Occupy Us!

Well.

This feels strange. Like being the weird, paunchy alumni who show up at a kegger making outdated cultural references (see headline) and trying to strike up conversations about classes that have long since been discontinued. So we’ll keep this brief.

Your fearless editor-in-chief Peter Finocchiaro is moving on to even greener pastures, which means our annual-or-so hunt for new talent is on. We’re looking for the usual things: hyper-competence, devilishness, good judgment (!), and some reportorial chops. Running IvyGate is actually a lot of work, but it is equally a lot of fun. Read the rest of this entry »

Summer Plans? Summer Tans!

Summer Plans? Summer Tans!

Um, hi, it’s your absentee landlords, checking in for the first time in months!

If you’re like us, the only thing longer than your summer To-Do list is your summer Not-to-Do list: countries not to visit, books not to read, jobs not to get, and, most importantly, blogs not to write. So starting next week, IvyGate will be trading in its argyle sweaters for argyle Speedos, tweed jackets for tweed beaters, and going on early summer leave.

But what would summer be without a little resume padding? That’s where you come in. Last year, we handed the blogging reins to an excellent group of summer editors; several of them – notably Maureen and Jacob and Hal, to whom we owe our souls – stuck around and valiantly edited the site for the academic year. We’re hoping to do something similar this time around. So if you or anyone you know is funny, brainy, and self-destructive enough to put their life on the line and blog through these hot August days, please get in touch by May 16 and we’ll talk.

May 2: Last day of publishing
May 3 – June 15: Dark
June 16 – August 22: Summer Editors

This being summer and all, we’re open to everything, including people who wouldn’t necessarily be obvious choices. Given the general summer slowdown in news, we’re especially fond of peeps with journalism backgrounds who know how to pursue stories. And remember, we abhor the Ivy League, so there are absolutely no requirements here (like attending an Ivy school).

Otherwise, whether you’re writing the great American novel or finding spiritual fulfillment at Lehman Brothers; volunteering for Obama or volunteering for, well, Obama; competing in the Olympics or challenging our high score in Torch Run (215, kid you not), enjoy your freedom. It only comes four months out of the year!

In the meantime, if you’re sitting on any last-minute tips, don’t be shy.

P.S. — Seriously, though, big thanks again to Maureen, Jacob, and Hal. Writing this site is a thankless job, and they made our little flash in the pan glint a little longer.

Cheers, 

Chris and Nick 

Drab Ennui of “The Office” Translates to Columbia Remarkably Well

Drab Ennui of "The Office" Translates to Columbia Remarkably WellIf you haven’t noticed, The Office is multiplying at a lapine rate. First there was the British version. Then NBC’s remake. Then some French and German versions. Extrapolate this trend and you get a parallel universe consisting entirely of Office remakes, one for every corporate culture on earth. The Onion: “CBS To Release Own Version Of NBC’s The Office.” It was only a matter of time before Office fever spread to academia.

This time the story is set at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, an institution that we imagine buys red tape by the mile. These are students training to be parts of bureaucratic machinery. Navigating the school’s rigid hierarchy, financial aid office, and shoddy advising system — that’s just part of your education! At the very least, a few students saw enough similarity between their school and the existential mudpit of The Office to write and shoot their own remarkably faithful remake. It’s got the same characters as the NBC version, only everyone is Columbia-fied: Michael Scott burns time surfing J Date. Dwight denies students financial aid. The deans award fellowships by picking out the cutest applicants’ photos and throwing darts at the finalists to determine the winner. It’s worth a gander, but you’ll have to fill out a permission request first.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Ivy Class Day Speaker Smackdown

Ivy Class Day Speaker Smackdown

It’s practically a ritual for seniors to get righteously pissed off about their Class Day speakers. Jim Lehrer? Too stuffy. John McCain? Too conservative. Soledad O’Brien? OK yeah, she’s actually pretty lame

So after seeing how the Ivies stack up in terms of musical guests, we thought a Class Day speaker-measuring contest would be in order. Who scored the hot shots? Who got stuck with duds? Your call:

