Author Archive

Feb

4

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Would you down this bottle in the name of rhetorical excellence?

Would you down this bottle in the name of rhetorical excellence?

In past years, not many people knew about The Philolexian Society, deemed “The Oldest Student Group at Columbia.” This year, however, with increased membership, The Philolexian Society has significantly grown in campus presence. Join Bwog Staff Writer Gabrielle Kloppers as she attends a typical Philolexian meeting.

Philolexian isn’t something most people know about. It may give off an aura of impenetrable prestige when you consider its Wikipedia page, which includes a list of notable members that surpasses several scrolls (a list which includes Allen Ginsberg). However, when one attends a meeting, it becomes clear that this is far from the expected stuffy literary society.

Upon entering Hamilton 603, a sea of faces jump out at me from the seats, many of which I recognized from altogether unexpected places. Many of these participants are “Full Philolexian Members”  (meaning they can hold positions of leadership within the society), but just as many are casual attendees, eager to see what the hype is about. Most Philolexian meetings are structured as casual, absurdist debates. Topics range from the serious to the rather insane- this week’s topic is “Milk in the context of cereal is a sauce.” Everyone is chattering away, but as the meeting begins, there is some modicum of silence.

Click for the debate

Dec

3

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An incredibly realistic image of a party at Carman

An incredibly realistic image of a party at Carman

Recently, Senior Staff Writer Gabrielle Kloppers was lucky enough to have the opportunity to offer a survey to her close list of 800 Facebook friends. The survey concerned alcohol and drug use at Columbia, and their affect on GPA. The results were surprising.

I know, I know. What a played out survey topic, right? We see the exact same survey on the Class Facebook page every week. But this time is different- this time it is mine, and I can see the results of the survey. Below are my revelations.

Columbia students drink way less than I thought they did.
At least during my time here, it’s generally been pretty uncommon for a friend to turn down a weekend (or weekday) drinking session. Although Columbia has the stereotype of being a bunch of nerds who stay in Butler all Saturday night, I thought we had broken the mold. I was wrong. Columbia students generally report that they drink between 1-2 times a month and 1-2 times a week. This number was surprisingly low to me, and a lot of people completely abstained from drinking.

Columbia students smoke far less pot than I thought they did.
Apparently, around 45% of Columbia students never smoke pot. From the smell in Carman every Friday night (or always), one would disagree but it is the statistical truth! Columbia is not a school of stoners, just Adderall-poppers and Xanny-munchers. I think. Maybe I’ll do another survey and this assumption will be broken too.

More surprising stats after the jump

Nov

17

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Some have suggested opening more space for artists in Uris Hall.

Some have suggested opening more space for artists in Uris Hall.

We all came to Columbia lured by the multitude of opportunities offered in a city like New York. After all, weren’t we just named first among the Ivies by Wall Street Journal, mostly because of our access to facilities? What happens then, if you come to Columbia University in the City of New York expecting the facilities of a world-class university in the premier city of the world, yet don’t find the sort of support you anticipated? Bwogger Gabrielle Kloppers investigates this real phenomenon in the context of the visual arts.

Most visual arts students arrive at Columbia expecting the full world of New York art opened up to them, with the support of numerous Columbia alumni that have made it in the arts. When they arrive on campus, however, it becomes clear that arts aren’t the clear focus of an institution like Columbia. In particular, the visual arts prove to be one of the most sidelines aspects of our university, with very few opportunities available outside of the traditional visual arts curriculum. There are three ways to connect with the visual arts at Columbia as an undergraduate: through the fine arts major, through extra-curricular organizations such as Postcrypt and Ratrock Magazine, and by connecting with the arts scene in New York at large.

The Visual Arts curriculum at Columbia is highly developed, with a multitude of skilled professors and interesting opportunities available to visual arts majors. However, many visual arts majors feel sidelined by the department, especially when they have not yet declared their majors. In order to graduate with a major in Visual Arts, it is necessary to take several studio classes and build up a portfolio of work. These studio classes are small and limited in number, and thus many potential majors fail to gain placement into them, especially within their first few years here. This means that they also fail to build up the necessary relationships with the Visual Arts faculty at Columbia, and makes it difficult to feel part of a community of artists. This effect is compounded by the lack of available extra-curricular Visual Arts communities.

