Last month, the Daily Princetonian wrote a profile on senior football player Caraun Reid, P ’14. So far so good. They listed his career accomplishments and spoke highly of his prospects in the NFL draft. Alright, still no problem there. The DP used a photo to show the young man. What’s the problem?
Yesterday we noticed The Daily Princetonian’s unfortunate misquote of Antonin Scalia’s comments on homosexuality during a Q&A at Princeton on Monday evening. (The article was soon corrected.) Then, last night, MSNBC aired the same error beneath the paper’s logo. We imagine the scene at the Prince’s newsroom went something like this:
Unnamed Prince staffer #1: Oh my god. Our logo!
Unnamed Prince staffer #2: Our error. The error.
Unnamed Prince staffer #3: No. Nooooooooooooo!!!!
Unnamed Prince staffer #4: Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!
Disembodied voice of Shirley Tilghman: It was the only quote that anyone cared about!
Disembodied voice of David Petraeus: The only quote that mattered!
Yesterday the critic Glenn Greenwald published an excellent column describing the meretricious dynamic — recently thrust to the fore by the sudden resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus — between the American military and the individuals paid to report on it:
The military is by far the most respected and beloved institution among the US population — a dangerous fact in any democracy — and, even assuming they wanted to (which they don’t), our brave denizens of establishment journalism are petrified of running afoul of that kind of popular sentiment.
While Greenwald calls out several TV anchors for emoting, he misses one of “establishment journalism”‘s worst offenders: The Daily Princetonian.
Six weeks ago, in a 3,000-word story, the paper reported rumors that Petraeus was seeking Princeton’s presidency. (He’s an alum of the Graduate School.) A representative passage (bolding ours):
Other classmates of Petraeus described him as serious, intense and hardworking, which some said was necessary because of his desire to acquire a doctoral degree on a compressed schedule. Yet despite this indefatigable commitment to his academics, he still maintained a separate commitment that he would never cheat on: physical exercise. Petraeus ran competitively at the time and would always find time to fit a lengthy run into his schedule, classmates said.
Fast-forward to Friday. Within hours of Petraeus’s resignation, the Prince reported that, during interviews conducted for the article quoted above, Paula Broadwell’s relationship with Petraeus seemed sort of vague: Read the rest of this entry »
Prince Article Based Entirely on Off-the-Record Quotes from Politico Reporter, Other “Political Heavyweights”
Per the star-spangled Daily Princetonian, a Monday debate moderated by Politico’s Jonathan Martin
pitted former Republican National Committee chairman Mike Duncan and former George W. Bush communications adviser Jim Dyke against Press Secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Jesse Ferguson and former Communications Director for the House Budget Committee Nu Wexler.
Three different commenters on the Prince’s website state that the debate—on which the Prince’s article is based entirely— was conducted off-the-record. Or, in American, don’t quote us on this:
I attended the event and all the participants clearly stated they were doing this discussion off the record.
And: “Remember when all the participants said that they were doing the discussion off the record?” And: “These things were pretty clearly off the record.”
That didn’t stop the Prince from publishing an 810-word article which promiscuously quotes Martin et al’s political banter. Zero of which amounted, as far as we can tell, to any actual revelations—but still! Journalism! Integrity! Ethics! Etc. The dailies are supposed to be the good guys, remember?
No matter how many famous novelists in its employ, Princeton University is firstly a grooming school for bankers. With that in mind, the student-led Occupy Princeton has, for about a month now, protested (i.e., TERRORIZED) several recruitment events hosted by human rights organizations such as J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs. Which has struck many of the group’s betters as kind of . . . bizarre, yeah? Don’t these people want . . . money? And a summer property in an equatorial country? What else are we here for??
Fortunately, chipper Prince contributor Elise Backman ’15 and Prince columnist Aaron Applbaum ’14 have offered a time-tested solution to appeasing Occupy Princeton: Just work for Wall Street! Easy! You’ll fit right in!
It is true that the Princeton students of today traditionally become the Goldman partners of tomorrow, but chanting at them repetitively only serves to alienate them, not to change their minds.
Traditionally? Unless that awful Henry Moore sculpture is in fact a secret wormhole to Lower Manhattan, working for Goldman Sachs is about money, not one’s ride on the Long Orange Line.
