Joe Fabeetz was a regular contributor to the sports and opinion pages of The Carletonian and the Carleton Daily beginning in February of 1977. He ran for CSA Senate during Spring Term 1977 and won in a landslide, receiving more votes than any other candidate in CSA history. His win was ruled invalid on the flimsy grounds that he did not, in fact, exist.
The Writings of Joe Fabeetz
- The first reference to Joe Fabeetz was a very brief mention on page 4 of the February 10, 1977 Carleton Daily, where he made a prediction for an upcoming intramural basketball game.
- In the February 18, 1977 Daily, the following letter appeared in response to proposed changes to the car policy:
- Slam door on car policy change
- To the Editor:
- All the candidates, it seems are for the liberalization of the car policy. In the interests of our societys [sic] future, I oppose the increase in availability of cars on the Carleton campus. Our society is so dependent on the automobile, it's depressing and ridiculous. Environmental and social concerns make it urgent to restrict car use. Our lives are dictated by the use and availability of the car. Without any phase-out or inhibitory programs, mass transportation, bicycles and walking will never become popular means of getting from point to point. We must realize that the overall effect of Carleton's car policy on society may not be large, but it can be a starting point and set an example.
- Joe Fabeetz
- The election to which Fabeetz referred was presumably the CSA Senate and College Council elections that were being held that very day. Another, longer letter by David Koester in that same issue also came out against a less restrictive car policy. Also, it was noted on page four that Fabeetz's Feburary 10 IM Basketball pick was accurate.
- The February 24, 1977 Daily notes that the Northfield News of that week included a lead editorial commending Joe and David for their anti-car stand.
- Fabeetz made another IM Basketball prediction for the playoffs in the March 7, 1977 Daily, putting "his perfect record on the line." His pick lost.
- In the April 28, 1977 Daily, a classified ad read:
- Administrators can be a nuisance as well as a joy sometimes. If any administrator is bothering you, file a complaint with Joe Fabeetz, via Campus Mail.
- Fabeetz's single-minded determination and knack for investigative journalism was on record in the May 3, 1977 Daily when a letter to the editor from Hoyt Boswell revealed that Joe had published the results of a 2-year study wherein he determined that an average of 23% of each radish goes to waste when the greens are cut off. When confronted with these results, a SAGA official remarked, "Everybody does it--we were just following standard prodeedure [sic]."
- Back on the sports page in the May 5, 1977 Daily, Fabeetz made an IM volleyball pick.
- Joe got his own byline on the sports page of the May 12, 1977 Daily in an article about the men's tennis team. The article included this inflammatory quote: "Hamline, according to one source close to the team, 'resembled high school kids' as they forfeited two matches because of lack of players and hemmorrhoids."
- Joe avoided making a prediction in the May 19, 1977 Daily article "Volleyball Finals Tonight" (written by "Mordechai Lipschitz"). "Fabeetz has been wrong before, and will probably be wrong again. But no matter what happens, he wishes every team good luck."
- Joe Fabeetz registered to run for CSA senator in May of 1977. His platform (see below) was unusual, to say the least. The picture of Joe, printed along with the platform in the May 26, 1977 Daily, was in fact an Albrecht Dürer engraving of Dürer's best friend, Willibald Pirckheimer (NOT a portrait of Martin Luther, as has been erroneously reported).
- Two separate letters to the editor in the May 27, 1977 Daily decried the May 25 removal of Joe Fabeetz's name from the ballot by CSA Vice President Dan Sterling, who assumed that a senate candidate must be a student--and a real person. One letter pointed out that "the student handbook does not require that a candidate be an actual person." In that same issue, Joe Fabeetz once again got a byline on the sports page, where he reported on the Rotblatt World Series.
- The May 31, 1977 Daily reported that Joe Fabeetz won the election in a landslide, garnering more than twice as many votes as any other candidate. In a long, rambling editorial later in that issue, it was reported that Fabeetz had been shot in the back with a crossbow in the lower arb. His only comment, before losing consciousness, was, "What a shaft." The classifieds in that issue state that Joe Fabeetz T-shirts were being offered for sale. With this issue, Joe attained the amazing feat of appearing on all four pages of the Carleton Daily.
- Joe's success at the polls attracted national media attention. The June 1, 1977 Daily reports that the Minneapolis Tribune reported his win on Monday, May 30. The story was transmitted over the Associated Press newswire, and was the final item on the CBS Morning News on May 31.
- Joe Fabeetz apparently survived the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune from the previous term, as the September 23, 1977 issue of The Carletonian lists him as "providing the intellectual inspiration" for an IM Football team.
- "Joe Fabeetz Sings the Blues" was a KRLX-AM radio show from 7:30AM-9:30AM on Saturdays, according to the April 7, 1978 Carletonian.
- Joe Fabeetz made a triumphal return to Carleton politics with a letter to the editor in the November 3, 1978 Carletonian, announcing his intent to claim his Senate seat.
- Apparently, Joe Fabeetz was a member of an IM Basketball team called "The Nads" (cheer: Go Nads!). The January 7, 1979 Carletonian quotes him as saying, "Hell, the only reason we're losing is because they have more points than us."
