Speakergate ’07: The Sound and the Fury

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With our recent posts on Matthew Fox’s impending Class Day speech ballooning to nearly 500 comments, collectively, a protest Facebook group attracting 150 members so far, and even a failed attempt to hawk “Matthew Fox Does Not Speak for Me” buttons (they’ve been removed…we assume ABC’s copyright lawyers struck quickly), this was a story the blogosphere couldn’t ignore. Some highlights:

Televisionista called Columbia seniors “whiny, pretentious and snobbish,” capturing similar sentiments across the board. MollyGood weighed in with “How precious! Yet another protest! They’ve always been so successful and righteous in the past!”

Seriously? OMG! WTF? writes “I mean Columbia is a good school, but please it is not the top Ivy League for a reason and don’t get me started on their crappy football team”…proving that unintentional irony is the best kind. Just Jared, meanwhile, had little more to add, but wasted way too much time on Photoshop concocting the graphic we’ve displayed above-right.

After the jump: what Glamour, US, Gothamist & TV Guide had to say…

UPDATE: Word has it l’affair Fox made E!’s “Daily Ten” this evening, with harsh words for Columbia students – who nonetheless, they asserted, “love the Daily 10!”

The reaction on the mainstream gossip blogs has been more noteworthy for action in their comments, though Glamour‘s blog did manage to opine “we think the brainiacs should loosen up–and thank their SAT scores they didn’t get Ryan Seacrest on the bill.” The readers of US magazine quickly became distracted with some kind of unrelated speculation, though at least one commenter was on the ball, criticizing the site’s ignorance of proper Latin plurals: “Where did you get your journalism degree, DeVry?” Meanwhile, an astute commenter on Gothamist asked “how do you go from McCain to Fox, and not even Michael J. Fox?”

Among the 200+ comments on Oh No They Didn’t: “what a bunch of douche nozzles”…”these are the people that still talk about their SATs scores in their twenties”…”it drives me into murderous rage”…”he’s pretty. There goes my app for columbia”…and, um, what? “I love how Columbia students don’t read ‘the bwog’ but everyone else on the internets does.”

The pièce de resistance, however, was undoubtedly TV Guide‘s blog, where a debate unfolded among commenters. “Exactly what I’d expect from Columbia College, one of the most notoriously whiny, snobbish schools in the country,” wrote one, characteristically. What we think was a rebuttal:

“I just linked onto [Bwog] ready to really whip their butts and tell them they WERE being mean, and snobbish, and ill informed, and then I read the article – at least the beginning and the end – flipped thru the middle – and saw the quotes from the interview with Fox that also had given me pause for thought when I first read it (instigator, fighter, the need to shock people, etc etc)and I thought of how disappointed in Fox I was after reading it and that from this as a prospective he certainly didn’t look like someone for them to look up to…He didn’t come across as a role model to me after reading what he’d said, but I forgot it intentionally because I love him, and the show, BUT can see why they would hanker for someone else. Not a do as I say, not as I do speaker. Too bad. At face value they were WRONG but think about it, maybe they weren’t.”



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  1. yummy  

    He is a delicious piece of man.

  2. porqueeee  

    i feel like everyone hates us, our school, and our name. and i'm not just talking about this, but all the time.

    it kinda sucks.

    • The Dink  

      i agree. it makes me sad.

    • Um...  

      I honestly think the reaction in this case is justified. If people are upset about the Fox thing, they should be emailing the people responsible. Bitching, moaning, and whining on a blog isn't exactly the mature way to handle things, and obviously causes more harm than good.

      • Whoever  

        Well a few people act bitchy about it, and then millions of people read it, so they get multiplied into a majority.
        The majority in almost every case doesn't care, or aren't trying to be a douchenozzle like those few.

    • frumph  

      Awwe. We should go all out and have a "We love us" party a la that DN "article" to boost morale, go all out with this snobbishness. And don't worry, it looks like Columbia is to protest scandals what Penn is to murder/violence scandals what Harvard is to plagiarism scandals. This stuff doesn't make much of a difference at the end of the day.