Becoming more politically engaged and discussing fiscal policy, I believe, is the way to shift the dialogue and create the change sought after by the Occupy contingency. I see this as a way to alter, and break through our [in]famous complacency. This is not to say that Washington is exclusively at fault for New York’s behavior — both financiers and policy makers are to blame for their actions — but the two are inextricably tied and an opening for change right now lies in the political arena.
This is the counter-argument to the Occupy movement’s rather explicit charge that money has corrupted American politics? Unless Alan Greenspan recently rewrote several founding documents, no, “financiers” and politicians are not “inextricably tied.” Well, they are, of course. But that’s the problem, not an a priori truth.
When I have tried to discuss Occupy Princeton with my friends affiliated and unaffiliated with the movement, at the first sign of a critique I am met more often than not with, “Oh, of course, you just want to go make money on Wall Street,” “Don’t you care about the economy at all?” or my favorite: “You’re so politically apathetic — how Princeton of you.” Are we all suddenly politically apathetic if we don’t support Occupy Princeton?
Oh yes, the very reasonable “friends” argument: my friends said something, so everyone thinks it. QED! But wait: Read the rest of this entry »
Being an Ivy League student can be pretty stressful, no? So many J.Press receipts to sort through, so many candlelit wine-and-cheese poetry readings to attend, so much…a cappella. God, I feel like I need a brown paper bag just thinking about it.
Luckily for us all, we can take comfort in the fact that Princeton students are infinitely more stressed-out we could ever imagine. At least that’s the word according to Kelsey Zimmerman, a columnist for the Daily Princetonian, and living proof that Princeton kids should be forced to take mandatory Rumspringas to see what the real world is like. In a recent column about stress, Zimmerman writes:
After thinking it over, I quickly came to the conclusion that Princeton students are more stressed than the majority of college students. Of course, we deal with a lot of the same stressors that most college students do — grades, relationships, financial concerns. But Princeton students also face a lot of unique stressors.
Like what, I wonder? Distress at being beasted in the application race by Columbia? Anxiety about the impending demise of The Dinky Train From Hell? High cholesterol? Fear of the color orange? But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Here’s what Zimmerman poetically identifies as Princeton’s unique, brain-warping panic-button-pushers:
1) Princeton’s pricey(about $50,000 a year). Shock and woe! The hair on our eyebrows just got singed off from the sheer fiery unexpectedness of that number. We have no idea what our own tuitions are, but given the quality of our brainwaves, we suspect they’re about $2.99 plus tax.
2) Princeton’s hard. Heck, some people might even be smarter than you are, which could make your head explode if you don’t watch out. Plus some professors are big meanie heads. Poooo.
3) Princeton has a stupid academic calendar. We actually agree with this one. Forcing students to take exams after winter break is a great way to send them scurrying off to join America’s Next Top Model or whatever.
Fortunately, Zimmerman points out, there are plenty of tricks to alleviate Princeton Paranoia. Exhibit A: meditation lunches. Whatever the hell those are. She doesn’t mention eating clubs, but presumably gorging yourself into a diabetic coma is another way to avoid taking midterms.
Okay, we’re going to go out on a limb here. If Princeton’s more stressed than the rest of us, it might be because columns like these bode ill for the survival of Princetonkind. Survival of the fittest, guys.
Feminists have not been big fans of The Yale Daily News lately, most likely because of that unfortunate News’ View they wrote about a bunch of lewd frat bros. (Lesson learned: if you want to avoid being mauled by hordes of livid progressives, don’t publicly support anyone who chants “No means yes, yes means anal.“)
But things might be looking up for the YDN, thanks to a recent survey conducted by the lady-friendly OpEd Project. The survey examined three months’ worth of op-ed pieces in nine different publications–The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Salon, The Huffington Post, The Columbia Daily Spectator, The Daily Princetonian and The Yale Daily News–and found that overall, the YDN had the second-highest rate of female contributors (33 percent).
No doubt everyone’s still going to be pissed about that number, either because it’s too high, or too low, or too indivisible by four, or too much like two pairs of boobies turned to the side. But considering that in the final week of the survey, the NYT’s op-ed lineup was only 18 percent female, it looks like Yale is doing pretty well.
