The Bird, The Legend: The Genesis of Hawkmadinejad

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Self-appointed Chief Hawkmadinejad Biographer Sameea Butt sings of gender identity and incorporeality for the benefit of 2015.

Hawkma puffed up with Columbia pride

It all started with SIPA’s decision to make the annual World Leader’s Forum a smidge more interesting in 2007. They extended an invitation, with PrezBo’s blessing, to the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to speak on campus was met with a wide spectrum of reactions: some shouted for dialogue and perspective, while others tried to build an impenetrable human barrier between AJ and Lerner. There must have been free food on South Lawn that day, because he made it safe and sound to Roone to an event that was more or less tame given the insanity his presence precipitated.

A few months later, a hawk was spotted swooping down on its lunch of poor, unsuspecting city pigeon. A call for names was sent out, noting that hawks are territorial, “so he/she might be around for a while.” We had no idea. A short discussion in the comments section later, the notorious bird of prey and predator of the press became one: the red tailed petty dictator of city pigeons was christened Hawkmadinejad.

Contrary to her reputation, Hawkma wasn’t always the fear-mongering bird of prey we know today. It was a long and difficult ride up to the top of the Pantheon of Columbia animals, which to date includes, according to tipsters and commenters, Nathaniel the peregrine falcon, Goose Robbins, a bull named Moo Bullinger, a peacock, and a Morningside Park turkey.

When we first met Hawkma in 2007, she was just a juvenile red tailed hawk having a bit of a tough time settling into the neighbirdhood. She is reported to have frequently gotten into skirmishes with the local birds who, wary of her plans for campus takeover, would try to drive her out. She stood her ground though, boldly defending her new territory against aggressive squirrels and bullying crows.

The feisty little bird’s constant reminders (in the form of bloody massacres) that she wasn’t going anywhere prompted a little research on her family tree, revealing that Hawkma was the abandoned son (sex change or different bird, we discuss ahead) of Pale Male, “the first raptor bird of NYC, who nested on the most expensive piece of property on 5th Avenue a few years back and somehow “lured” a female to his nest with magical pheromones and now has many offspring nesting all over NYC.”

This also marked the first of many times Hawkmadinebwoggers would agonize over Hawkma’s sex. Whether they were merely spotting different birds, or the change in tail feather colors was a symptom of a cross-dressing hero with Gender Identity Disorder, no one can quite say for certain. Although Bwog is not certified to make a diagnosis, we will quote the professionals who say that “problems in the individual’s family interactions or family dynamics have been postulated as having some causal impact.”

Male or female, this bird’s antics soon began to catch on in the blogosphere. People began to revel in watching him/her tear pigeons to shreds and hack squirrels apart. S/he became the subject of poetry and the muse behind notable artwork.

Although Bwog reported, to much disbelief, Hawkma’s death in April 2008, the bird was soon spotted several times afterward. More reason to believe there was more than one face to this hero? Some might agree with you. In fact, photographs tipped in may rule out beyond argument the question of a Buffy-esque resurrection. However, as the discussion following Hawkma’s first obituary post indicates, people were not willing to believe this.

“As if Hawkmadinejad is even mortal. Hawkmadinejad doesn’t go hunting, he goes killing.”

He or a she, one face or three, Hawkmadinejad was no longer seen as merely a bird.

“Hawkmadinejad has really given us a sense of community. When I saw this post, my jaw dropped and I was truly heartbroken for a second.”

Hawkmadinejad was, is, an institution. An unofficial mascot that brings us together during reading and final weeks, leaving us in awe at the absolute sublimity with which s/he descends on his/her unsuspecting prey. A creature through whom we, perhaps somewhat unhealthily, vicariously achieve catharsis as s/he serenely rips his/her victims limb from limb. A being whose life has broadened our horizons, and sparked an interest in the ornithological community beyond our campus. Hawkma transcends corporeality.

So Hawkma the legend lives (and dies) on, photographed, admired and feared from afar and up close, on the lawns of Butler, outside Earl Hall, off campus, and on Facebook. This is one ruthless dictator that Columbia can’t do without.

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  1. Anonymous  

    I love this article.

  2. Alum

    Prezbo didn't invite Ahmadinejad, John Coatsworth did. Do a little research before writing about something you have no first-hand experience with.

  3. DissentingAndBored  

    John Coatsworth was the coordinator (as he was the president of SIPA at the time), but I'm fairly certain PrezBo invited him. Coatsworth would later go on to make infamous remarks on Fox (really reading the room well, there Johnny) about inviting Hitler.

