Real humorists say “propaganda”

But they were really just ads. Horribly designed and written ads (done by a niave 22-year-old) I might add. But as the saying goes (and if its not a saying, then I just coined it): “Advertising is 80% being seen.”

The problem was we needed more writers and we needed to get noticed. Well, mostly we needed to get noticed. A monthly four-page pamphlet of a paltry 1,000-copy run that was distributed at (somewhere around) 5 locations on campus was treated with the same interest as a coupon booklet. We needed wider exposure. Hence, the most ubiquitous and overlooked form of on-campus advertising: the flyer.

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By Hook or By Crook or By Law of Bylaws

the Harpoon bylaws
the Harpoon bylaws

So there were these rules, right? I mean they had to be there or the Harpoon would never get any money. So we had to write some. It was actually pretty fun.

And they were popular, too. At least in certain circles. For instance, in the Student Life Office, the leagal counsel seemed to really enjoy them. After the War Issue, his advice was to stop publishing stupid things, and start publishing more things like the bylaws. It seems there was one he really liked. I don’t think it was the one about what to do with them when they can’t take a joke. That one was full of problematic advice.

Office space for the Harpoon

Late in the first year of the Harpoon, some time in the second half, anyway, and certainly after the War Issue was published, the Harpoon got itself some designated office space from Student Life.  At that time in the history of things, these offices were located on the main floor of the Kirkhoff Center, with a wide bank of windows overlooking the pond, and the book bunker beyond.

The office space was just a six-foot-wide length of desk space, set in the middle of a cubicle garden, sandwiched between the assigned desks of two organizations who, if they had ever come in to use them, seemed to have stopped when the Harpoon was installed in their midst; it was nothing more than  a few drawers, a phone, as many rolling chairs as we could commandeer, and an overhead bin.  The only things the Harpoon had, in the way of office equipment, was a phone book.  The records, the ones the U cared about, were stored at the other end of the building, safe from staffers.  The documents which were important stayed in the publisher’s apartment.

About all the office was good for was for certain high-level members to make a lot of noise, and to spy on the Greek Round Table.  There was one member who fit under the desk, or in the overhead bin, depending.  It was always best to enter the office space at the safe end of a yardstick, while probing–not so gently–with the other end into cravasses.  Where the pumas live.

Once a co-founder told a blonde lies about the Beatles, a band about which she was kind enough to pretend for twenty minutes to not know anything.  Another co-founder created and strategized a political campaign from the office.  And one day several members got bad news about their respective love lives in the office.

Something about the original logo

Down there, way, way, way down there at the bottom of the page, the entire contents of the very first post, is the original logo.

Here are some lies and a little bit of truth about it.  It’s a pun.  One of the very few puns published in the Harpoon which the co-founders understood.  The only reason they understood it is because they originated it.  “Hey,” one of them said.  “We need a snappy visual element for the masthead, right?  How about a baboon playing a harp!”

Monkeys are funny, right?  Harps are unusual, and so distinctive.  That’s good for a logo.  And, best of all, it’s a harp-boon!

Get it?

It was widely alleged to have been drawn, black on white, in the blue style of a certain anatomical caracture of a widely-beloved cartoon race of little, blue, woodland creatures.  This is a style popularized by, and mainly popular with, a down-the-way neighbor of one of the co-founders.  With cross eyes.  The baboon had cross eyes, not the blue creatures, and not the neighbor.  Not the neighbor most of the time, anyway.

The art director inverted the colors and replaced the cross-eyes with sunglasses.  This led to a knock-down roll-about on the publisher’s living room floor between the art director who liked the sunglasses and the editor who did not.  The sunglasses were replaced with the more-or-less well-focused eyes we all came to love.  More or less.

The baboon’s name is thought to be Ed.  This may or may not be strictly accurate.  The baboon has never talked about that.  Indeed, it is unknown if, in fact, and despite the obscene allegations of what the blue caricture style intended to imply about harp playing, the baboon is, as depcted, actually male.