A Peek Inside the Skull & Bones Tomb

Here’s a (kind of boring) look inside of Skull & Bones. Layered with a Requiem-for-a-Dream-like dramatic soundtrack, this video tracks some iPhone-toting legionnaire venturing into the basement and courtyard of Yale’s oldest secret society. Unfortunately, the hypersecretive society doesn’t have too many skeletons in their closet. They do have a couple of barbecue grills, some windy stone stairs, lots of dust, and a coffin. That part is actually kind of cool. Any chance Gdub once slept there?

For the record, this may or may not be the Tomb. It looks like Yale with all those pointed arches and stuff. But we were really hoping to see Geronimo’s skull.

Yale Tabloid Releases Secret Society Rosters, No One Cares

Yale’s Rumpus magazine recently published the full list of secret society inductees for 2009. These future-leaders-of-the-world hopefuls join a league of will-never-really-be-leaders-of-the-world Yale alums plus George W. Bush. Meanwhile, nobody outside of New Haven gives a shit after that Joshua Jackson movie showed how whack secret societies are anyways.

The lists may or may not be correct, but Google doesn’t care. The only name we actually recognized immediately was Andrew Mangino, former Yale Daily News editor-in-chief who is now a Scroll and Key member, again. (Wonder if he applied…and too bad he’s not a Boner…) Since he was on last year’s list, this  seems confusing. Smells like journalistic integrity, nevertheless.

After the jump, the absurdly long list of tap-ees and the trailer to aforementioned Joshua Jackson movie. The list is really effing long. Do the Elis really need 32 secret societies? Do we have a little complex, Yale?

Correction: Kind commenters have let me know that Rumpus publishes the list of graduating members, so obvious that Mangino is on both. We still don’t care.

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Skull and Bones Sued For Possessing Geronimo’s Skull and Bones

Controversy is brewing around Skull and Bones, the laughably un-secret secret society par excellence at Yale. Descendants of Geronimo, the 19th century Apache warrior, are suing the shadowy senior club for allegedly stealing the remains of their ancestor in 1918, and for keeping it at their New Haven tomb ever since.

MSNBC writes that

According to lore, members of Skull and Bones — including former President George W. Bush’s grandfather, Prescott Bush — dug up his grave when a group of Army volunteers from Yale was stationed at the fort during World War I, taking his skull and some of his bones.

The skull evidently now sits in a glass display nicknamed, well, “Geronimo.” Those tapped might even have to kiss the contested skull to join the super-secret society.This rumor has gained more traction in recent years, since in 2005

Yale historian Marc Wortman discovered a letter written in 1918 from one Skull and Bones member to another that seemed to lend validity to the tale. The letter, sent to F. Trubee Davison by Winter Mead, said Geronimo’s skull and other remains were taken from the leader’s burial site, along with several pieces of tack for a horse. ‘The skull of the worthy Geronimo the Terrible, exhumed from its tomb at Fort Sill by your club and Knight Haffuer, is now safe inside the T — together with is well worn femurs, bit and saddle horn,’ Mead wrote.

Read what the Geronimo family thinks after the jump.

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Liveblogging: Gossip Girl’s “Yale” Episode

IvyGate is camped out in the Barnard quad, watching (and liveblogging) Gossip Girl along with a bevy of enthralled Barnard girls.  And yes, this is the episode where Gossip Girl decided to film at Columbia and call it Yale.

8:01:  It’s starting!  Everyone is cheering.  This is going to be a long hour.

8:02  Apparently all of the characters are going to visit Yale.  Time to pile into their town cars and tell their maids to pack some argyle sweaters in their monogram luggage.

8:03: Oh, snap.  Serena just claimed that “Yale is for overachieving bookworms and preppies.”  Um…just Yale?

8:05:  “I heard Marc Jacobs named a purse after her” –Dorota, the housekeeper, on Serena.  Because we can’t all be BryanBoy.

8:08:  Chuck Bass wants to bone a bunch of women’s studies majors. A girl in the lounge whoops and yells “Barnard!”

8:09:  Apparently Chuck has a very different idea about the “freshman fifteen” than most of us.

Read more, after the jump:
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I’d Tap That: Skull & Bones Does Spring Break

Once again it’s time for another installment of everyone’s favorite chick lit romp through the mystery-filled tomb of Skull & Bones–er, Rose & Grave. Yale Grad (’01) Diana Peterfreund delivers schadenfreude, secret society pranks and sex (okay, foreplay) on the beach in Rites of Spring (Break), the latest book in her “Ivy League Novel “ quartet, out from Delta Fiction earlier this month.