What opportunities are there for students on campus?

Nov

14

img November 14, 20163:30 pmimg 1 Comments

Living the best years of our lives can be costly in a variety of ways

Living the best years of our lives can be costly in a variety of ways

When you’re at a school as competitive as Columbia, it is important to engage in some debauchery to take your mind off CC readings, questionable GroupMe’s and the President-Elect. However, how much is each night of blowing off steam costing you? Bwog Senior Staff Writer Gabrielle Kloppers investigates a few common alternatives.

Option 1: The Carman Party
For freshmen, the primary night out is a shitty dorm party, usually in a sticky (and mold-infested) Carman double. If you’re hosting this, or being a good friend, the initial cost will be about $25 for crap liquor from International. However, this is not the only cost involved. At around 11.30pm, you’ll probably vomit because you’re not used to poisoning your liver, and given that you’re a freshman and your fellow freshman will be worried about you, you may even need to call CAVA. In this case, the $25 is not all you’ll be paying, as you’ll also lose your priceless dignity and perhaps have to shell out around $500 for a trip to the hospital where they’ll essentially ask you what your name and birthdate is and come to the conclusion that you’re probably okay. The only upside to this situation is that you’ll get so drunk so early that you won’t even get drunk food, saving yourself a bit of cash.

That amounts to:
Initial Booze Cost: $25
Dignity: Priceless
CAVA and Hospital: $500

Overall Expenditure: $525 – infinity

How does this compare to the value? This night was never going to be a good night. You only partied in Carman because you didn’t know enough people to do much else. So not only do you have a pretty high cost, but it’s not even a very good night to begin with.

What are your other options?

Nov

3

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The Diamond Sutra

The Diamond Sutra

Buddhism is something most new-age college students only pretend to pay lip service to when they want to pretend to be ‘spiritual’, yet desire to stay away from the problematic histories of most major religions. Follow this Bwog Staff Writer as she investigates the Diamond Sutra, one of the most revered sutras in Mahayana Buddhism.

Prior to this event, my knowledge of Buddhism came mainly from recaps of the main ideas in the context of Chinese history. Even from this, the idea of non-attachment as a source of wisdom and faith was fascinating to me. I was excited to explore further, especially as the event touted itself as an antidote to this turbulent election season.

They talked of the principle of non-attachment as a challenge to the major themes of division and prejudice that have been following us throughout our perusing of Mr. Trump’s Twitter feed.

The event ended up being meaningful for two primary reasons. Firstly, it was alarmingly intimate. Imagine this setting: the basement of St. Paul’s, a dimly lit choir room with alarmingly beautiful stained glass windows for a basement room.

In the center of the quite small room was a semicircle of chairs, and discussion leader Professor Malik Walker sat to one side, making conversation with each of us and asking about our majors.

We chatted pleasantly over dinner about the previous day’s ‘Victims, Victims Everywhere’ event with Christina Hoff Simmons. He was adamant that he wanted to feel as if he was ‘among family’, a feeling that was definitely created by the casual atmosphere and regrettably sparse attendance. It was a beautiful moment in time, and this added to the idea that we were there to talk about: non-attachment.

Read more about the event after the jump:

Oct

22

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Will you kill for Nutella?

Will you kill for Nutella?

Happy Halloween Month! If you’re anything like Bwog, you’ll be noticing campus becoming ~spookier~ as Hallowen draws closer. Bwog Senior Staff Writer Gabrielle Kloppers recounts a very real, and very scary problem for Columbia students year round; the ever-present, ever-nosy, Suite Ghost.

Despite not living in the Ruggles Murder Suite, we are all nevertheless plagued by strange noises all times of the day and night. What is that noise? A rat? A ghost tapping at your windowpane? Your drunk suitemate swaying to the bathroom (on a Tuesday)? It is probably the latter, but your willingness to believe in the supernatural grows as you notice some strange inconsistencies around the Suite. Where did that jar of Nutella go? Surely you didn’t scrape out the final dregs. That’s not your spitty fingermarks on the edge of the jar. Where are the four bananas you stole from Ferris (karma is a bitch)?