    Nice read Bwog.

  4. bias...

    Of course, only the people who wanted to give the hateful character a chance to offer "dialogue" had "perspective." Anyone who thought that a campaign of ethnic incitement, psychological warfare and international thuggery was not a foundation for "dialogue" was simply a "barrier." So "impenetrable." It was incidentally a pure coincidence that some of the most ardent supporters of the "dialogue" ardently protested invitations, on the part of campus political groups, of right-wing speakers of varying degrees of controversy both before and after: former attorney general John Ashcroft, "repentant terrorist" Walid Shoebat, Ann Coulter, and "minuteman" founder Jim Gilchrist. And it was a pure coincidence that the last-- I will admit, a racially bigoted extremist, though not of the depravity of an "Ahmadinejad"-- hardly began his speech when students rushed toward the podium. Clearly, all that the supporters of the Ahmadinejad invitation wanted was perspective.

    • OK  

      "Anyone who thought that a campaign of ethnic incitement, psychological warfare and international thuggery was not a foundation for 'dialogue' was simply a 'barrier.'"

      That's why the same people opposed the Minutemen being invited by the College Republicans, right?

  5. Anonymous  


    Since when did Bwog become a teaching tool for 2015? Even when you're not outright teaching the freshmen, you're presenting some information that any casually engaged sophomore or above would likely know. I think it's fantastic that you're helping them out and all but where's the relevant information for say, I don't know, a junior or an outgoing senior?

    What about changes like the new online appointment making system at Center for Student Advising? Newly added classes? Changes to dining (they make them every year)?

    And there has got to be some new information on the recent resignations/appointments? I for one came across this NYTimes article, which actually says a lot to say very little. (

    Of course, you haven't completely neglected us upperclasspeople. I just hope you guys continue to make Bwog an interesting and relevant resource rather than a \Guide to Columbia.\

    I know I don't speak for myself when I say I've been disappointed with you guys lately. Hopefully you step it up in coming weeks!

    ~I Only Criticize You Because I See How Much Potential You Have

    • Claire  (Bwog Staff)  

      First of all, we have already covered dining changes, (see" rel="nofollow">The State of Dining: 2011-2012,) and commented on that Times article (" rel="nofollow">Moodygate in the NYT: Making the Headlines, Missing the Point).

      The week before school starts, most upperclassmen aren't reading Bwog, freshpeople and those involved with Orientation are. Now that students are back, of course we're going to be moving on from NSOP coverage and turning back into our regular selves. That said, you'd be hard-pressed to find upperclassmen who actually know the entire history of an issue like ROTC, or even Ahmadinejad's visit, as Bwog's own oversimplified comment that he was invited by PrezBo demonstrated.

      Thanks for speaking up, but believe me, we're about ready to move on from the freshpeople too!

    • well

      a) Did you miss all the moodygate coverage? That's your own fault.

      b) That Times article was laughably hollow. Faculty feel entitled to self-governance/butt heads with central administration? NO WAI!

      • The same anonymous from above  

        1. How do you know upperclassmen aren't reading Bwog? Have you done an informal poll/survey? If we're reading it throughout the summer ,why would we suddenly stop a week before school starts and suddenly resume again the Tuesday after Labor Day?

        2. I don't really mind the expansive coverage on a single issue (ROTC for example.) I guess I just wish you guys had signaled that you were starting an "Everything You Need To Know About..." series, similar to what you already do when a new series begins. This is just a personal preference but experience has told me that people tend to get uncomfortable when a change tries to go under the radar (eg, the new Pepsi logo; almost-weekly Facebok changes.)

        3. Thanks for pointing to those links.

        4. To the commenter above me... I agree that the article was hollow. Did I not make that clear?

        5. I made sure to acknowledge that Bwog has not left everyone behind, meaning of course they didn't *only* cover 2015-related items.

        6. When I said "new" information regarding the resignations, I was referring to anything outside of the coverage Bwog had already given, which was extensive. I guess the reporter in me just wants to get to the nitty-gritty, but that's not Bwog's or anyone else's fault.

        As always, thank you Claire for the decent response. To the other guy...the Columbia anonymous combativeness thing is getting pretty old.

        Cheers Bwog for working hard nonetheless.

  6. yo bwog  

    stop with this wikipedia shit for the freshman. i want updates not articles. let the fresh people figure it out for themselves like the rest of us

  7. Anonymous

    \weary of her plans for campus takeover --\ is it possible you mean 'wary'?

  8. Anonymous  

    good job, SamButt!

  9. phil

    my mom's a big fan of hawkma

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