“Eli” (read: Yale) University senior Amy “Bugaboo” Haskel is panicked about graduation. But when she and her fellow Rose & Grave knights pull a prank on rival society Dragon’s Head, Amy winds up with a lot more to worry about than her lack of job offers. Dragon’s Head wants revenge, and they’ve chosen Amy as their target. After months of dye in her shampoo, crickets in her dorm suite, and soda dumped on her textbooks, Amy is more than ready to party it up during Spring Break. Rather than Cancun, our plucky heroine heads for Cavador Key, her secret society’s private island. But Cavador Key isn’t exactly drama free, either. Someone has infiltrated the island, and Amy must dodge death threats, bad seafood, and the prying eyes of her society members as she starts hooking up with Jamie, a society patriarch who avid fans will remember as the villain from past books in the series.

Along with the gang from previous books (including a governor’s playboy son, a former teen actress, a lesbian activist, a straight-edge genius computer programmer and a Manhattan socialite), Peterfreund adds another gem to the cast of society types we love to hate: Darren, the high school-aged son of society patriarch and disgraced senator, who proclaims of Aristotle, “I find his tone to be remarkably jejune.”

Rites of Spring (Break) is the perfect beach read for Ivy Leaguers who want a break from academia, but not from campus drama. Peterfreund has created a sympathetic and spirited heroine who, despite her annoying penchant for confessions and lists, you kind of wish you became friends with back in lit hum. In spite of the peppy cover, poppy narrative and preppy undertones, Peterfreund definitely knows how to create suspense. And her—I mean, Amy’s–thoughts on the impending doom of graduation are uncomfortably on the mark:

The biggest problem with being a relatively small fish in the best pond ever is that you start to lower your own expectations. Maybe if I’d gone to a smaller school, or a less prestigious school, I’d have convinced myself that I was still the hotshot I was as a high school valedictorian headed to an Ivy League college. Instead, I’d spent three years recalibrating my dreams to fit into the caste that the resident geniuses at Eli had shown me to be a part of. Above average, to be sure, but not summa.”

There were a few too many loose ends for my taste (but then again, my taste isn’t exactly romance novels, so maybe I’m off course), and a couple of lines that made me snort (and not in an ‘oh, that’s funny’ way), but overall, if you’re looking for a book to toss in your tote on the way to Cape Cod, or just want to convince yourself that being a Philo pwns the shit out of being in a real secret society, this is a pretty good pick.

Why We Love Skull and Bones, Reason No. 2678

Why We Love Skull and Bones, Reason No. 2678Since no Bonesman is allowed to ‘fess up to being one, the organization is, by necessity, unable to denounce frauds. Consequently, it is really easy to play jokes on them. Yale pre-frosh Princeton Ji Chang (not to be confused with Princeton freshman Princeton Kwong; apparently there was a bubble of Princetons born around 1990) stumbled across a group of “Bonesmen” offering photo-ops during Bulldog Days:

So here I am, young, impressionable Princeton Ji Chang, walkin’ round Yale during orientation week [Bulldog Days] when — suddenly and without warning — a bunch of cloaked Skull-and-Bonesmen came up to me! Apparently they were holding a fundraiser: $2 polaroids, and $0.25 autographs. So, of course, I totally took a picture with them in front of their creepy building (i think they call it a tomb or something?). Anyway, the picture’s great. But the whole thing struck me as a little odd – does Skull and Bones really need to be doing fundraising? And do they always wear such creepy clothes?

Nah. Usually they just pop the collars on their vampire capes and call it a day.

Expect These People to be Really Smug This Week

Expect These People to be Really Smug This Week

Yale, can you feel the excitement? It’s secret society tapping season! Last night Tonight is “pre-tap,” which is when society members alert desired members to their sought-after status, and we have here an exclusive leak on Skull & Bones’ list! Pre-tap-ees get a week to choose whether or not to accept. Should any decline, our tipster says the alternates are

Meghan Murphy, Andrew Mangino (Editor in chief of YDN), and Michael Losak, in that order. 

So, if the last three really want to be Boners, they now have a hitlist and estimation of how many of their peers they have to destroy to get in. Someone should make a reality tv show out of this.

As for the likelihood that the above is true, well, your guess is as good as mine. Yale-based readers can hash it out in the comments. But I googled the first guy and found an article about his “Patrick Bateman-approved bachelor pad,” so that bodes well.

UPDATE: Whoops, tap is tonight, not last night. Apologies to confused tap-ees and/or anyone who burst into tears because they thought nobody wanted them. You have a whole new 24-hour cycle to wait anxiously through!

George H. W. Bush: One Last Bonesman Bash?

