Opening Remarks: An Anthology

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Check back throughout the day for a continually updated list.

Post-Modernism, Prof. Vandenberg

In post-modernism yesterday, fifty or so tightly packed, Derrida-hungry

kids waited for Prof. Vandenburg to arrive. When she still hadn’t

shown up after 25 minutes, a few witty comments started to fly about

how “post-modern” it would be for Vandenberg to let the class teach

itself. Vandenburg walked in unhurriedly a few minutes later, only to

announce, “I’m sorry…it was very post-modern: I was using my

computer clock, which I shouldn’t have done.

Of note: As of the first class, no one had yet used the abbreviation “po-mo.”

Music Hum, Prof. Loo

Loo started class out by attempting to goad some students into sharing

their current music preferences. There was a smattering of

unenthusiastic “Kanye West”‘s and “Radiohead”‘s before one eager

listener declared, “Classic rock.” Loo asked for some elaboration.

“You know,” the kid shrugged, “Like Kansas…Boston. Oh…Elton John.”

Film Noir, Prof. Douglas

Ann Douglas was doing a roll call in her Film Noir seminar and this occurred: 

Douglas: Richard [something]?
Kid: I go by Chad.
Douglas: I’m sorry…
Kid: Chad, like the country.
Douglas: Ah, Chad like the country. Well, at least its not Charred.

At least it sounded like she said “charred.” People at my end of the table gave each other a lot of “WTF” looks.

20th Century Lyric Poetry, Prof. Strand

A girl in Mark Strand’s 20th Century Lyric Poetry seminar admitted she hadn’t applied or registered (there were way too many people in the class), and he looked at her, squinting, with a look of mild disgust, and asked, “What were you thinking?”

Seminar in Political Economy, Prof. Morelli

Girl: Hi, I’m not actually a student here. At Columbia.
Morelli: Oh. You should audit.
Boy: My name is [redacted] and I’m a Ph.D hopeful. I was hoping to research with you.

Morelli: I don’t know anything about that topic, but I would like to collaborate.

Introduction to Poetry and Poetics, Profs. Golston and Murray

Murray: “Occasionally we will dissolve into bouts of barely concealed rage that will hopefully be pedagogically interesting.”

Introduction to Literary Theory, Prof. Robbins

He walks in and writes on the board:

Everything is X

X is a construct

       “One is not born a woman; but becomes one”

He never explains or references either the first part or the Simone de Beauvoir quote.

Soil Mechanics, Prof. Ling

Professor Hoe I. Ling, a professor of Soil Mechanics in the CEEM Department opened his class today with a photo of the surface of Mars taken by the 150 million dollar Sojourner rover. Ling has a thick Chinese accent.

“Yes. Many of you might remember when a little device went to Mars. This is the first photo that the toy gave us.”

Readings in Jewish Humor, Prof. Dauber

Jeremy Dauber from Readings in Jewish Humor said of Phillip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint:

“It’s a filthy book and I hope you enjoy every filthy moment of it.”

Christianity, Prof. Somerville

Somerville: “You all are Christians, were Christians or are not Christians.”



  1. Alum

    Prof. Douglas (not "Douglad") must have meant "'chard", as in the second syllable of Richard.

  2. Oooo

    Murray and Golston are tag team teaching intro to poetry and poetics again? I took that fall 04...awesome class, I was sad they didn't offer it again.

  3. ...  

    It is only the second day of classes and I am already freaking out pomo style.

  4. what do you  

    call literature about wireless internet?


  5. hand  

    I'm bout to watch me a po'mo.

  6. i feel so lucky  

    I had the pleasure of being in both that Introduction to Poetry and Poetics and the Music Hum class from the previous post. Yey for me and my crazy teachers.

  7. Prof. Gallagher  

    "When you see a double sum, you see victory!"

    • Juanathan  

      Yes, but you missed the best part...

      Prof Gallagher: "When you see a double sum, you see victory! I love the smell of napalm in the morning!"

      (by the way, this came up in an example of a non-commutative ring)

  8. Saliba  

    "sorry I cannot tell you where your discussion section will be held-- the president of this university was too busy last semester inviting every dictator who strolled by to be honored at our school to think about practical things like classrooms. Maybe we should just have class in his house-- I hear it's rather large."

    • Silly School  

      My stats class this morning was moved to a different time on a different day because classrooms were assigned correctly.

      The interim dean of the stats department said they were using a new computerized scheduling system this semester, and it hasn't quite figured out classrooms yet.

    • Saliba 2

      I preferred "My ear doctor tells me it's only women's voices I don't hear well. Something about the pitch." (In response to a soft-spoken girl trying to answer one of his questions.)

  9. derrida is not  


  10. history of sexuality  

    Singy, without preamble, jumped right in with discussing seven-year-old boys fellating teenage boys and mentioning that his papers on masturbation and sadism had "given [him] a reputation."

  11. please oh plase  

    bwog, talk about math classes.

  12. cannon:  

    in 1004, about finding the CS building:

    big doors in mudd, get buzzed in by reception, etc...
    "it's kind of a big maze once you get in there. watch out for the minotaur."

  13. SEAS  

    freshman walks into advanced engineering course, apparently oblivious to the entirely senior composition of the class - "excuse me, is this Frontiers review section?"

  14. SEAS '10  

    I've heard the word "pedagogical" too many times lately.

  15. wooooohoooo

    Civil Eng getting love from Bwog.

    Spread some of that good old Bulliet love to Saliba, Bwog. He's Columbia's favorite example of tenure gone almost (but not quite) bad.

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