Although I will perhaps be labeled as crude and sensational, I should like to turn the light of psychoanalysis on Mr. M. Margolin, the president of the Undergraduate Student Government. Even the most skeptical observer cannot fail to discern that Mr. Margolin suffers from an obsessional neurosis; as Dr. Freud has remarked, these neuroses are in no way as flashy, dramatic or entertaining as hysteria or mania, but they represent an equally injurious deficiency of mnemic processes.
I shall begin, as any psychoanalyst should, with the symptoms – as is usually the case with obsessional neurosis, they appear to be the results of wild phantasy, but the dutiful reporters of the Daily Princetonian (amateur psychoanalysts themselves, to be sure!) have made an eminently trustworthy record of Mr. Margolin’s condition, one in which I repose every confidence, and on which I shall rely for my analysis, since I have never met Mr. Margolin, nor do I have any reason for so doing.
Mr. Margolin, in the course of his campaign for USG president, promised repeatedly to reduce the price of the essay packets sold at Pequod. His morbid insistence on this impossible task in fact became a kind of watchword, attracting negative comment from the editors of the Daily Princetonian, and, one can imagine, from Mr. Margolin’s own contemporaries. He emphasized several other issues in his campaign: 24-hour study space, reform of faculty advising, and minority relations.
It should already be clear to the reader how profoundly Mr. Margolin’s neurosis has affected him. The Pequod packets, traditional symbols of the female sex organs, are filled with essays that Mr. Margolin feels compelled to read; his insistence on driving down their price makes evident an eroto-megolomaniac complex, since he imputes desire for a lower price (greater sexual access) to the entire student body – both male and female. This gender confusion doubtless refers back to a childhood trauma, perhaps incipient transvesticism, and a version of the Oedipal complex that has shifted so far towards the morbid that it becomes more of a gender-inverse version of the Electra complex.
The contents of the packets, essays, an atomized body of knowledge, divided into discrete sections, represent both Mr. Margolin’s own castration anxiety and a frustrated dependence complex; the packets, with their labial pages and nurturing knowledge, clearly also represent Mr. Margolin’s mother, but here the Oedipal castration anxiety has turned in an unusual direction since Mr. Margolin is worried that the mother will be castrated (i.e. broken up, like the essays).
In this genderless state Mr. Margolin’s mother-figure would be unable to provide maternal care, which is clearly why he has emphasized increased closeness between academic advisors and students. Obviously Mr. Margolin is concealing a desire that the academic advisor will be able to take the place of his father and knit together the disparate essays contained in the packet, thus symbolically restoring his mother’s virginity (whose loss he blames on his own birth) – it is also immediately evident that this obsession traces back to a morbid fear of his parent’s connubial relations, since he wishes for the father (symbolized by the academic advisor) to be the one who restores his mother’s virginity. This may also be a gesture towards suicide, given Mr. Margolin’s morbid self-accusation.
At this point it cannot surprise the reader that the 24 hour study space on which Mr. Margolin insists is the womb; and that his insistence on study (i.e. the reading of packets) in such a space represents a neurotic demand for multiple vaginas – exaggerated female characteristics, couched within one another, that provide a smothering motherly presence.
It must also be obvious that Mr. Margolin’s plank of improving race-relations is really nothing more than a neurotic translation of his gender confusion – in a celebrated photograph published in the Daily Princetonian, Mr. Margolin can be seen to wear a pinstriped suit jacket, a striped shirt, and Nike slides (the slides, obvious symbols of the vagina, do not concern us). Clearly, the interior, softer striped shirt represents Mr. Margolin’s neurotic attachment to his mother, while the outer, harder wool jacket expresses his desire to be loved by his father – their dissimilar colors and similar stripes clearly form an analogy to his take on race relations. All students (metonymically, Tigers) of all races (the colors of his jacket and shirt) must improve their relations – Mr. Margolin’s neuroses have phantastically transposed his conceptions of masculinity and femininity onto the race issues of the student body, for his desire to unite the races is really, once again, terror of his parents’ sexual union.
Space here limits a full discussion of Mr. Margolin’s condition, but I trust that the reader will be able to pursue the line of interpretation on his or her own.