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Senior Wisdom: BW Editors

This is the last installment in our senior wisdom series. This time, meet the graduating seniors of The Blue and White: Publisher Jessica Shizu Isokawa, senior editors Marc Tracy and Brendan Pierson, Managing Editor Josie Doll Swindler, Editor-in-Chief Avi Zenilman, Copy Chief Nicholas Frisch, Graphics Editor Jerone Hsu, and editor-at-large Addison Anderson. We’ll miss you.

jjjClaims to fame:

Jessica: Blue and White former managing editor and layout editor, current publisher, patience with Avi Zenilman

Nicholas: Modesty; concision; writing crossword puzzles and copy-editing for the wretches at The Blue and White and somehow remaining on staff despite unleashing countless volleys of verbal abuse against those wretches.

Josie: Spec and Blue & White writer and editor, avoidant personality disorder

Brendan: occasional journalist, dilettante Latinist, failed pianist.

Avi: Editor-in-Chief of The Blue and White, former Senior Editor of the Columbia Political Review, failed Spec columnist, jazz guitarist

Marc: Blue and White partisan; Bethesdan; Camp Winaukee Service Award Winner, 2000. Also, I once flirted with Trotskyism so that I could I say I did so in venues such as this one.

Jerone: Named the Bwog in a rare instance of telepathic communication with

fellow graduating senior Izumi. Pooped in the bathtub when I was 6 (while still in the tub).

Addison: Member of Fruit Paunch, writer for the 111th and 112th Varsity Shows, thrower of good dance parties, winner of a raffle at John Jay Dining Hall for a yellow Cheerios sweatshirt in freshman year, Boot N’ Rally Rally inaugurator.  Last year I won a Latin translation prize.  That’s how most people know me.

mmmPreferred swim test stroke? 

JSI: The Dodge pool is rather unsavory, so whatever gets me out of it in the shortest amount of time.  Since speed is of the essence, freestyle.

NBF: Preferred swim test stroke? Breast…heh, breasts.

JDS: Taking Scuba for PE

BOP: I’m not sure I can do any real strokes properly.

AZZ: Anything that shows off my lats.

MAT: on my back, flapping my hands, treading water with my legs.

JLH: Still haven’t taken it.

ASA: Anything that starts with a jack-knife.  But you don’t yell out “Jack-knife!” You just say it very deliberately to yourself: “This will be a jack-knife.”  What else…I’ve always liked seeing people swimming while drinking martinis or smoking cigarettes, but it’s only cool if the person is at least forty.  Doing it in huge overalls would be nice.  I did my test sidestroke, persistently looking to see if the attendant was watching how good I was doing, because I’m a seven year-old.

What are three things you learned at Columbia?


-East coast winters are bad for the soul

-Reading days, not reading week

-Social drama seems to peak in October, January, and April

And some bookish stuff, to boot


-Privilege is its own reward, apparently.

-Brevity isn’t always wit, but it’s always appreciated, so shut the fuck up you kids in class, you know who you are.

-Misogyny makes for more effective pick-up lines than you’d think — it’s all about the delivery.


I didn’t learn why people sit on the steps all day, I didn’t learn why people major in econ, I didn’t learn what the inside of 1020 looks like.


-What “orientalism” means

-What “commodity fetish” means

-How to make hilarious jokes about these ideas by applying them to everyday life–you should try it


1) Wait a day to call, unless you’re been guaranteed 60 minutes or less.

2) The difference between normative and positive, and first-order and second-order.

3) People lie.


how to shave with a blade; various things about John Milton; bylines.


It’s important to read instructions carefully.


1.  Koronet’s will give you a free slice if you put on a pizza costume, go in with a boombox full of Zapp & Roger, dance around, and perform a short rap mentioning “slices,” “low prices,” “spices,” and how “it’s tha nicest.”  Pinnacle won’t.

