Picnic: the great Saint Anselm party

Gregory Valcourt, Crier Staff

I am sincerely ecstatic to hear that Picnic continues to be one of the most popular events on campus. Our campus has a rich tradition of living out Christian faith in service and prayer, but our love of the other spirits should honestly be what we are known for. The rich history that it has makes it an important event on campus, and a fundamentally good act for all those involved.

Picnic has had a long and noble tradition here on campus. Since 2012, we have gone out to a field in New Hampshire, and contemplated life’s great mysteries; one being, will I have a hangover tomorrow? The event reminds me of the Roman holiday of Bacchanalia.

The Roman historian Livy described the events in this way, “When they were heated with wine and the nightly commingling of men and women, those of tender age with their seniors, had extinguished all sense of modesty, debaucheries of every kind commenced; each had pleasures at hand to satisfy the lust he was most prone to.” Now I agree that alcohol is wonderful elixir. In vino veritas. But I more fervently believe that one should not stop at one drink or two, but rather drink a whole six-pack or a keg. After all, it is untrue that too much of a good thing is too much. The pleasures of life are meant to be enjoyed without consequence. And without pleasure 24/7, life is meaningless.

Yes, our moral compass should always be focused on the finer things in life and how we can pursue them. Everything and everyone must be a stepping stone in achieving our goals. This person has weed, so they can supply me with all the devil’s lettuce I want. This person has alcohol, so they can supply me with all the liquor I want. This is an attractive person, and so they can supply me with all the sex I want. I am the center of the universe; whatever makes me feel good is good, and whatever makes me feel bad is bad.

In this way, Picnic is good for us. We get what we want, and that’s all. Morality is relative to ourselves. What is evil to me is good to you, and vice versa. One person could believe the Galactic Empire from Star Wars brought order and jobs to the galaxy with the Death Star and is a good organization, while another could believe the destruction of the Death Star was warranted, as it was solely built to cause fear and kill innocents. As The Dude from The Big Lebowski says, “Well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

In summary, our celebration of Picnic is warranted. Picnic is a part of our Saint Anselm heritage, and makes us feel good to boot, which is all that matters in life. If I were to complain about one thing concerning this glorious feast, I would say that we don’t celebrate with enough panache. The Romans and Greeks celebrated Bacchanalia in the nude with many animal sacrifices. I feel that if we follow in their footsteps with such revelry, we must embrace all of their traditions.

Greater still, in the ancient Roman tradition, even senators and pagan priests joined in the breaking of the strict laws concerning their conduct. So, if we want to celebrate the day more fully, we must invite the monastic community and our administrators to join us in this drunken revelry. After all, good is relative to ourselves, and Picnic is no exception.