  • Brown: Craig Mello, Nobel Prize-winning biochemical researcher
  • Columbia: Matthew Fox, actor (Lost, Party of Five
  • Cornell: Soledad O’Brien, CNN anchor 
  • Dartmouth: Henry Paulson, Treasury secretary
  • Harvard: Bill Clinton, former U.S. president; Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft 
  • Penn: James Baker, former secretary of state 
  • Princeton: Bradley Whitford, actor (The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip)
  • Yale: Fareed Zakaria, editor, Newsweek International

It seems clear Harvard scored the jackpot this time around. You’d think just one of the two most famous Bills in the world would have been enough. (Maybe Harvard wasn’t sure which one was more prestigious, so they invited both just to be safe.) But don’t rule out some dark horse performances. Who knows, maybe Bradley Whitford will deliver one of those rousing paeans to American values and soft backlighting. Maybe Matthew Fox will share anecdotes about his own sexiness back when he attended Columbia. If you get video, let us know.

(Re the Fox uproar: Now is probably a good time to tell you that in March, we read at Bwog that the actor Robert Maschio — aka Scrubs‘s “The Todd” — had offered to give a counter-Fox commencement speech at Columbia, opposite Fox. We emailed him to offer IvyGate as an official sponsor of the greatest speech ever; Maschio was totally into it, until it came time to commit, and then he backed off. Something lame about t-shirts. We were crushed, but regardless, now we can tell our children that we discussed going halfsies on kegs with the greatest actor of his generation, and no one can take that away.)

Hangovers, Assemble!

Some a cappella groups are at their best when they’re not singing. That’s not to say the Cornell Hangovers, a sub-group of the Cornell Glee Club, can’t make the sun shine and the bras unclasp with their dulcet tones. (You can judge for yourself here.) All we know is, if stardom eludes them, they can always fall back on careers making intro films for other a cappella groups.

Of course, it’s nearly impossible to make a bad film with the X-Men animated series theme song at your back. (Click that link, by the way. You won’t regret it)

T.I. Puts $50,000 Bounty on Cornell Student’s Head

T.I. Puts $50,000 Bounty on Cornell Student's HeadWhen Cornell booked Georgia rapper T.I. to play its annual Slope Day, it must have known his reputation. Possession charges, gun fights, parole violations — Clifford Joseph Harris Jr.’s record is no secret. (We do admire his work with the Make-a-Wish Foundation.) But even they must have been surprised when, mid-song, the emcee stopped the music and went on a two-minute diatribe against a kid who’d apparently thrown a water bottle at him.

Instead of politely asking the student to refrain from throwing projectiles, T.I. took the next logical step and put $50,000 on his head. At a club or arena, this would be notable but uninteresting. At Cornell, it’s surreal.

The video below is spotty, so we’ve included an abridged transcript. You may notice the DJ gets a little carried away with the gunshot sound effects: 

Don’t motherfucking play with me, homeboy … You don’t throw nothing at me, I won’t throw nothing at you, you dig that? [gunshot sounds] … I respect your school doing your thang [Ed. note: Can this blurb please be engraved into stone on Ho Plaza?], but I’m a real street nigga, I don’t play that shit, homes. … Anybody else throws something up on this stage, I got 50,000 on his head, I ain’t bullshitting. [gunshots] [guns cocking] [more guns shooting / cocking] … That’s the way it goes … Don’t motherfucking play with me man [gun cocks] … Y’all see what it going have to be , right? … [cocks] Hey, we need to continue this show. Throw something up here and you’re getting thrown out, you’re going to jail tonight. … Let’s do this [cocks] … I need some head busters out there in the crowd. … I need some plainclothes out there. … If you see someone throw something, you know them out, come on and get your money.

It’s hard to know where to start. First off, is it just us, or is T.I. really telling Cornell to snitch on its own? For shame. Plus, all that gun-cocking gets a little excessive. Everyone knows you can only cock a gun once in between rounds. It also makes you wonder how many “head busters” actually attend Cornell, and whether T.I. is aware of the likely scarcity.

P.S. We’re actually not positive it’s the original bottle-thrower that T.I. puts the bounty on — it could be a hypothetical reward for violence against any subsequent hurlers. Close textual analysis appreciated.

UPDATE 5:30 p.m.: Nooooo! T.I. has pulled one over on us for the last time!