2. There are exposed dinosaur footprints on a hillside at the back of the parking lot of New Jersey’s Medieval Times restaurant.  I learned that in Dinosaurs & the History of Life, and when you think about the juxtaposition of those two historical leaps (now to the Middle Ages vs. now to the Dinosauric Era), it just goes to show how New Jersey belittles all that’s human.  Rest in peace, Science Sequence.

3.  People leave stuff lying in places all over campus to be thrown out later.  I got two nice chairs, a huge map of the Roman Empire, and the complete works of Shakespeare all free by keeping an eye out.  Were you aware that the bookshelf on the right side of Butler Café often has withdrawn books you can take home?  Are you aware that I’m essentially a bag lady?

4. EXTRA, i.e. the cheesy ones I didn’t learn only here, but which sure helped: Do what’s right. Don’t beat up on yourself. Laugh loud and hard, everything’s better that way.

kkkJustify your existence in 30 words or less.

JSI: I’m not really sure that I can at this point in life, which isn’t to say that I don’t do nice things every day, but you know.  Still trying!

NBF: As long as I’m not a waste of the planet’s resources quite as much as the next guy, I think I’m at peace with myself.

JDS: I needed six tickets for commencement instead of four. I matter!

BOP: People consistently say I look like both Woody Allen and Conan O’Brien, but never the same people.

AZZ: Cargo sweatpants, lexis-nexis, and petty nihilism. I’m really boring at dinner though, and I can’t smell.

MAT: As much as wearing glasses grants you a whole extra range of useful body language, I sense that my excellent vision makes me a tiny bit less cliched.

JLH: Why not?

ASA: I try to be a superhero, or sometimes Venom.  Toddlers smile at me on the subway.  And seriously, don’t you want someone to have the name Addison Anderson?

What was your favorite controversy in your time at Columbia?

jhJSI: Crackergate!  Which I’m guessing no one remembers.  I get a kick out of the random.  Real controversy – probably the TA brouhaha.

NBF: I found the MEALAC debacle to be the most colorful; everyone was spoiling for a fight, and it touched on themes that have anchored controversies for decades while providing fresh new material – for instance, the epithet “shmear campaign,” which I actually found offensive.

JDS: Matthew Fox, who I’m looking forward to.

BOP: The constant, low-level tension over the role of Barnard–those conversations are always really important and interesting for everyone.

AZZ: The one where the guy from St. A’s allegedly threw a bottle at a straight guy and called him “faggot.”

MAT: “I’ve been reading a lot about that school of yours.” –Mr. Blyden, friend of my grandfather’s, Highland Beach, FL, February 2005. Also, the McBain arsonist was on my floor in Jay.

JLH: Remember when Avi called student athletes dumb chimpanzees in his short-lived spec column?  Man, what a chimp.

ASA: The MEALAC / “Columbia Unbecoming” scandal, only because it was really fun to go on a writing jag and come up with a parody for V111.  So that’s selfish.  Otherwise, I don’t recall any fave campus controversies that got me way psyched, bro!  I do really like whenever people say “dead white men.”

Which professor do you think would be the best kisser?

JSI: I prefer TA’s.

NBF: Lydia Grrrrrrrrrr — if you’re into that sort of thing.

JDS: Nick Lemann.

BOP: Bollinger or Brinkley; power is an aphrodisiac.

AZZ: She’s untenured.

MAT: Bilgrami.

JLH: Probably the professor who teaches the class on kissing. (Obvious?)

ASA: It comes down to Katja Vogt and Lydia Goehr, both in Philosophy, obviously.  Anyway, Katja Vogt would be the best kisser because she speaks with control as well as passion fluctuating with gentleness, and how people talk is generally a good sign of how they kiss.  But Lydia Goehr would provide the best individual kiss event because she once told a class how she’d practiced violin so much that now she can’t play compositions anymore, she can only play the scales. So I think it’d be great if someone gave her such a good kiss that all of a sudden she could play violin again. That would be like movies.  I haven’t gotten my grade in that class yet.

kkkWhat percentage of seniors do you think are virgins?

