Who is Gus Bode?

This commentary appeared in The Daily Egyptian on September 24, 1999.


Gus BodeI began as a simple voice, letters to the madness if you will, at The Daily Egyptian, the student newspaper of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. My first appearance in Southern Illinois came about in 1955 after Dee Alexander and Jim Stumpf created my character. Alexander and Stumpf named me after Philip August Bode, a church janitor in Valmeyer, who wore flat, snap-billed hats and was a respectable man.

It was Charlie Clayton who gave me my front page break at The Daily Egyptian. Clayton, faulty adviser for the newspaper in 1956, thought my witty commentary would spice up the editorial page and provide an outlet for diverse opinions.

My first quote appeared in The Daily Egyptian April 13, 1956, at the bottom of the front page. No body or face was included, just the words Gus Bode says, We hear the recruiter had slim pickings this year. The grades must have been better than expected. It was simply a block of text, but through time I evolved into a manly character.

After moving from the front page to the editorial page and back to the front page again, I found my niche with the paper in 1961 when The Daily Egyptian became a daily newspaper. As simply a pair of eyes, I made my appearance once again and said, The most daring feat of today wasn't the flight into space, its those shorts Southern's coeds glue to themselves.

Gus Bode unmaskedAlthough I have been known to make daring statements, my most embarrassing feat was when readers coined me as a sexist. Just one year after I was given eyes, I was transformed into a fully animated figure, and it was at this time that I made the fatal mistake of referring to women as chicks and said, If God had meant women to be equal, he'd have made 'em men.

To show me the error of my ways, a group of women released a live chicken in the newsroom and flopped raw pieces of meat onto the tops of desks. I learned my lesson and began to set a few guidelines for my strategies.

I now stick to a dash of sarcasm based on current events, common sense and mature thinking. My attacks, as many call them, are directed towards actions rather than people. But truth be warned, any group or institution is fair game. I stray far from religion or personal tragedy, but I do recall a moment of silence when the Pyramid fires of 1995 left a devastating wound on my heart.

For all of you intrigued to know more about who I am, remember, 35 years of experience allows me insightful knowledge of the University and its surroundings.

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