I wish I could say that 53 were some significant number in my life — my home address, my lucky number, something like that — because that would be one hell of a lede. But sadly, the number 53 holds no special significance for me, except that this column will be the 53rd installment of “Talking Backward/Fair Enough” — and also the last.
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2016 will not, I suspect, go down in the history books as one of humanity’s great success stories. Zika, North Korean nukes, Brexit and Trump all combined to make it an altogether pretty grim trip around the sun.
Writers like me get a lot of mileage out of poking fun at college students making big deals out of fairly minor ethical transgressions. Doing that with integrity, however, requires retaining the ability to tell the difference.
Early Wednesday morning, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States.
In the question of how it should regard unaffiliated single-sex social clubs, Penn seems poised to “do a Harvard.” It shouldn’t.
It’s got every element of the perfect 21st-century pop morality fable: a sympathetic band of marginalized heros; a sinister coalition of law enforcement and Big Oil colluding to oppress them; elements of racial and environmental activism topped off with a secret code that you — yes, you! — can use to confuse, confound and defeat the Powers That Be. It’s the classic tale of David and Goliath perfectly recast to align with the millennial-progressive gestalt.
It was a rough year for the American social fabric. The existing political order was under deep strain. On the left, a new brand of implacable activism was exploding among the youth; on the right, racial hostilities long-simmering subsurface took concrete form as a pugnacious strain of explicitly racist populism. Campuses across the country were erupting into protest. A year later, the presidential race featured a power-hungry, unlikable political insider making a second attempt for the White House; one opponent pushing dramatic expansion of social welfare and decreased military involvement overseas; another riding a demagogic tidal wave of white populist resentment and anger.
Early last week, the University of Florida circulated a memo to its undergraduates, cautioning them not to wear offensive costumes on Halloween.
This Monday, for the second time in less than a month, Brother Aden and his ragtag cadre of anti-gay “preachers” took up residence at the Button for a few hours to spew the noxious garbage that they confuse with theology.
There’s a particular reaction that folks like me — who worry openly about the presence and spread of “trigger warnings” on American campuses — hear a lot. It gets phrased in a variety of different ways, but basically it boils down to “what’s the big deal?”
This past Saturday, just before the start of Penn’s first home varsity football game, two members of the Penn cheerleading squad “[made] a statement,” according to a photo tweeted out by Penn Athletics. One took a knee and one raised her fist during the national anthem.
You may not have heard about this, but OZ sent a sleazy email which got leaked.
GROUP THINK is the DP’s round table section, where we throw a question at the columnists and see what answers stick. Read your favorite columnist, or read them all.
It’s official — the College Houses have out-TV’d my dad. As reported in a Daily Pennsylvanian news article by Ray Pomponio, starting this year College House residents will get Comcast’s Xfinity On Demand streaming service included in the ever-increasing price of rent.
I first saw the letter which University of Chicago Dean of Students John Ellison sent to his incoming freshman class on Twitter a day or so before it hit the mainstream press. Scanning the first grainy photocopy, I could sense a kerfuffle in the making.
It’s a scene right out of a classic college film or a rose-tinted admissions propaganda leaflet — a group of college students lazing around a dorm room or lounge, late at night, arguing about politics, philosophy and the meaning of life. It probably figured, to some extent, in your high school visions of what Ivy League life would be like. I know it did in mine.
The Summer Pennsylvanian reported late last month that Penn’s “yield rate” — the percentage of students who are offered admission to Penn who accept that offer — reached a record high this year at between 68 and 69 percent.
It’s been a tough week, and it’s only Wednesday. Everyone had too much end-of-semester work to enjoy the nice weather over the weekend, 1968 Wharton graduate Donald Trump won the Pennsylvania primary and the Department of Justice launched a ludicrous and unconstitutional attempt to criminalize academic open expression.
In the short span of time since the Penn community received the tragic news that yet another student had taken her own life, there has been an outpouring of grief and resolve to take steps to prevent future losses. This is heartening and as it should be.
I don’t think I need to spend much time condemning the protesters who prompted the cancellation of CIA Director John Brennan’s speech last Friday afternoon. Their own words and actions discredit them more comprehensively than I ever could. “I don’t think there’s any reason to allow [Brennan’s] speech,” one of the protest’s organizers told The Daily Pennsylvanian. “We do not believe that Brennan has the right to speak,” proclaimed the fliers that “Students for a Democratic Society” — the group that organized the disruption — distributed outside the venue.