Harvard Students Live Out Global Domination Fantasies

Harvard Students Live Out Global Domination FantasiesIt’s always irritating to hear people criticize college kids for “having too much time on their hands.” After all, it’s those kids — the ones with all that extra time — who end up starting little companies like, you know, Facebook, or Microsoft.

Case in point: this e-mail sent out to Harvard’s Adams House Sunday afternoon: 

From: [redacted]
Date: May 6, 2007 4:41 PM
Subject: [ADAMS] SAVE CLAVERLY!!
To: [redacted]

My fair Adamsians,

Right now, our beloved Claverly Hall is in grave danger.  The blue skies over Mt. Auburn stree are darked by a teeming horde of barbarians.
These foul creatures will stop at nothing to get their greasy hands on the jewel of gold coast housing.  I am, of course, referring to Winthrop house.  Right now, they have 64 armies poised on our border, ready to sweep in and occupy.  It is defended by only 35 valiant Adams knights. Brave and strong as they are, their numbers are too few.  As a resident of Claverly, I cannot bear to live ruled by the debaucherous Winthropians!  I beg you, my friends, to come to our aid!

We will fight them on Linden Street!  We will fight them in the pool! We will fight them in the tunnels!  WE WILL NEVER SURRENDER!  Sign up for Risk before 5 PM!

~Will

We haven’t seen Harvard kids so riled up since The Crimson tried to take away their maids!

The idea for a campus-wide game of game of Risk is nothing less than genius. For starters, it’s perfect for finals period: Unlike the squirtgun shootout Assassins, you never have to leave your dorm. Students form teams that must then conquer other dorms. Whoever conquers all of campus by May 20 wins. Between now and then, we expect many battle-cry emails like the one above. (Even if you didn’t get into Harvard, you can watch the game here.)

There’s just one problem: Yale had the idea first. Earlier this year, Gabe Smedresman, Yale ’06, designed a campus-wide game of RISK that ended up attracting over 350 students. (Check out the original Yale version here.) Do the Harvard biters give credit? Meh, sort of. If you look at the Harvard edition’s FAQ page, it says the site was created by the Harvard College Events Board. But then at the bottom, in tiny print: “Based on idea and source code by Gabe Smedresman.” Aha!

If there was ever a sign that Yale looms large in Harvard’s rearview mirror, this is it. Next thing you know, Harvard dorms will start calling themselves “colleges,” the Crimson will transmogrify into a navy blue, and Harvard students will suddenly become fulfilled human beings. Mmm, on second thought, unlikely.

RagTime Special Edition: Farewell Columns

RagTime Special Edition: Farewell ColumnsA few of the Ivy dailies have a tradition — a combo of classy and self-indulgent — of giving departing columnists and reporters the opportunity to write one final column. In their minds, it’s the column by which they will be remembered for all time. (This is not always a good thing. Trust us on this.) Most of them put more time into these than they care to admit. But rarely do you get a chance to examine these good-byes as a whole. So we’ve rounded up some of this year’s batch. They’re not necessarily the best of the bunch, but they’re the ones we noticed. (Look for more as some of the other dailies close out for the summer.)

Harvard Virginity Caught on Tape

If you didn’t catch last week’s Crimson article on abstinence, that’s OK. The only detail you really need to know, as Dana Goldstein of Campus Progress helpfully pointed out, is this one:

According to an online survey conducted by University Health Services (UHS) last spring that drew an undergraduate response rate of 40 percent, nearly half of all respondents (47 percent) reported that they had never engaged in vaginal intercourse. The national average for undergraduates at other colleges stood significantly lower at 31 to 32 percent.

Funny, we figured it was a piece about voluntary abstinence.

We didn’t mention this story when it ran because we didn’t really have much to add. But then we spotted this Harvard video, and suddenly everything just sort of made sense:

Double Feature: Yalies Having Fun

In honor of the cinematic triumph that is Grindhouse, we present not one but two films for your viewing pleasure. Both take place at Yale and both center on one theme: unalloyed stupidity. That’s not to say that this behavior is at all rare, or that we haven’t done equally dumb things ourselves. It’s just this time, for better or worse, there happened to be a camera present.

Part One: A Song

Part Two: 6 inches