A word of advice: On coursebooks

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Cold, sterile shelves of capitalism (via flickr)"]Cold, sterile shelves of capitalism (via flickr)[/caption]

Oh hey freshman carrying two very heavy-looking Labyrinth bags. What’s that? Oh, you like playing exorbitant prices for books that you’ll read ten pages of and never look at again?

For those of you who don’t wallpaper their rooms with euros or enjoy shilling top-shelf prices for absorbing titles like “Fundamentals of Microeconomics, Fifth Edition, with Special Accompanying Compact Disc You Realistically Won’t Ever Open,” take this piece of advice: Don’t buy from Labyrinth.

Yeah I guess buying books at Labyrinth would be cool, if it weren’t for the fact that Amazon has all the books you need, for a fraction of the price, and you don’t even need to schlep from Nassau with a crapload of volumes you won’t need for another four weeks. You won’t have to mess with the lines, or the humans, if that’s a sticking point for you. (Also, ever notice you can’t talk on the phone in there? Who are these people?)

Plus, now Amazon is offering a free one-year membership to its Prime service for college students (that’s you!), which means that you get free 2-day shipping for practically all the books you’re going to be ordering from them. Check the offer out here.

So, freshman with tired arms, I implore you, take those books back. There’s some fundamental microeconomics for you.

Movin’ on Out: A sign-off from UPC

[caption id="attachment_6610" align="alignleft" width="250" caption="Campus in a nutshell: Copious refuse, numerous vehicles, and tents"]Campus in a nutshell: Refuse, and tents[/caption]

If you’re wondering where that vague scent of trash is coming from, or why there are so many large people carrying heavy things around campus, you might want to snap out of your post-exam stupor and pack your stuff up: it’s move-out day. Everyone’s leaving!

(Unless you have Reunions housing, in which case Angela Hodgeman bestows you another 24 hours in your room before you have to move across the hall.)

And those big empty white tents and rows of wooden fences mean it’s officially Dead Week now, that calm before the Reunions storm. Everybody take a deep breath, catch up on your sleep, and maybe detox a little.

That’s our cue to peace for the summer. It’s been a pleasure writing for y’all, and be sure to check in again in the fall for news, musings, and everything you could possibly want and not want to know about our beloved Princestitution.

(But check back after Dead Week — we’ll be covering Reunions and commencement intermittently, as often as time and alumni partying will allow. And we’ll be covering the summer with our Weekly Updates and, of course, let you know if anything breaking happens.)



So you want to be a Supreme Court justice…

Screen shot 2010-04-26 at 12.26.31 AMSotomayoralitoObama

[from left to right: Kagan ’81, Sotomayor ’76, Alito ’72, and Obama ’85]

Do you plan on becoming a Supreme Court justice? Do you plan on becoming famous?

If so, do yourself a favor: Write your thesis on the most mundane, non-controversial topic possible.

Specifically, don’t write about:

  • Scary foreign lands (i.e. Puerto Rico)
    • Last year, Justice Sonia Sotomayor ’76 got a lot of flack for some of the views she espoused in her thesis, La Historia Ciclica de Puerto Rico. The Impact of the Life of Luis Munoz Marin on the Political and Economic History of Puerto Rico, 1930-1975, which came in at a whopping 178 pages.
    • And if you think you’re out of the woods after getting your final thesis grade, think twice. The National Journal had another professor regrade Sotomayor’s thesis 33 years later! The professor’s conclusion?: “the thesis would probably receive an A/A minus or an A minus.”
  • Scary topics Americans are scared of (i.e. socialism)
    • As we mentioned last week, Solicitor General (and leading Supreme Court nominee contender) Elena Kagan ’81 is also getting criticized for her senior thesis, To the Final Conflict: Socialism in New York City, 1900-1933. The Weekly Standard stated last summer, “Her political sympathies (at the time) seem quite clear — and radical.” Uh oh!
    • No word yet whether anyone will regrade Kagan’s thesis, but then again, she hasn’t been nominated yet.
  • Minority groups (i.e. Princeton-educated blacks)
    • And don’t you remember the media storm over the thesis First Lady Michelle Obama ’85 wrote? (Full text here.) Her thesis, Princeton Educated Blacks and the Black Community, compared black Princetonians’ identification with the black community while at Princeton and afterwards as alumni.
    • While Obama’s thesis wasn’t regraded, some pundits criticized her writing anyway. Slate.com’s Christopher Hitchens wrote, “To describe it as hard to read would be a mistake; the thesis cannot be ‘read’ at all, in the strict sense of the verb. This is because it wasn’t written in any known language.” Ouch.