JSI: 10%

NBF: 0% of my neighbors, that’s for damn sure.

JDS: Between 1 and 5%, and they are healthier, wealthier, and wiser.

BOP: 15%

AZZ: My enemies.

MAT: Somewhere between 8-15? Sounds like a survey idea! Whats great is there’s almost certainly, I’d guess, wide disparities among classes here, even if you survey them all when they’re seniors. Last year’s seniors? No more than 3%.

JLH: What percentage of seniors do you think are liars?

ASA: 1.  Cheap pun: Gee, any virgins with student loans can look forward to getting screwed from now on.  *BA-DOOMP PHBBLRRT*  That reeked.

2. Cheap ad hominem: Probably only one or tao percent.  (Just kidding, he wallows in ass.  Tao’s like Scrooge McDuck except he swims through not only gold coins but tequila-soaked boobies.)

3. Cheap ad scholam: FU SCHOOL FOR ENGINEERING AND APPLIED SCIENCES PERCENT!!!  (I bet engineers are actually pretty good in bed – humble, pragmatic, and inventive.  They probably don’t get stuck inside their own heads as much as angsty CC kids worried about their place in the world, so maybe you don’t have to spend as much time listening to them talk about how much they hate themselves.)

4. Keak Da Sneak will take your ear cherry.

Would you rather permanently give up oral sex or cheese?

kkkJSI: This question is rather unladylike, I think I’ll have to abstain from answering.

NBF: I may only be a quarter French, but that’s enough to find this question outrageous.  It’s a false dichotomy.

JDS: I don’t like swiss.

BOP: If people thought harder about this question the answer wouldn’t seem so obvious.

AZZ: Cunnilingus.

MAT: To decide that, I’d first have to divine some ingenius way to combine the two. Let me get back to you.

JLH: It is unclear whether the the question refers to the role of the receiver or the giver.

ASA: I already gave up coffee and onions, now cheese, too?

Days on campus memory?

JSI: Nope, but I do remember thinking New York was gross and kind of dirty the first time I visited.

NBF: Some kid amazed at what a party school this was and deciding to come here instead of Penn for that reason.  I bet admissions was laughing all the way to the bank.

JDS: I didn’t come, so during Orientation when people kept running up to me and saying “CC or SEAS?!” I had no idea what they were talking about.

BOP: I didn’t go, but the first time I visited I took the 2 train to 116th street and zaniness ensued.

AZZ: I remember sitting on the steps, vaguely bored, but relaxed, with nothing to do.  I immediately took an early train back to Baltimore to tell my parents I wanted to go here. Also, on the first day of orienation I thought James Williams’ dad was this tall Indian dude who I soon realized lived on our floor.

kkjMAT: More like DAZE on campus! Seriously, though, I remember wanting to get it over with and having school start. Orientation, too.

JLH: I vaguely remember it being a pretty good time in general.

ASA: I didn’t go to D.O.C., but I did visit Columbia on a Saturday during the summer when nothing was open and there weren’t any tours.  My dad and I walked around, broke into buildings, and talked to international grad students in labs.  And that’s when I knew!!  Plus, other Ivies seemed to just run together in a cloud of dysfunction and blazers.  I’m from San Francisco and didn’t want to stay in California and NYU’s like Sesame Street with mono so I came here.  Oh wait, I do have a Days on Campus memory because I helped host a concert thing for the kids this year.  I just had them yell out the names of other schools and I said why Columbia’s better.


JSI: Not going to more office hours.  ack, ack ack, dorky!

NBF: Filling out this questionnaire under pressure from my editors; I am terrified of exposing its ramshackle, tawdry wit to the brilliant minds that populate Bwog comment threads and who will no doubt rip it to shreds with their razor-sharp Menckenesque invective.  Have a blast, guys, I’ll be lying in the grass outside.

