The Tomato

Ironic takeover of campus leaves thousands in ugly wool sweaters

Illustration by Tina Wallace

NO ONE WOULD have believed that in the last days of August, the University of Ottawa was being watched closely by intelligences greater than humanity’s, yet no less mortal. As men and women busied themselves about their various concerns, they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a scientist with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.

When September came, they quietly and quickly began to strike— taking over the campus in a matter of days. Any resistance was ill-prepared and futile. The hipsters were just too powerful.

Jonathan White, a fourth-year political science major at the U of O, was one of the few innocents to witness the attack and make it out without any vintage clothing or horn-rimmed glasses touching him first.

“It all happened so fast. One minute I was with my friends enjoying a nice burger from the cafeteria, and then suddenly everyone had been transformed into sarcastically dressed monsters eating quinoa from Tupperware,” said White.

White claimed the only way he escaped was to focus on the conventional aspects of modern society he enjoys, and drive away as quickly as possible. But he found even the roads weren’t safe—they had been taken over by hipsters on unicycles, 50s cruiser bicycles, and impractically shaped skateboards.

“It was just so damn ironic,” he said.

To the casual observer, life on campus may seem the same since the takeover. Classes are still running, restaurants remain open, and people continue to mill about. However, upon closer inspection there is an unmistakable presence lingering on campus, covering everything in sepia-toned Instagram filters.

The university’s prized football team has dismantled, as funding for all athletics has been transferred to the quidditch team. Meanwhile, the school mascot has changed from a gee-gee to a 50-year-old man smoking from a pipe, sitting down on a rocking chair, and reading Nietzsche.

The Telfer School of Management has been shut down and its offices in the Desmarais building are being converted into the Centre for the Appreciation and Rejuvenation of Vinyl Records. All science-related research has also been cancelled, with lab spaces converted into indoor vegetable gardens for students. And the faculty of music is scrapping all its traditional programs for the fall semester in favour of studies catered to harmonicas, banjos, and whistling.

The technology of the university has also fallen victim to the hipsters. Because of increased levels of genuinity, all televisions on campus have been replaced by antique black-and-white sets, all computers by typewriters, and all email by the paper mail system. Extensive construction has also begun to install more payphones on campus to provide a more “authentic communication experience.”

The situation appears bleak and sarcastic, but hope remains that the invasion stays contained within the university. It appears the demands of adulthood—finding a steady income, raising families, paying taxes—have left the hipsters unwilling to venture past the university lifestyle.

For now, the people of Earth are safe, but the U of O may be forever lost to a bleak reality consumed by counterculture. Let it forever serve as a reminder of just how ugly life can become when a mass of people wear plaid.