If students had a rallying cry today, it would probably be “We’re bored as hell and we’re not gonna take it anymore!” And where are the legions of bored people congregating? Online, naturally.
The anonymous chat site Bored at Butler — a reference to Columbia’s Butler Library — launched last fall and quickly became Columbia’s id. Students don’t vent; they fume. The discussion doesn’t devolve; it starts on the ground level. No subject is off limits, from racial stereotypes to sex positions to whether the girl in the green sweater in Room 209 is a virgin. You’ll also find
the occasional nonstop solicitation. This conversation excerpt is pretty representative:
“I’d be game”
“where is everyone else”
“we’re all guys”
Now the site’s creator, Jonathan Pappas ’06, has used the B@B template to create Bored at Lamont for restless Harvard kids and Bored at Bobst for NYU. Pappas thinks the Columbia site’s popularity was “difficult to recreate elsewhere” since it’s the result of a “culture specific to Columbia.” But wait, what’s more universal than sounding off online behind a comfy veil of anonymity?
“The goal of these Web sites was to create a forum for truly free speech,” he wrote in an e-mail. “Taking away inhibitions results in a colorful display of extreme brilliance and extreme ignorance.” Take it away, comments section.