dealings has been underhandedly thrown.

It gets a little hazy after that. Is the University playing France? They have long been in conflict with the KKC, and will happily fake idealist concerns in order to offer support to the rebels, when the obvious goal is the KKC’s ultimate defeat. That might make the Principal Louis XVI.

Perhaps Patrick O’Hare is Thomas Paine; while he is always doing his damndest to catalyse a revolution in France (and one day may well succeed), he will happily lend a hand to the American revolutionaries. However, unlike Louis XVI, this is precisely because he does care. The list goes on, and you could have some fun expanding it yourself.

But none of these are even the best bits. The best bits are two events of the utmost importance to the early history of the United States that have no equivalent in this situation, but by some brilliant twist of fate are such that they are bound to happen soon.

The first is the emergence of George Washington. No such person has yet stepped forth for the KKF, and yet somebody must. The Fellowship will have a first president. You have to think that whoever it is will have been around the proceedings for a while. But who? Where was Valley Forge? What was the Delaware and who crossed it? I am convinced that whenever this person emerges, we will all look back and say, ‘ah, that guy!’

The second is the War of 1812. Don’t kid yourself, it will happen. It has already begun; the Trust wrangles are an arms race. The KKC have been defeated, but not destroyed. If, by some miracle, the Procession proves too soon for battle, then it will fall on the May Ball.

One final hopeful prediction, which would truly be too much, could materialise as follows; there is an even number of Electors, right? What if, possibly before the Washington character, but preferably after, with one or both of Moodie and Matthewson running for President, the electors deadlock? Don’t tell me you can’t see that happening. There is probably some clause hidden somewhere in the constitution decreeing that the outgoing Sabbs body break the tie. How beautiful it would be…

Sadly there is a less hopeful prediction. The Sons of Liberty prevailed. The United States of America exists to this day, and the British Empire is practically extinct; this country, its heir, lives on, but the global map could hardly have changed more in the time since. No matter how much anybody laughs about it, I have full confidence that the KKF will prevail and the KKC will diminish, because of the peculiar anomaly that everybody who seriously objects to the KKF does so on the grounds that they don’t care. The path to their domination could hardly be clearer.

Now I have no idea if this correlation is deliberate. If so, it is an amusing attempt to subliminally arouse a particular sentiment amongst those who could halt the process altogether, given enough aggravation: each and every student of this University.

If it is not, this is much worse. It is worse because the KKC does not forcefully restrict the rights of its subjects, or of anybody, does not advocate any such measures by any other group and has not been found wanting in any of its responsibilities or activities. It is worse because no members of the KKF stand to lose anything and in fact intend to gain.

It is worse because it is clear that the stated goals of the KKF (which, in all seriousness, are perfectly worthy) could be achieved in infinitely many ways that do not involve a hostile overthrow of a charitable organisation, and a transfer of power from one dominant clique to another. The British Empire had become destructive of the ends of the responsible and consensual government that the Sons of Liberty sought; the only end of which the KKC is destructive is the subversive desire to acquire its power for oneself.

After scanning what I just wrote, I can see why many people instinctively could not care less. While I forcefully instruct you not to worry (Jamie Ross is right, it’s irrelevant), I will only recommend that you keep your eye on the developments of my new favourite mootiny. Look away if you want, but I guarantee you will miss many a giggle. This only sounds like revolutionary rhetoric. This farce could not be further from a meaningful revolution, and that is why it is so funny.


  1. if there’s anything i can say about the kkf/c debacle, it’s simply this: it has inspired and directly influenced some truly brilliant writing. and this is one of the best examples yet. i don’t care how little you care about the kkc/f, but the fact is this article is genius, and it never could have happened without the issue you all care so little about. thank you, allen farrington

  2. If there’s anything i can say about J.H. Ramsay’s comment it’s simply this: Why has it taken this god damned long for somebody to realize that it is possible to get ‘KFC’ by combining their names? So many jokes, so little time…


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