  3. yummy  

    I think people would bitch regardless. Either the speaker isn't liberal enough or he isn't smart enough etc etc. He went to Columbia. Obviously he's smart. And he's HOT.

    What's the alternative? Barack doesn't give a shit about Columbia and he doesn't have the time to speak anyway. Presidents (like the President of Estonia) are hard to get.

    Could be worse. We could have Havel again.

  4. is it the school?

    or the bratty 'look-at-me' behavior of its students?

  5. ugh  

    people who think he's in any way a good choice on the basis of his being eye candy to straight girls and gay men should not be receiving degrees from this school. think about how "omg he's hot, of course he's a good choice!" reflects on the value of a columbia degree...

  6. the problem  

    is that people don't seem to see the distinction between a botched decision and a gross insult to their very dignity as human beings.

  7. Compromise  

    Foxy can do the speech, but he has to take his shirt off. Not everyone will be happy, but the majority will. That's all you can ask for when it comes to class day speakers.

  8. Anonymous  

    I wish Columbia straight up marketed itself to high school kids as a nation-wide hated school where you could come and be "badass" (as it would be branded). Send out videos of Karina Garcia, David Judd, Monique Dols, Chris Kulawik, SEEJ, SCEG, Amnesty, etc., hyping up Columbia as the premiere spot in the country to come and learn and practice activism and rabblerousing. I think it could sell and applications might go up even higher.

    • Kyle  

      Hah hah. I think applications went up last admissions cycle but I don't know if it's because of the badass stuff that went on since it's been going up every year. I think it's a great idea, at least we would attract more rabblerousers instead of all this stuffy crop of people that bitch about their Wall Street cred being tarnished every time there's a protest.

      • Hahaha  

        We need more real people in general. I would gladly welcome more of the Tao Tan or even Jeffrey Hunter types. Just less of the apathetic clones who stand in constant snarky condesencion without ever doing shit or being a person themselves.

  9. ttan  

    I slept with Matthew Fox and it was gooood.

  10. The Real ttan  

    No I didn't! I'm in a committed relationship!


  11. just thinking...  

    I can see how non-columbians just getting a whiff of this news would be inclined to see us as spoiled snobs. To the majority of the population--why WOULDN'T they want to meet a TV actor from a bona fide show like Lost? Look at those ungrateful Ivy League brats!

    However, I think what's been obscured through all this sudden blogosphere coverage is that the real problems are the stringent limitations set on Class Day speakers (i.e. Columbia's refusal to compensate speakers financially), and the murky way in which the speaker selection was carried out this year. Had the system been different and the selection process been more transparent and inclusive of the senior class' views, I'm sure we would not have had this outburst of indignation, followed by anti-columbia backlash.

    What has also gotten lost is the fact that Class Day means a lot to many (probably not all, but I'd say a good number) of graduating seniors. I don't think it's unreasonable for CC seniors, at the end of their Columbia career, to expect a speaker that is someone they can respect, look up to, and aspire to be. And given Matt Fox's interviews, it's not surprising that some people are less than ecstatic that this is the guy who was chosen as Class Day speaker. Before the non-CC 2007 masses start judging us, they should carefully read his interviews, and then ask themselves if this is the kind of person they would want giving advice at their child's graduation ceremony.

  12. id want  

    id want snoop dogg to speak for my child gradautation ceremony, and it would be cool if he did "pop it like its hot" with some hoez on the stage

  13. just a thought  

    I think just maybe people were put off by all the comments about how this would hurt Columbia's rankings...there were a lot of them.

  14. ummm  

    how is the matthew fox debate going to affect the rankings...?

  15. EPB  

    The funniest comment was "that's why Columbia isn't the top Ivy League school." Because the only thing keeping us from HYP status is our inability to accept without comment television actors as speakers. Curse our hubris! We will forever remain second tier for our transgressions against prime time!

  16. but hey!  

    jake gyllenhaal for 08!

  17. meh  

    i don't expect people NOT from columbia to understand the disappointment. it was obvious that once the media got a hold of this story, we would be cast as the elitist villains too stuck up to realize what an awesome opportunity we have right in front of us.