- Joe returned to his roots, making an IM Basketball pick in the Feburary 2, 1979 Carletonian.
- The Feburary 9, 1979 Carletonian reports that Fabeetz's pick was incorrect, and that he had "decided to quit while he is ahead and is now vacationing in sunny Cleveland."
- The Carletonian announced a new policy for Letters to the Editor with the April 20, 1979 issue, which required that all letters to the editor be signed and that the actual name of the writer would be published, in order to avoid potentially offensive anonymous letters. "Carleton's mythical favorites, like Schiller or Joe Fabeetz" were specifically exempted from this policy.
- A sports quiz was instituted with the April 13, 1979 Carletonian. The following week, it was announced that answers would continue to be accepted to the "Joe Fabeetz Sports Quiz." The answers to the April 13 Joe Fabeetz Sports Quiz were printed in the May 4, 1979 Carletonian, along with five new questions. These were answered in the May 11 issue, along with five new questions, which were answered in the May 25 issue.
- Also in the May 25, 1979 Carletonian, a rambling letter to the editor from one "Joanne Schiller Fabeetz, Alumni Sister and Wife" appeared. The letter ironically demonstrated the futility of "ethical buying," which the College Council was debating.
- After an absence of nearly a year from the pages of The Carletonian, Joe Fabeetz again started writing for the sports pages in the April 4, 1980 issue, reporting that Marv Rotblatt may visit Carleton. He also is credited with Rotblatt articles in the April 18, April 25, and May 13 issues.
- The May 7, 1980 Carletonian included a letter to the editor by "Josephine Fabeetz, faculty batperson," extolling the virtues of the faculty Rotblatt team.
- Joe Fabeetz made an unusual foray into national politics with a letter to the editor in the September 19, 1980 Carletonian, endorsing the candidacy of John Anderson for US President.
- "The reports of my graduation have been greatly exaggerated," began an editorial in the January 15, 1982 Carletonian, following over a year of quiet from Joe Fabeetz. Joe reported that he was "alive, well, and still dropping classes." Joe also stated that he had moved out of his previous residence (a Sevy fireplace) and was now living in a crawlway under one of the Village houses, and that he was "not yet ready to take my comps. Maybe next year." Joe's point, unusually clear and brief in this letter, was to chide the keepers of Schiller to display him occasionally.
- Joe's brother Jack Fabeetz, also a Carleton "student," wrote a letter to the editor in the May 21, 1982 Carletonian suggesting that Carleton’s comprehensive fee be scaled according to a student's major--so history majors like him wouldn't "have to pay for mass spectrophotometers, calorimeters, and all the labs [chem majors] f**k up."
- Joe’s final writing in The Carletonian was a letter to the editor dated March 4, 1983. Fabeetz, now a recent alum, decried the dissolution of the Rotblatt leagues, and suggested recent alums challenge current students to a game.
- During room draw in 1991, Joe Fabeetz was proxied into a room for the coming year. The room? Gridley 226, which according to item 17:1 in the Cobwebs conference (posted on July 8, 1991 by Peter Gunn '92) had "a large closet, a lovely view of the Music Hall, and no doors whatsoever." Joe therefore won the distinction of being the only male student ever to draw a room in Gridley--and he did it 24 years after Gridley was demolished.
- In 1998, it was noted that Joe (or possibly his brother Jack?) had a forwarding account set up on Veblen. It is not known to where mail sent to 'fabeetzj' was forwarded.
- As of November 2008, there are no fewer than nine Joe Fabeetz accounts on Facebook, though only one has Joe's picture as its profile image.
Who was Joe Fabeetz? No, really?
Joe Fabeetz's story appeared no less than three times in The Carletonian, in 1987, 1990, and 2000. The first two articles only stated that "a Carleton senior" was Joe Fabeetz's alter ego. The February 25, 2000 article repeats the allegation of archivist Eric Hillemann in item 17:5 of the Cobwebs conference (posted March 15, 1993) that Mark Horst '77 was the primary creator of Joe Fabeetz. Horst apparently went on to receive a PhD in Theology from Yale, and (as of 1993) was a Methodist minister in St. Paul. It is not known whether Horst has confirmed this. Clearly, later students took on the Joe Fabeetz persona in subsequent years, and their identities may never be known conclusively.
The following is the complete text of Joe Fabeetz's 1977 Senate platform:
- Education. Have you ever been burned trying to know her? Raw sex, as they say, is better than cooked. Look around you. If you've any taste left at all you'll realize that there's no taste left at all. The once raw flesh is now bland and overcooked.
- We devour whatever is put before us. The wild game in the bush is the best to be had, but it is to be pursued, not plopped down before us on a platter, cooked and dressed. We may consume great knowledge, but we never really taste it.
- Pre-meds have become the slaughtered scapegoat of our hungry frustrations, perhaps because there the irony is most apparent. Where now is the life? All the vital forces have been drained away, our selves embalmed with deterministic mechanism. But I'm talking of more than just biology; the humanities too have lost their humanity. We are taught to grovel in the dust of ages, worshipping the earth once walked upon. As for myself, I'm not just running for CSA senate; I'm running for my life...for my reality."