At this moment, you begin to suspect some foul play afoot, and download an iPhone app that promises it will tell you if there’s a ghost around- and help you communicate with it. You’re a bit skeptical, until the app beeps that the electrochemical signals in the air (what does that mean?) indicate there’s a ghost, right behind you. Her name is Jane and her signal isn’t overly strong. Fuck you Jane, you think. Stop stealing MY Nutella, it is midterm season and the sugar is sorely needed.

more spooks after the jump

Oct

18

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a picture of a floor lounge with a TV

We know where you’re gonna be sitting tonight

As midterms draw in and ruin everyone’s lives, Bwog staff writer Gabrielle Kloppers is here with some more procrastination for you. Don’t you wish you could go back to your childhood, before you discovered Contemporary Civilizations readings and Calculus exams? With Bwog’s cartoon playlist, you can.

  1. Watch all of Over the Garden Wall. You can never regret this decision. Also Bwog finds this one mildly scary, so it’s perfect for inviting Bae over for Halloween-style Netflix and Chill. http://www.cartoonnetwork.com/video/over-the-garden-wall/episodes/season-1.html
  2. The old classic, Adventure Time. Make like a baked frat boy and watch this while eating pizza and wishing you had a dog as cute as Jake.
  3. Courage the Cowardly Dog will prevent you from sleeping by appealing to the immense fear you had during your childhood. Maybe when you’re awake, scared and shivering you can study for your midterms? Probably not. This is especially appropriate given the Halloween chills in the air and the insane decorations you’ll see at Morton Williams during your nightly Hot Pocket run.
  4. Calm down from Courage with some Regular Show and get away from the hustle and bustle of New York City with a show set in a park.
  5. Try and feel out the existentialist overtones in Rick and Morty in order to study for first year Philosophy. Fail, but watch a few seasons anyway.

Get the rest of your cartoon fix after the jump

Oct

7

img October 07, 20164:34 pmimg 0 Comments

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Larry Sharpe, smiling contentedly

Bwog Senior Staff Writer Gabrielle Kloppers was extremely excited to be able to attend the Columbia University Libertarians event, a discussion on the War on Drugs with Larry Sharpe, the Candidate for the 2016 Libertarian Party Vice Presidential Nomination.

In the current political climate, people seem to be scrambling left, right, and center to vote for anyone that isn’t one of the two main party candidates. In their quest for anyone but Shillary or Drumpf, people turned their eyes onto the Libertarian Party Candidate, Gary Johnson. Many of these people, however, were as clueless at this stage about what being Libertarian actually meant as Johnson is about Aleppo.

I had some understanding of basic libertarian tenets prior to this, but still was influenced by the old stereotype of the libertarian as a white man over sixty. But as Sharpe himself said, ‘I am neither of those things and I’ll make sure people understand that’. This reflects the changing face of a rising Libertarian party. For this reason, it is important for Columbia students to have more exposure to views that one day may become increasingly influential, especially as Sharpe presents the party as one with no victims and no punishments, dissimilar indeed to Trumpist thoughts.

This talk in particular was on the War on Drugs, a topic that is unfortunately highly relevant for many Columbia students.

How will it effect us, and what thoughts does Sharpe espouse on it as a representative of the Libertarian Party?

Oct

5

img October 05, 20163:47 pmimg 3 Comments

Where are my sister writers?!

He said WHAT about women?!

Bwog’s here again to divide your world into stereotypes. This time, Senior Staffer Gabrielle Kloppers writes about that person who always brings the conversation back to feminism (like, okay, but did you even do the reading?).

You walk into CC, expecting a continuation of this morning’s sleep. You are sorely mistaken. This morning is unlike other mornings (or maybe a lot like other mornings, we don’t know your story).

You’re quietly dozing off into your second-hand copies of Aristotle’s Politics… when–BAM–a voice that isn’t the monotonous drone of your professor startlingly pipes up. “Isn’t this sort of ignoring some people? Namely, women?”

“Why yes, yes it is. So is everything,” you think to yourself. “Maybe she has a point.” The rest of your class is nodding along slightly, and the comment engenders a conversation that has the potential to become enthralling, unlike most of Aristotle. “Finally, something that’s relevant to me, as a modern-day woman,” you think. “I can bridge the divide through the oppression we’ve always faced.”