Seriously, after all the flack Obama ’85, Sotomayor ’76, and now Kagan ’81 have received for their theses, it just doesn’t seem worth the trouble! So I implore you future-famous Princetonians: Write about really boring stuff.

Just look at the nomination (and confirmation) of Justice Samuel Alito ’72. His thesis, An Introduction to the Italian Constitutional Court, was apparently sufficiently boring enough to preclude any media circus in 2005. Of course, there was that whole CAP (Concerned Alumni of Princeton) thing. So if you want to become a Supreme Court justice, try not to join any racist/sexist organizations, too.

Click here for Part 2.

(image source: princeton.edu; nytimes.com; dailyprincetonian.com)

PrincetonFML asks “How do you wipe?” and 500 of us respond

[caption id="attachment_5956" align="alignright" width="318" caption="source: poo-news.com"]toilet-paper[/caption]

As our own David Walter declared last week, if it’s April, it’s, um, Excretory Month here on The Ink. But, really, we’re just reflecting what seems to be a campus-wide airing of excretory-related issues–it’s not just us!

Case in point:

  • the Prince ran an editorial cartoon on the 14th about the cartoonist’s traumatic experience with a rogue 5 AM urinator
  • and PrincetonFML‘s poll last week asked the community “How do you wipe?”

I wanted to discuss the PrincetonFML “How do you wipe?” poll in particular because I was stunned (and horrified) by the apparent diversity of wiping methods out there. The poll is no longer up, sadly, but in case you missed it over 500(!) people responded to it. As of April 20th:

  • a plurality (41%) answered “Crumpled, front to back”
  • in close second (38%) was “Folded, front to back”
  • 13% replied “Folded, back to front”
  • and just 8% said “Crumpled, back to front”

For the past 22 years of my life, I believed in one supreme being (I think) and one butt-wiping method, but this poll caused me to question some of my core beliefs–who knew so many people wiped in so many different ways? The poll also seemed to spur wiping experimentation on campus, which, according to this PrincetonFML post, went terribly awry.

I’ll admit that I’m biased and prejudiced on this matter as I have my own preference, but was anyone else slightly horrified at the idea of butt-wiping “Crumpled, back to front”? Or rather, just “back to front” wiping in general? Wouldn’t such deeds–for both males and females–conceivably cause unspeakable havoc?

The authoritative-seeming HowToWipeYourButt.com (yes, it really exists) says the proper way is “from front to back.” So how do the 21% of Princeton folks who do the opposite explain themselves? (Seriously, I’d like to know.) Perhaps we can think of this post (and the comments section) as our own “Sustained Dialogue” on the sensitive, taboo subject of butt-wiping.

I know that I’ve recently had my own beliefs challenged on this issue. One friend informed me that he subscribes to the “back to front” school of wiping. When I questioned his ways, he retorted, “How is it horrifying if you are male?”

This gave me pause. Is it okay for men and women to wipe in different ways? Do the concerns of “back to front” butt-wiping not apply to men? Please. Let’s discuss this.

(N.B. This will be the last time I ever write about Excretory Month, rest assured!)

Princeton 2014!: A word of advice

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="252" caption="via ivysport.com"]via ivysport.com[/caption]

Congratulations, Princeton Class of 2014. You’re better than 91.82% of everyone who decided to apply to Princeton this year! (Makes you sound smarter than you probably are, right? But so does saying we go to Princeton.)

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to navigate and survive this insane place that is exciting and great and awful and grade-deflating all at the same time. It’s a wild ride! (To be honest though, we bitch and moan about it but there’s nowhere we’d rather be.)

So in order to make this whole daunting thing a bit easier to swallow right now, we thought we’d offer some advice for you in this time of heady excitement (college!). You’re not here just yet, so be sure to watch yourself. Check out these rookie mistakes:

  • Don’t forget to generally steer away from stupid things.
  • Don’t forget to read this blog (this one).

Congrats again. (Oh, and it’s not like Harry Potter. Sorry.)

A Letter To My Freshman Self

[caption id="attachment_1826" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Not actually me. "]bacne[/caption]


Looking good in that American Eagle polo and drawstring cargo shorts. Might want to pick up a deep-V at some point, but the current ensemble probably won’t prevent you from rolling into Quadrangle, six dudes deep. Quadrangle (colloquially “Quad”) is one of ten eating clubs,  which are places you’ll go to up to four times a week to drain brews and nervously learn to socialize at an advanced undergraduate level. Tactics should not include: “Yeah, I’m totally a senior,” “Aren’t we Facebook friends?,” and “What activities are you doing to get into Woody Woo? I’m in Sustained Dialogue.” On that note, don’t be anxious about talking to girls– all the pretty ones have already slipped out of your reach and into the enviably post-pubescent arms of upperclassmen anyway. Maybe for now you should do me a solid and knock off an ST.