  18. DHI  

    What really stops Columbia from being on top is that it blows itself up whenever it takes off, as long as it does that it will never be a champion, only a Challenger.

  19. haha

    Am I supposed to be sad that people who post on a blog called "Seriously? OMG? WTF?" are trying to insult me?

    Oh and I still think this is Chait pulling the FIJI networking card!

    • no sorry  

      You can't honestly believe that this is Chait doing fiji networking. Say what you will about Chait and the lack of transparency in the process, but ultimately he is a very reasonable person. I cannot believe that anyone on the committee went into the room with Matthew Fox as a first choice.

  20. hah hah  

    hell of a pun, #27

  21. hegel  

    Because, wow. That's not nice.

  22. disappointed  

    The real issue here is not what a bad choice Fox is, but the fact that the administration was clearly trying to prevent more negative publicity by steering clear of a politically controversial speaker like McCain. Fox is a cop out, and students at this school expect more.

    What's so ironic, however, is the fact that we're getting even more attention now than we ever did for the McCain protests. I guess it's sweet revenge!

  23. Dumb Question  

    Why was McCain able to speak even though he wasn't a CC grad? Because of his daughter?

  24. Sanchez  

    I say lets get Matt Sanchez to speak! Hes the most entertaining and has got the most interesting story! Him or Tao "The Terminator" Tan.

  25. the real problem that Columbia students are being whiners, and do need to loosen up. The reality is, it's not the majority of students who don't want him to speak. I'm a senior and haven't spoken to a single person who's upset. The incredibly vocal minority is making us look stupid, not Matthew Fox speaking at Class Day.

  26. OMG?  

    "What these little brats do not realize is that he makes more than most of them ever will."

    ...because the value of a life is measured in dollars and cents. Clearly someone didn't take CC :)

    Protesting McCain was a mistake. Should have saved it for this year. Now we just look like perennial haters.

    • I think  

      those priorities are a little messed up. It's the other way around, protesting McCain makes more sense.

      • in my defense  

        McCain is a qualified, articulate, and influential member of our society. I may not like President Bush, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't listen to the State of the Union. Don't you think he makes a better speaker than Matt Fox, regardless of his politics? Not to mention as Republicans go, you can't ask for much better.

  27. Kenny  

    Why was he a choice at all? People are saying they'd love Foner more and he'd have given it.

  28. is no one else  

    excited that Robert Maschio, the High Five guy from Scrubs, offered to be our class day speaker?

  29. another one

    As someone whose high school graduation speaker was Bill Clinton, it is rather pathetic that that speech would end up being more meaningful than the one given at my college's commencement.
    Also, don't feel badly that posters think we're whiny and snobbish. As a proudly pretentious snob, I don't think it should matter to us what people who are taking the time to post on television blogs think of us. It's not like Arianna Huffington thinks we're whiny.

  30. ummm

    it's....class day, not a forum on international politics. if i manage to have a life AND be a columbia kid at the same time, i'm not sure why 3/4 of the students here can't do the same thing!

    • because  

      because your idea of a life involves, most likely, never leaving morningside heights to do kegs at the stend, while most columbia students prefer bars & restaurants in the LES or brooklyn. By no means a negative judgment, just pointing out...

      • huh  

        Going to Brooklyn or the lower east side does not a sophisticate make.

        The better restaurants are in midtown and Gramercy/Flatiron (Le Bernadin, Per Se, Gramercy Tavern, etc.) Then again, the pretentious hipsters wouldn't know good food or good taste if it bit them in the ass.

        • again  

          since you seemingly miss the point entirely.... It's not a question of good taste or bad taste, it's a question of outlook, and yes columbia has a large hipster or somethingsimlar crowd. The point is not looking down at because he is a footballplayer/stendafficianado, it's that his outlook alienates that hipster group.

          Also the restaurants you mention are so new money. Do yourself a favor and travel around the world a bit.

          • I get the point  

            Peter Luger's, 21, Patsy's and the Palm are also better than anything in Brooklyn and the LES. And those places are old-school.