A voice calmly pops up from among the general cacophony. “But of course they don’t care about the right of women, you have to take into account historical context, man.”

All hell breaks loose. The table is in pandemonium. People are shouting. A cup of Joe’s chai tea is upended. “Just because it’s historically accurate doesn’t mean it doesn’t merit discussion,” the original objector yells.

The civility of the class discussion rapidly deteriorates. The entire class is now either bashing or defending the misogyny rampant in old Western texts written by White Guys for White Guys.

Finally, the instructor resorts to the tactic used for emergencies like these: a short intermission to get soft drinks. He looks sheepishly around, suddenly all-too-conscious that he is a white, cis-het male. The class is broken off into small groups to attempt to stymy the brawl. It works, momentarily.

Variations of this conversation appear multiple times throughout the year. They happen while we cover the Bible. And Socrates, and Plato. Anyone really. Even Virginia Woolf gets called into criticism: “Why is this so non-intersectional?” While class discussions initially prompted excitement, they now prompt passive-aggressive sighing and hand-wringing.

“Why don’t we ever listen to each other?” you ponder, sinking back into your chair.

Image by Nikki Shaner-Bradford

Sep

17

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get you a prof who can do both

get you a prof who can do both

Columbia is an extremely small university, and sometimes it feels like everyone knows everyone. It is embarrassing but not that big a deal when your vague acquaintances and Facebook friends see you grinding against someone in a frat basement, but the additional danger is greater. What happens when you see someone in a professional position – a Dean, a professor, or even a TA – when you’re out on a night of debauchery. Or worse, doing a walk of shame via Nussbaum for bagels. What do you do in this position? What techniques can you use? Bwog can help!

Picture this: you’re coming off a really bad day, having failed your Lithum quiz or striked out on a particularly horrific Tinder coffee date. It’s only a Wednesday, but 1020 beckons and you need a Long Island iced tea.

Or, it’s a Saturday night and somehow your professor or TA has braved the crowds of freshman to make it out to your preferred location.

What do you do?

Sep

14

img September 14, 20165:03 pmimg 0 Comments

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A small sample of Mori’s work

While you may have too much homework from the first week to get off campus and visit a museum, Bwogger and art lover Gabbie Kloppers brings you a dose of culture right here on campus. Yesterday evening, Gabbie had the opportunity to visit a “Creative Conversation” with visual artist Tomo Mori in the lobby of the Miller Theatre. Here are her thoughts on the art piece and the Harlem-based artist. 

Tomo Mori’s “Creative Conversation” centers around this particular immersive art piece—her ‘Concerto Encircling—which transformed the Miller Theatre lobby into a living piece of art.

I have walked into the Miller Theatre lobby on numerous other occasions, but before last night, it never felt quite like this. Coming through the wide open entering, an immense feeling of lightness filled me as I gazed upon the sponge-stamped and covered walls. Through her cut-and-paint process of creating mosaics, Mori had covered the dark blue walls of the theatre lobby with multi-color sponged impressions, crafting delicate and sweeping patterns. Off to one side of the lobby, a particular design caught my eye: a light greyish section on the southern wall that created the near-perfect impression of cherry blossom trees when viewed. More than anything, I was awestruck by the simple beauty of the work.

More about Mori and introspection after the jump…

Sep

11

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Your energy drink probably won't look this aesthetic when you chug it at 7am in Butler

Your energy drink probably won’t look this aesthetic when you chug it at 7am in Butler

With another weekend of nighttime activities just concluded, Barnumbia students are beginning to realize they shouldn’t be partying like it’s still NSOP. As we prepare to hunker down in the air-conditioned tomb of Butler, staff writer Gabrielle Kloppers has put together a playlist to prepare you for the multiple Red Bulls you’ll be downing to get through the Iliad.

  • Sunshine – Atmosphere: To remind you it actually is a really nice day outside. Maybe you can read that Iliad outside, so you don’t give half the day to last night.
  • Tipsy – J-Kwon: This will remind you of the shitty music at the sweaty frat party you don’t remember going to last night. The regret of letting someone lick the sweat off your neck will fuel the self-loathing you need to get through 300 pages of reading.
  • No Money – Galantis: If you went out downtown last night, this song accurately reflects your current situation. Once again, studying is free so hunker down.
  • Bikini Body – Dawin: This song will help you feel better about losing the body you worked hard at over the summer to the impact of jungle juice, hungover John Jay breakfast and study snacks while you sit and procrastinate in ButCaf.
  • Sober – Childish Gambino: Let this song sooth you as you work off your hangover/deal with still being drunk.
  • One Dance – Drake: It was only supposed to be one dance. And one glass of wine. Now it’s one research paper.