JDS: If anyone is angry at me, I apologize. That said, I probably should have made more people mad.

BOP: Apparently people sometimes think I don’t like them. I should have smiled at more people.

AZZ: I wish I planned ahead, went abroad, didn’t drink to overcompensate for insecurities, learned to shut up, and uninstalled AIM.

MAT: Not cherishing Orientation. Underrating happiness, if only some of the time.

JLH: I wish I’d proofread.

ASA: If you’re interested, I’m looking to make new ones.  LAME.  Anyway, I regret not throwing parties in the near-vacant, blind Ruggles suite in which I had a huge dingle sophomore year. I regret not seeing a Knicks game, although I’m staying in the city so I can catch one later (after the Warriors glom the ‘ship this year).  I sometimes
regret the Barnard jokes, but I think people got the point.  I regret every time I threw up, except for once onstage during a show, because the old West End deserved it.  I regret sitting next to a couple giving each other handjobs at “Troy” and realizing that either God doesn’t exist or He has My sense of humor, and we’re screwed either way.  All my other regrets should call me sometime. Well, bye Columbia, I love you!  You were Roarrible!™

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  • Nice says:

    @Nice Addison painted an awesome picture in my head with the Koronet comment.

  • vile says:

    @vile where was that photo taken?

    1. vile says:

      @vile (the first one)

      east campus maybe?

  • re. says:

    @re. “lying on the grass outside?

    are you sure?

  • to ASA says:

    @to ASA to ASA: your answers were too long. please curtail them.

  • alexw says:

    @alexw Addison’s answers were long but funny.

    Also, regarding his being a bag lady — he will also eat anything as long as it is being thrown away.

  • aaaa says:

    @aaaa are you kidding, these guys are ALL virgins. especially that nerdy one with the receding hairline (the black and white photo) and the skinny one in the wifey, no woman could have sex with him cuz theyd break him. tao tan gets more ass than they would in 37 years and a billion dollar bank rol

    1. Avi Zenilman says:

      @Avi Zenilman I have a high forehead. The hairline itself hasn’t receded in years.

  • avi says:

    @avi is so coooooooooool.

  • Zach vS says:

    @Zach vS Aw, damn, I didn’t realize so many of you guys were seniors.

  • CJS says:

    @CJS got my grade in Lydia “Grrrr”‘s class…quite the turn-off.

  • James R W says:

    @James R W There’s not a picture of Jessica. FOR SHAME.

    1. mat says:

      @mat seconded!

      1. Avi Zenilman says:

        @Avi Zenilman It’s Jessica’s fault. She gave in a picture of Marc and I instead.

        1. "Marc and ME" says:

          @"Marc and ME" For shame! How did you get to be editor with grammar like that??

  • hahaha says:

    @hahaha coffee and onions? that was the best cheese/oral answer ever. it’s a shame that most people wouldn’t get that right away (i imagine they wouldn’t anyway…because you know, my sense of humor is on par with addison’s but everyone else’s isn’t)
    addison anderson, anything mean i may have ever said about your writing/jokes/whatever i take back. though you did write like 10 times as much as the others for most questions…

  • sev says:

    @sev I can’t believe marc and avi can fit in that closet together.

  • tmw says:

    @tmw oh i can.

  • sam! as in sam! says:

    @sam! as in sam! i go to nyu!

  • azz says:

    @azz back that azz up!

  • Another senior says:

    @Another senior Avi is a douche bag.

    Josie is very sweet.

    Jerone is the fucking man.

    I don’t know any of the others.

  • I Can't Believe says:

    @I Can't Believe How many people would give up cheese.

    Think of your top-10 favorite foods. How many are you ditching? If by ditching oral sex you’re also removing one from your top-10, I’m scared of you.

  • _*_*_*_ says:

    @_*_*_*_ yay jessica!

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