It’s cool that you love your entryway and your RCA is a total sweetie.  Enjoy those late-night philosophy discussions with your roommates and be sure to savor all those nuggets of bona fide intellectualism, including “Existentialism IS a humanism,” “Dude, that’s totally post-racial,”  and “You should totally rush St. A’s.” Soon the pseudo-intellectualism will begin to wane and you’ll find yourself power-walking directly to the liquor store once LIN360 lets out. Make sure not to schedule too many classes that end at 4:30–you’re going to need time to pick up a pack of 100s and a soy latte  (with room for Schnapps) before Nassau Weekly meetings.

Also, that mine-field of bacne you developed on OA should be clearing up any year now (consult Neutrogena), so cool beans. But, unfortunately, that hope you’re holding out of bulking up in the gym is change you can’t believe in. Your time is better spent funneling beers and volume booting all over your suite-mate’s wall.

Oh, and word to the wise, chief: photocopying Tower passes in Marquand is a no-go. They’re embossed.



Michelle Obama ’85 hearts UC-Merced :(

Unrequited love...

Unrequited love...

Oh, Michelle. How long will you scorn our love?

We name drop “Michelle LaVaughn Robinson ’85” in every conversation and press release possible. We’ve enshrined your image in the sacred Yankee Doodle Tap Room. We’ve appointed you to the sociology department’s advisory board. We’ve hired Cornel West and started the Center for African American Studies… just for you! WHY WON’T YOU LOVE US?

What must we do for your acknowledgment–your blessing? Even a slight recognition would do. A mention of your alma mater in a national interview. A casual orange and black outfit whilst dropping off Sasha and Malia at Sidwell. Revelations about your love for tigers. A trip to Nassau, Bahamas, even. ANYTHING! We love you, but you’ve visited only once since 1985, and it was to ask us for money.

Continue reading…

Democracy: It works sometimes

While USG elections are almost over, I’d like to take the opportunity to urge students to vote for Referenda 4 and 5.

Everyone’s heard the all the financial arguments against the proposals, so I won’t waste anyone’s time repeating them.

But realize this proposal isn’t a fiscally strategic move, or an administrative plan to end a nascent tradition on Prospect. No, this is a gesture, plain and simple, and an important one at that. If the referenda pass, it shows Princeton students are not the selfish Ivy League snobs many accuse us of being, but are instead conscientious and principled individuals.

Or, just imagine how foolish we’d look if it didn’t pass. Yep. Awkward.

At any rate, though, the choice is ultimately yours. But I’d like to think we could all sacrifice two hours of fun for a meaningful deed.

You can vote at the USG’s website here.

Aw come on, or, how I learned to stop believing in the USG

Cute boys! Tattoos! Girly drinks!

Cute boys! Tattoos! Girly drinks! Gym Class Heroes.

The Prince reported today that Gym Class Heroes will grace the Quadrangle Club with their awkward indie-hip hop presence to celebrate Lawnparties this Sunday.

Damn it.

While a bunch of Princetonians will inevitably be dancing to that kinda goofy song about cookies that’s actually about copulating, USG has once again dropped the proverbial Lawnparties ball. So much for those optimistic rumors about T-Pain coming. What is this, 2005?

Yeah, that’s right, Gym Class Heroes’ biggest hit (“Cupid’s Chokehold”) came out in February of 2005. So I guess it’s okay if we’re less than five years late on an act. Apparently the USG decided to go wild with their extra $10,000 budget this year and throw a huge high school throwback party.

In-depth ranting and some justification after the jump.

Continue reading…

Dear Campus Masturbator: Please Stop.

The Princeton community has received two Campus Safety Alerts from Public Safety since yesterday morning about reports of lewdness and sexual contact. The first report is, well, hilarious. But the second incident, not so much.

The first incident:

In separate incidents at approximately 2 and 2:39 a.m. on Saturday, April 18, 2009, two Princeton University female students reported a male was masturbating and exposed his genital area to them while they were walking alone across campus. The first incident took place as the victim was walking on McCosh Walk toward the University Store and the suspect was on the steps between Buyers and Witherspoon halls. The victim said she also saw the suspect earlier in the evening near 1879 Hall and the School of Architecture, where he was masturbating as he walked behind her. The second victim reported that she saw the suspect near the first entry of 1879 Hall, where he exposed himself. The victim said the suspect ran toward Washington Road toward Nassau Street. The suspect did not come into direct contact with either victim.

Continue reading…