Ready for cramming via Public Domain

Apr

27

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You can't see the cement block but trust me it'll be there.

You can’t see the cement block but trust me it’ll be there.

Regardless of your feelings on the up-and-coming Henry Moore statue to be placed in front of Butler, the cement block that will ultimately form its base has been subject to many reclining figures—especially as outdoor space becomes increasingly limited due to construction for Commencement. Using her Columbia-grade mind, Bwogger Gabrielle Kloppers investigates how many people could possibly fit on our favorite pedestal.

In the hallowed words of a certain Engineering Student Council Representative, not many people have been able to forget the 12 x 5 patch of grass in front of Butler. Now it has already disappeared, and in its place is a cement block. How many people can fit on it, in the context of our increasingly space challenged campus (although let’s not forget that Columbia bought land the size of main campus at the expense of hundreds of people—but yay more space for the students!)?

Let’s assume the cement patch is around 12 x 5 ft in dimension. Now, using the useful skills we gained in Frontiers of Science seminars, we can extrapolate that each person would use up about 1 square foot, and consequently there could fit around 12 x 5 = 60 people on the block.

Now let’s consider the increasingly incestuous college atmosphere at Columbia and how desperate SEAS majors are to get some. Most people would be okay sitting on other people’s laps, right? So let’s double that, assuming each square foot is occupied by a two-person unit. 12 x 5 x 2 = 120 people on that cement block.

Wow, space is truly valuable. It must mean that a prized work of modernist art is not worth relinquishing that 12 x 5 ft patch of grass in front of Butler.

The Statue’s Prospective Home via CU Library Website

Apr

26

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This is actually on the 4th floor of Butler kill them with fire

This is actually on the 4th floor of Butler 

In recent times, Bwog members have been horrified to see various members of the Columbia community using the Butler bathrooms to brush their teeth. What’s wrong with them? An obsession with oral hygiene? Bwogger Gabbie Kloppers investigates, and comes to the defense of the Butler Toothbrusher.

It started with only one incidence, late one Sunday evening after a Bwog meeting. After a Diet Coke, coffee and Redbull infused study session, the urge came, and I valiantly made my way through the plethora of studiers in the Millstein library to the (usually overflowing) bathroom on the third floor. What I saw there astounded me; a middle-aged lady, perfectly respectable, brushing her teeth in plain view of everyone.

Now, the public brushing of teeth has always disturbed me a little bit. Brushing one’s teeth just takes an awkwardly long time, and whoever is in there is left with the sound of you almost gagging as you brave the back of your tongue. In short, it’s kind of gross.

One click = one prayer for the Butler Toothbrusher

Apr

23

img April 23, 20164:14 pmimg 0 Comments

Hartley_front_viewFuture freshmen have a look at this review if you think one half (the better half) of the LLC may be for you. Rising sophomores have already picked into this lovely dorm, so now it’s up to you to fill the leftover spaces.

Location: 1124 Amsterdam (between 115th and 116th, part of the freshman quadrangle)

  • Nearby Dorms: Hartley is connected by tunnel to Wallach and John Jay, so you’ll see a lot of everyone even if you’re in a separate building to many of your friends. Carman and Furnald aren’t far away, on the other side of campus near Lerner- this is only a distance of around 500ft but will end up being much of the exercise you have in your first semester.
  • Nearby Food: Conveniently, John Jay Dining Hall and JJ’s can be accessed with no danger from the elements and multitudinous wildlife of New York through your favorite connecting tunnel. Once you’re sick of these options (and it will be fast), Strokos and Hamilton Deli are not far, or if you’re feeling like a sit-down option, Artopolis is recommended (get the waffles). Ferris feels pretty far awa

Cost: $7,928/yr (first-year), $9,108/year (upperclassmen) (this is subject to change)

Life on the inside

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