This issue of OSF is so sickening we didn’t even want to make fun of it. Sure, there are grammatical mistakes, semi-literate ledes (“So after my last article about how art history is the bomb,” etc.) and the occasional misplaced participle. But taken as an organic whole, this issue serves up such a damning critique of everything that enabled its existence — Princeton, the Ivy League, even America itself — that ultimately we just felt depressed and disgusted. We both have yet to actually finish the magazine. You can download this miscarriage of the brain as a PDF either here or here.
According to founder/visionary Harrison Schaen , OSF “started with a dream.” Yet they awoke from this dream only to find it had been transfigured, like Gregor Samsa, into a verminous monstrosity misunderstood and reviled by everyone who came into contact with it. The latest OSF includes rapt coverage of the lame wealth-mongering event that is the Princeton fashion show, fake-tan advice (“Getting a tan from the sun is not a good solution”), copious ninja humor, shopping suggestions for $17,000 watches, Spring fashion advice (the magazine was published in early June) , and inane softball interviews with Tara Reid and David Geffen. Let it be said: this magazine does nothing either to inform or to entertain, unless by accident, and it is not even remotely connected to journalism. It reads like a deranged hybrid of New York and Variety if “Charly” from Flowers for Algernon wrote copy.
On pg. 14, underneath the massive garishly-decked-out heading, “WHAT’S FRESH,” we’re presented with a crude collage of hideously expensive luxury-goods, all of which have apparently been deemed “fresh” by the genius tastemakers who run this irredeemable shitshow. Did you know that Phillip Crangi earrings, only $2,550, are “fresh”? For some reason adjacent to this they’ve printed “888-8-BARNEYS.” It’s unclear whether this has been done because they think this is proof of some high-fashion in-knowledge which is supposed to impress us, or whether because they think these tiny, crappy pictures are so amazingly compelling that people will be digging their iPhones out of their oh-so-fresh Ralph Lauren Collection Totes ($900) in order to call in orders right away. For only $475 we learn, you can buy a Cartier silk-cord-and-rose-gold LOVE bracelet, but $100 of that goes to the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust. This magazine is too retarded even for socialites.
And so on and so on – it’s a pornographic centerfold of wealth and tastlessness in which the ne plus ultra is a $17,600 Patek Phillipe watch nonsensically designated “fresh.” Actually, as anyone with a modicum of familiarity with the company could tell you, Patek Phillipe is the exact opposite of “fresh.” The refined Swiss watch-maker, in business for hundreds of years, has spent a fortune cultivating its brand as an object of exquisite craft to be handed down from generation to generation, not sold alongside a bunch of overpriced seasonal tchotchkes.
For those of us without trust funds, these shopping “suggestions” seem nothing short of insane. And the idea that this is ostensibly a student publication – and not, say, Hamptons Magazine or the Robb Report- makes everything infinitely worse. This magazine is like a vindication of Bolshevism. But maybe their sense of perspective is skewed – the CEO of Ebay’s son is OSF’s business manager. That’s a damned good business plan, if you ask us.
Moving on to the writing, we should first remark that OSF’s ledes are not without their own insipid music: preposterous, baffling, and clunkily-written.
Although many Princeton students do not know the location of 185 Nassau…” (located, in fact, at 185 Nassau Street)
I certainly never connected Princeton with the hot Hollywood starlet Tara Reid, but as it turns out she is native to our Garden State, and by association alone is deserving of our attention.
So after my last article about how art history is the bomb and how you should drop everything else to take an art history course to culture yourself and all that noise, I’m slightly changing tack.
Break dancing is probably the last thing you’d expect to find at Princeton, but for seniors Ezdean Fassassi and Olawale Oladehin, break dancing found them.
One author uses the phrase “dear reader” so many times and so gratuitously that it makes us wish Nabokov were alive to slap the writer in the face. Perfectly clashing sentences like this one abound: “Despite the superficial entertainment value of De Mond’s work, the political undertones shone through.” What? Another article is authored by someone whose name is prefixed by the soi-disant title, “The Rolling Stone.” Spoiler: he rolls off a cliff.
However, the bulk of OSF’s content consists in the form of interviews — you know, the lowest form of journalism. This is the case for two reasons, we believe. First, interviews preponderate in OSF because anything beyond mere transcription strains the writing capacities of their staff. Second, it serves as a vehicle for the editors’ vapid kibbitzing with famous people (Tavis Smiley, J.J. Abrams, David Geffen, Aaron Ryder, Tara Reid, et al.). We never thought it was possible for a publication to be more nakedly careerist than Business Today, but jesus here we are. Here are a few excerpts.
To Aaron Ryder:
Last question, what advice do you have for college kids who want to get into the business side of filmmaking?
To J.J. Abrams:
“My final and last question is for Princeton Universiry aspiring writers and directors. Do you have any advice?”
To David Geffen:
“Finally, what advice do you have for any aspiring media moguls out there?”
“TARA REID BOWLS?” the front cover of OSF asks with slack-jawed incredulity, as if this burning question would reasonably occur to anyone on the planet and as if there is some devastating and worthwhile answer to it waiting inside. This is the celebrity interview section, seemingly conducted exclusively so that the interviewers might figuratively ejaculate on their subjects’ faces (but in a good way, you know?).
After describing Taradise as a “gem,” the magazine continues: “OSF had a chance to sit down with Tara and find out what it’s all about.” What is it all about, OSF? While we’re at it, what the fuck is it supposed to be? Bad boob jobs and alcoholism? The writer-as-narcissistic-idiot?
Fortunately, OSF’s celebrity circle-jerk doesn’t end after we learn that Tara Reid’s favorite drink is a “strawberry banana smoothie.” Excerpts from the hard-hitting, take-no-prisoners interview with David Geffen:
Following up on Dreamworks, your recent films have been extraordinary hits.
It is a rare thing that anyone has been at the top of one industry let alone three. What drives you to your next project?
After reading this article, we are shocked, shocked, that many in Hollywood still refuse to see Geffen as the American hero he is. To Aaron Ryder the interviewer coyly confesses a sophisticated observation:
“What struck me immediately when going over your body of work is the quality. You simply make great pictures.”
In conversation with J.J. Abrams OSF offers up more adulation-in-the-form-of-questions:
“That’s awesome. People know that you’re a Producer and that you’re a Writer and Director, but not many people know that you’re a Composer too, how did you get involved doing that?”
OSF is terrible and offensive. It is the worst combination of old and new Princeton. It represents elitism without taste and vulgarity without democracy. Much like genocide, OSF is a spectacular atrocity, the responsibility for which ultimately lies with the entire community of Princeton because we let it happen. That the USG and ODUS helped pay for this is beyond us. That Paul Muldoon and Cornel West serve on its “advisory” board is similarly mind-boggling and — we’re sorry to say — to their discredit. That people wrote articles and did layout for OSF without bestirring themselves to ask where this insane orange-and-black troika was rushing…is insane.
Princeton, here’s our plea. The world needs a third issue of OSF like it needs more nuclear testing. Can we please, please just call it quits at two? Until then, we’re going to have ourselves a good, long cry.
—HAL PARKER AND JACOB SAVAGE