            I've probably been around the world more than anyone else on this blog. I prefer 600-count sheets to a backpack, though.

            Admissions should start weeding out the hipsters and concentrate on admitting kids who actually want to be at Columbia. Given the admit rate - it probably wouldn't alter the GPA/SAT stats much, if at all.

          • Peter L.

            Peter Luger is in Broolyn you gristle-chewing shithead

          • hahahahaHAHAHA  

            god you are so fucking hilarious. you are proabably one of those foolish idiots who travel around europe thinking they are the shit, when you don't realize you are actually being laughed at.

            your veneer of haughtiness also gives you away for what you are - new money, in all its inescapable inadequacy.

          • euroguy  

            We laugh at backpackers in hostels.

            Just saying...


          so true. dude, way to be nouveau riche HAHAHA

  31. rabble rabble rabble  

    I don't think that most people around the country are noticing the "whiners" and projecting that view on the majority. Telivisionista isn't exactly the world news.

    Also, having an actor isn't what keeps Columbia below other ivies. harvard's class day speaker list includes Conan O'Brien, Seth McFarland... Granted, their speeches were funny, but they are no more "important" than Fox. Maybe it is our endowment? --ttan, your thoughts?

    As for the "badass" attitude. I think U Miami has that covered thanks to their football team. I don't think CU has a badass attitude, but definitely a rabblerouser veneer.

  32. LOST  

    The fuck? They couldnt even get that Korean dude from Lost? Hes like 10x better than this loser.

  33. purple  

    Good food bites me in the ass all the time. Maybe I should go vegetarian.

  34. Others  


  35. ironically  

    all this "columbia sucks! it's so spoiled! and whiny!" sentiment is increasing my school pride. sure wasn't expecting that.

    people just don't get it--it's not that matt fox isn't good enough to speak at any Columbia event, ever. But god, this isn't just ANY Columbia event. to all the unhappy seniors, this is our once-in-a-lifetime class day we're talking about. and to all the people who are thinking that we're young and stupid and eventually one ceremony will meaning nothing in the grand scheme of our lives and that's why we shouldn't bitch--who are you to tell us that we're not allowed to find meaning in, and have standards for, our own graduation?

  36. damn you, 2006!  

    We should have a giant blowout at the end of the year embracing all the terrible stereotypes that have been pinned on columbia students this year. It could be the first annual "pretentious ivy league snobs and left-wing jihadists" costume party.

    But seriously, the class of 2006 really screwed us over. They fucked up Low, so we got Lerner for Winter Gala. They caused a huge brouhaha over John McCain, so people aren't taking us seriously now when we protest Matthew Fox.

  37. re: damn  

    i'm no fan of '06, but the reason people aren't taking you seriously when you protest Matthew Fox is that it's ridiculous.

    i love columbia, and all, but this entitled whininess is absurd. you're not going to "find meaning in.. [your] own graduation." you're going to find being hungover and then having brunch.



  39. OldeRiche  

    Wow, both of you are embarassing. I feel like I'm in the middle of some noveau-riche bitchfest. Neither of you have taste. You're embarassing us all by your presence.

  40. frumph  

    Huh. Bwog is called "refreshing and reasonable" on their take on celebrity here

  41. apparently  

    has the school reached fox to try and appease him?

  42. ann coulter  

    ann coulter for speaker, beauty AND brains

  43. yes

    is there anything we can actually do to change the selection for class speaker? putting up thoughts on bwog is nice, but it's not going to change anything. maybe emails to the administration? protests accomplish nothing here.

  44. well  

    columbia isn't going to withdraw the invitation to matt fox, that's for sure. it would be pretty humiliating for both the school and for fox (and though he may seem like a jerk in his interviews, it wouldn't fair to him if he were dis-invited). some people have suggested finding a second co-speaker that the senior class actually votes on, but chances for that seem slim, too.

    the best we can do is to email the admin and student council and ask for the entire class day speaker selection procedure to be overhauled for future years (eg. start paying for speakers to come, putting the final selection to a vote for the graduating class). i mean, it really sucks for us seniors, but i don't see how the decision can be undone at this point.

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