In fact, the only rag that consistently tops that number is the Columbia Spec. The full results of the survey won’t be released until February–and its coordinator, Augusta Hagen-Dillon, isn’t talking until then–but according to weekly reports, the Spec’s op-ed roster is typically more than 50 percent female. Check out a chart tallying the first two months of results, after the jump:
Last spring, Princeton announced that it was planning to host a reality TV show featuring ten undergrads. Somehow we missed that horrifying news item at the time–but luckily for us all, there’s still time to make fun of it! According to the Princetonian, this monstrosity is still happening, and if all goes well (read: if nothing goes well), the show’s creators will have a pilot ready by February.
The administration is still dragging its feet, perhaps because it fears the inevitable influx of Bumpit-wearing Slutty Susans from the rest of New Jersey, hoping to win their breasts a bit of camera time. Or maybe because it fears that not even the Slutty Susans can distract from the fact that Ivy Leaguers are pasty, pompous, lonely jackasses who wear a lot of wool and are generally kind of lame.
The makers of the show know that, obviously, which explains why they’re so keen to focus on Princeton itself, rather than its inhabitants. Behold Rosana Clawson, one of the project’s co-directors:
“The University is just so amazing, and the students are just so fabulous, and I want to portray that,” Clawson said. Rather than centering the show around individual students’ personalities, she explained that “Princeton is the main character.”
On the surface, it looks like Ms. Clawson has been binging on Ivy League Kool-Aid and giant doobies. But if we know reality TV people–and we like to think we do, despite the fact that we don’t actually know any of them–this cannot end well for Princeton. We have a sneaking feeling that the Princeton docudream is going to turn out like the deformed crack baby of The Apprentice and NYC Prep. And this statement does nothing to allay our fears:
“We generally look for synergies with the project,” Aronson said. Movies like “A Cinderella Story” and “Spanglish” feature female characters applying to Princeton and coincide with the University’s interest in increasing the number of applications from young women, she added.
“This is not going to be ‘Jersey Shore’ at Princeton,” Clawson said. “This is the academics, the elite, a very high, high taste. It’s just going to be elegant.”
We can’t wait to see what “elegant” reality television looks like. The last time a reality show demonstrated such “high, high taste,” the Whiffenpoofs were making fools of themselves on The Sing-Off. Oh wait. That was four days ago.
The hummus debacle that’s gripped Princeton for two weeks is about to hit the roof. Starting today at noon, Princetonians will be able to cast their votes on a student-government referendum banning Sabra hummus from university retail locations.
If the referendum succeeds, USG will make a formal recommendation to the school that it remove the hummus. And the Princeton Committee on Palestine, which wrote the item in question, will throw a hummus-free party. And the rest of the school will probably shrug their shoulders and buy whatever brand of hummus is eventually in stores. For all of you considering where you stand on the Great Hummus Debate, here’s a (highly biased, we admit it) roundup of the facts so far.
Princeton students are so wingnuts about the Hummus Wars that they actually spent their Thanksgiving breaks writing calls to arms in the Daily Princetonian. Not like anyone’s surprised that Princeton students would rather militate about chick peas than shut up and enjoy their R&R, but some of the language suggests that things could get ugly. The board of the Princetonian wrote a joint editorial advising students to vote “no” to hummus, because the company’s link to human rights violations was weak at best. Then Yoel Bitran carved out a column in the same paper to argue that the hummus business isn’t about the hummus at all, but about the basic rights to life and happiness and not being shot at over snack spreads:
The decision to choose Golani, of all possible institutions, should be offensive not only to those Princetonians of Palestinian descent, who have seen their people humiliated, injured and killed, but to anyone who is genuinely committed to defending basic human rights.
Apparently coverage by HuffPo, the New York Observer, and iFood.tv is enough to turn this issue from a spat among college students into a serious infraction of justice that speaks to the very heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Okay, fine. But just to be clear, we’re pretty sure that the mainstream media has picked up this story because the whole thing is totally insane, not because it’s a national crisis.
Princeton readers, are you voting? Do you say yea or nay?
Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman recently told the Ink in an interview that she is considering banning all Greek life on campus. The threat comes in the wake of a series by a recent Daily Princetonian tell-all with some surprising(?) conclusions. Students in fraternities were:
a. Wealthier and whiter than other students on campus. 88% of Greek Life at Princeton is white, 70% of Greeks come from families that make more than $150,000 a year. Even Tilghman said,
Those [students] who made the decision to participate in the Greek system were essentially engaging in organizations where they were going to meet people very similar to themselves. It looked and felt a lot like self-segregation. And that was a problem for us.