George H. W. Bush: One Last Bonesman Bash?An interesting coincidence: The same weekend that George H. W. Bush (Y’48, S&B’4life) dropped by New Haven to receive a Yale alumni award, witnesses saw a truck from the nearby Hamden Rental Center unloading an impressive quantity of tables and chairs at the Skull & Bones tomb. Famously absent from Boner bashes in recent years (last appearance we can confirm was in 1998), all signs point to the 83-year-old Bush Sr. as guest of honor at the Bones’ latest homoerotic leather-daddy Satan-worship, or ritualized flag-burning, or whatever strange and magical things they do in those windowless buildings on High Street.

Obviously, the Bonesmen declined to comment on this story. Also obviously, there are no photos of Bush strolling into the tomb. So instead, at right, Bush frolicking in the streets of New Haven. He appears to be packing a snowball, but actually he is signing a baseball. Because that’s what you do when you’re old, famous, and powerful: sign sports paraphernalia that has absolutely nothing to do with the reason you are famous.

As for that blatant O-face beneath the words “Toad’s Funk,” I think we just got a new sexual euphemism.

Ivy League Beach Read: Secret Society Girl

Ivy League Beach Read: Secret Society GirlElite upper education is the new black. Or, more accurately, it’s the new Bratz doll, with tarted-up student heroines taking over the chick lit shelf and associated mascara-wearing media.  It all started when Gilmore Girls‘ Rory went to Yale.  Or when Curtis Sittenfeld’s Groton-inspired novel, Prep, hit the bestseller list.  It could have ended with Kaavya‘s plagiarism scandal, but the ensuing discussion of stressed-out, too-pressured teens (and hints at an unabashed sense of entitlement) is all part of the Ivy League mystique that is so-hot-right-now.  And so the paperback-craving masses continue to demand CVs with their fiction.

Enter Diana Peterfreund, Yale ’01, Geology/Literature double major and certified hottie (her swelling bosom appears on several romance novel covers), author of the work-in-progress Secret Society Girl series, chronicling the plight of a smart, sassy “Eli University” student tapped by ultra-intimidating secret society “Rose & Grave.”  Two SSG novels are in stores now; a third is on the way.

There’s a one-to-one correlation between reality and Peterfreund’s fiction, right down the last roman numeral behind each Digger’s (as R&G members are known) name.  Crib sheet including excerpts and a couple spoilers, after the jump.
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Skull and Bones Member Burns American Flag

Skull and Bones Member Burns American FlagBy now you’ve probably heard about those crazy Yalies who burned that flag. In brief: Three Yale students — Said Hyder Akbar ’07, Nikolaos Angelopoulos ’10, and Farhad Anklesaria ’10 — were thrown in jail after setting alight an ol’ Star Spangled that was still attached to a New Haven residence. The backstory that’s got everyone so huffy, though, is that Akbar is from Pakistan and his dad is a former governor of a province in Afghanistan and adviser to Hamid Karzai. But wait! The juicy little morsel that the YDN, the New Haven Register, and the New York Times forgot to include?

Akbar’s in Skull and Bones.

Can you imagine what will happen when Akbar and President Bush meet up at the next Bonesman retreat to Deer Island? Awwwwwwkward!

We only have one source on this, but until we can confirm, we want to believe our inner conspiracy-dar. One of the trio has already posted bail — can’t Akbar get a presidential pardon or something?* And my-dad’s-an-Afghani-governor notwithstanding, the guy’s got the overachiever resume to back up a tap: translator in Afghanistan, not to mention he’s on pace to write more memoirs than Kissinger, from his book to his NPR dispatch to this series he did for Slate.

Taking a step back, though, the fact that Akbar is a Boner only ripens the tale. From what little info we’ve gleaned (and as the Times points out, there’s not much to glean), this isn’t a story about politics. It’s about idiocy so supreme that these dudes should start hoping it becomes a free speech case. Just look at the chronology laid out in the YDN:

[Police spokeswoman Bonnie] Posick said police officers first encountered the students when they passed the trio while driving down Chapel Street into Fair Haven. The students flagged the officers down, she said, asking them how to get back to campus.

The students told the officers they had been visiting a friend and had gotten lost while returning home, she said.

Later, when the officers were driving back down Chapel Street to see if the students had found their way back, they saw that a flag hanging off of 512 Chapel St. was engulfed in flames, Posick said. While one officer removed the burning flag, the other officer stopped the students, who were further down the street.

Just to be clear: These intellectual rockstars decided to flag down a police vehicle in the middle of the night, then burned a flag on the same street shortly thereafter. While it was still attached to a house. Put away the picket signs, First Amendment fans, and forget the paddy wagon, neocons. These guys need to be put on the short bus.

*Correction: This article originally stated that Akbar had posted bail. He has not.