Blue Book, December 2014
Updated: Jul 17
Letter from the editor.
Passion is a word, perhaps a too purple one, that comes up often in descriptions of what an undergraduate education is supposed to be: a chance to expose yourself to the full spread of human doing, looking for your place, the thing that will drive your life. A passion, whatever it is. Locate it within yourself, and you will never have an excuse to be depressed.
I’m surprised to admit that my most passionate moments this semester–the moments I’m actually straining with all my attentive force, explosively motivated—probably arose in the context of PE Squash, where my class rank is approximately five.
I’ve never been an athletic kid, although my mom is ripped. Still, I’ve astonished myself on the squash court: running until I can’t breathe, planning traps, working the angles, smacking the shit out of the ball. When I’m feeling it, that monochrome desire to win, I can’t help but try as hard as my body will allow. My body is in the service of something spectacular. Squash.
This isn’t a passion in the loftier sense. The feeling you’re after in sports is just sweet, salty domination. But passions come in various aspects, and that’s an important one; one perfectly well-suited to sexy, aerobic nonsense. Undergraduate life in our day, what with pre-professionalization, is also full of that passion for keeping up, triaging, planning, achieving—surviving. Then there’s that interesting one, the passion we all feel to … chill? Well: rage. And college may well be useless without its role as romantic, political, religious passionizer.
As a philosophy person and someone who’s serious about academia, I’ve also had my fair share of the passion that’s probably particular to college and places like it: the passion to learn and discuss, and to contribute to our explanation of what the world is like. I suppose most Columbia students do experience that, the passion for self-cultivation, at least for a portion of their time here. Hope so. It’s among the most nourishing. (It doesn’t make you feel like shit.)
And as word of caution (this is my last issue): I’ll bet most seniors wish they hadn’t given over so much of their time to their passions for raging and surviving and spent more of it, oh, spilling their guts on the squash court.
But, of course: you have to survive. And you have to rage.
— Torsten Odland,
New songs from Beyoncé
Ugly Christmas sweaters
Mozzarella sticks at McDonald’s
A GOP-controlled Senate
Strawberries from Westside Salad Bar
The Youth Vote
“But I—I’ve been a dodo. A complete and utter dodo.”
– Annabella Hochschild,
in her Spec Op-Ed
Match these class notes with the class that they were taken in!
1. Do we actually know ourselves? What are the boundaries of the subject?
A. Macro Economics
B. Gen Chem Lab
C. Advanced Body Sculpting
D. Psychology of Addiction
A. Intro to Quantitative Queer Theory
B. Physical Systems
D. New Math
3. Marx’s labor theory of value: not true. Dope maybe?
A. Intro Level Korean
B. Game Theoretical Modeling
C. Navigating the American Prison Space in the 21st Century Through the Lens of Modern Critical Theory: The Story of American Gendered Spaces in Modern Memory and its Connection to Ideas of Self and Other
D. Where am I?
4. The globalized self has become a commodity. With a deceptive genealogy. The phenomenology of gendered space has created trans-national reconfiguration of discourse on “leisure time.”
A. Eschatological Themes in Modern Legislature
B. No policy on lateness
C. Cell Biology
D. You can eat in class if you aren’t too loud
5. Historical status: didn’t actually literally happen. Allusion to ancient Rome. Sex tourism. Atypical use of Tobasco sauce.
A. Did they take attendance today?
B. I didn’t want to pay for the book
C. Is there a final paper?
D. Probably just gonna sit in the back
Answers: C, A, D, A, B