Tilgman’s thoughts on other, non-keg-stand-related extracurriculars:
You will see students who come out of very selective schools. You will see students who are coming out of public schools. You will see people of different ethnic groups. It looks like America.
Tilghman’s vision of America isn’t of a land run by a bunch of wealthy white me, like Princeton’s social life? For shame!
b. Frats are populated by barbaric, misogynistic brutes (remember, this is the DP talking. Haha… “DP.”) John Burford, a whistle-blowing sophomore who rushed SAE as a freshman briefly before jumping ship, gave some colorful descriptions. Burford was frequently forced to drink excessively; one of his brothers was taken to the hospital with a potentially life-threatening and totally buzz-killing blood alcohol level of o.40. Burford himself must have suffered damage to his stomach lining (or at least his gag reflex) after his first year;
On average, I threw up once a day for my entire first semester. Not every day, but once or twice a week, I would throw up multiple times.
Burford was sober enough to recall that 5 of the 7 guys in his pledge class were felled by alcohol poisoning during the year. As part of their pledge duties they were also sent to a strip club where he was treated to the world’s least enjoyable lap-dance:
Surrounded by his pledge brothers and 40 other club patrons, Burford climbed onto the stage and selected a stripper. She removed his shirt, handcuffed him to a tall metal pole in the middle of the stage and began to beat him with a thick leather belt volunteered by one of his pledge brothers.
Kinky. Burford, who also had trouble finishing his assigned tasks, was told to drink a 20-ounce soda bottle full of tobacco spit. This was reputedly a punishment for slacking off during milk-chugging/sprinting bouts; in other words, frat justice.
“Chewing tobacco pretty much instantly makes you throw up … so none of them thought I could do it,” Burford said. Still, he took the bottle and managed to drink all of its contents in one chug.
After pledge “activities” that forced Burford to risk hypothermia by swimming in a freezing lake — and his sanity, by making him listen to rounds of death metal at full volume in a dark, boiling hot room — he finally quit. Who can be sure of what was going through his head? Maybe he realized that he could make friends, get girls, and be social without having to suffer through barbaric ritual abuse? Or maybe he wanted to join ballroom dancing.
The national Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter, clearly all gentlemen, conducted a super-serious day-long investigation of hazing at the chapter–and shockingly found that the allegations were all super-seriously false. Princeton does not recognize greek life, which means they can’t investigate Burford’s claims or monitor fraternity activity. In President Tilghman’s words,
I fundamentally believe that it’s impossible to regulate the very things that we are most concerned about with fraternities … which are the excessive alcohol and the hazing.
She’s considering a few options: recognizing Greek life, suffering through the current status quo, or banning greek life completely by requiring students to sign a pledge not to pledge upon matriculation, which was the university’s policy between 1855 and World War II. If Burford’s experience tells us anything, it’s that the university absolutely needs a way to police it. A lot of the discussion in the aftermath of the Daily Princetonian‘s feature centered around a common refrain: ”wait until a student dies–then the Princeton administration will learn its lesson”. It shouldn’t have to come to that– and besides, kids have already risked their physical and mental health. John Burford told countless news sources about the illegal activities of the men he used to call “brother”; it’s not too wild to assume that these barbarous bros didn’t like that too much. Princeton already has exclusive eating clubs–greek life seems excessive. Even the founding president of Kappa Alpha Theta at Princeton, Mimi Stokes Brown ’85 backs us up;
My personal feeling is that the school doesn’t need them. Between the eating clubs and residential colleges, it just seems unnecessary… I can’t think what value is added by having fraternities and sororities.
Shirley Tilghman was recently the subject of The Ink‘s recurring 21-question interview and when asked to describe, in one sentence, what exactly she does all day, Tilghman says;
I work to ensure that in the future, including tomorrow, Princeton University is fulfilling to the greatest extent possible its potential to transform the lives of its students, and discover new knowledge.
If Tilghman really wants this to be true she has to change her policy. Non-recognition allows for illegal action to go unchecked. Banning might work, but frats could continue in secret, or hazing could just get squeezed into other social groups. Recognition could work if Princeton decides to take full responsibility and monitor fraternity parties and rush activities for fraternities and sororities. Maybe this would make greek life so lame no one would want to do it. That might not be a bad thing.