Throughout his four years, Anthony Perasso, LSOE ’17, has been an influential figure in the Boston College community. To cap off his career, Perasso wrote and directed a satirical play called The Book of Carney, which will be showcased this Monday and Tuesday. The play recounts a mock history of the University, and comments on a number of familiar themes at BC, including the administration’s failure to recognize issues of race and sexuality. By fusing creativity with criticism, Perasso has pioneered a different way to draw attention to the what he believes to be the most problematic aspects of BC.
He is widely known for the “Ranchony” campaign alongside Rachel Loos, MCAS ’18, in the 2015-16 UGBC president and executive vice president election. Although some interpreted the pair’s candidacy as a joke—likely in part based on their leadership with The New England Classic, a satirical publication at BC—their actions represented important commentary on the issues around UGBC. They exposed students’ perceptions of the organization on campus and called on UGBC to make a change in the establishment. The pair didn’t make it through the primary, but following the election, Perasso made his goal clear.
“If you can use satire to increase attention on the thing that isn’t the joke, that’s the ultimate goal, deep, deep down,” he said to The Heights last year.
And this is exactly what he has done. As editor-in-chief of The New England Classic, he has spearheaded one of the University’s most prominent mediums into significant critical social commentary, developing it into an important eye for campus events and culture. While the Classic is funny, it also increases awareness of pressing issues, including the lack of accommodations for those with disabilities on campus, as well as the University’s investment in fossil fuels and lack of gender-neutral bathrooms, to name a few.
This is a direction worth imitating. Students at BC should not view their four years as a time to keep their heads down and go through the motions. They are not just meant to improve themselves, but also to leave this University better than when they first arrived, and Perasso has certainly done this—albeit in his own unique, and sometimes odd, way.
Perasso will leave a lasting legacy. There are many creatives among the student body with potential contributions to campus conversations. It is up to the students at BC to keep the administration in check and to be vocal about the changes that they want to see.
This call to action doesn’t need to come through conventional approaches like news articles and protests on O’Neill Plaza—as Perasso has proven, sometimes the best method for change is a satirical musical. Students should continue to find creative mediums to spotlight pertinent issues at BC, providing commentary that will help transform the University one conversation at a time.