Senior Wisdom: Mark Krotov

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Though classes stop, Senior Wisdom continues as we check in with
CPR editor-in-chief and n+1 pamphleteer Mark Krotov. 

Name, School: Mark Krotov, CC 

Claim to fame: Editor of the Columbia Political Review, Former editor of The Birch, Spectator film critic. Oh, I also handed out n+1 pamphlets last fall, which compelled many denizens of Butler to give me (rightfully) mean looks. 

Post-grad plans: Currently murky. I wish I could say that there are options, but right now, they’re mostly hypothetical options. In other words, I’m terrified. 

Preferred swim test stroke? I think the swim test is very stupid, but when I inevitably give in next week, it’ll be freestyle. Quick, easy, and there’s not much flailing involved.  

What are three things you learned at Columbia?

– There’s a lot to fight for. Struggles that are often portrayed as self-serving or irrelevant by certain students have, in my experience, been deeply meaningful, necessary, and productive. Particularly after this year, I hope to never dismiss any form of activism as irrelevant or petty before I find out a lot more.

– Before I came here, I believed that I could fully explain a text (because it spoke to me—and only to me!—in a language that I understood completely!), that I could precisely pinpoint the root causes of a historical event, and that my critique could capture the scope and ambition of a work of art. I was wrong. In other words, education is essential. (Yes, I know, one of the things I learned at Columbia is that education is essential. I fully recognize that this makes me sound like an idiot.)

– How little I know. 

Justify your existence in 30 words or less.

Hopefully, I took things (art, politics, everything else) seriously and helped create spaces where others could take things seriously, as well.  

What was your favorite controversy in your time at Columbia?

I hereby start a new one! Boycott Joel Klein’s forthcoming appearance at Class Day! Klein got Rashid Khalidi fired from a NY teacher training program in which Khalidi voluntarily participated. In other words, the individual whom we have invited to speak to Columbia College seniors and their families has positioned himself against Columbia faculty, and thus against the community as a whole. That would be as absurd as selecting anti-UN advocate John Bolton to be the US Ambassador to the UN!  

What Columbia memory best exemplifies your college experience?

I hate to cheat, but here are two my favorite memories from college:

– Spending a night in a tent during the hunger strike—keeping watch, writing a movie review for The Eye, and speaking with some terrific, thoughtful passers-by.

– Gleefully walking out of Hamilton last Thursday night because the Columbia Political Review’s extraordinary new editor-in-chief (who puts me and all previous editors (sorry, Paul) to shame) had just been elected.  

Which prof do you think would be the best kisser?

Orhan Pamuk. 

What percentage of seniors do you think are virgins?


Would you rather permanently give up oral sex or cheese?

I think I looked through every single Senior Wisdom column and did not find a good response to this question. There is simply no good answer. So I will say cheese, but I will be happy to offer all caveats and hesitations over e-mail. 

Days on Campus memory?

I couldn’t make it. But I imagine that if I had, orientation week would have been less confusing. 


I regret that I: did not take school seriously until junior year, did not do enough of the reading, was not an English/Anthro/Russian major, did not learn Chinese, did not practice the languages that I already know, was not involved enough in campus activism, did not cook nearly enough, read too many blogs without absorbing their content, got angry at petty things, did not get angry enough at big things, did not treat everyone I met with respect, did not discover the brilliance of M2M until about a month ago (how did this happen?).

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  1. schapiro  

    what a hottie! i was his neighbor last year.

  2. ingrid  

    m2m is nasty mark

  3. I also  

    regret not learning Chinese. And I took it for three years...

  4. hmmm  

    What about including some Barnard seniors? There has to be at least one decent one, right?

    • i seriously  

      doubt it.

    • Barnard Senior

      Claim to fame: Being a strong, beautiful woman

      Post-grad plans: Getting married to a rich guy

      Preferred swim test stroke? Breast...if you have 'em, use 'em

      What are three things you learned at Columbia?

      I don't go to Columbia, so...

      Justify your existence in 30 words or less.

      Make babies

      What was your favorite controversy in your time at Columbia?

      Nadia Abu El-Haj's being granted tenure.

      Which prof do you think would be the best kisser?

      Judith Shapiro

      What percentage of seniors do you think are virgins?

      You mean there are Barnard students who still are?

      Would you rather permanently give up oral sex or cheese?

      Cheese, easily

      Days on Campus memory?

      Didn't come :(


      Going to Barnard instead of Columbia

  5. let's get  

    some barnard seniors, please!!

  6. another??  

    how many how-to guides on blow jobs have you read? weird.

  7. fellow CC-er  

    I took a class with this kid. He's really smart and funky. Great guy

  8. markfan4eva

    mark krotov is one of the funniest people i know. much love.

  9. yes!

    mark is amazing, and sincere. he's made my time at columbia so much more worthwhile and i was so glad to see this! he's always teaching me new things.

  10. mark

    definitely falls along a very predictable axis politically, but that's really his only fault. very intelligent, witty persona. I'm very glad he mentioned the real reason joel klein shouldn't speak at class day - he went to war with a great member of the columbia faculty. that's not something the student council, admin., etc. should endorse, even if it does mean the speaker would be an even lesser figure.

  11. 030300303  

    Bwog should interview some obscure seniors. They're the wisest ones. Fuck popular people.

  12. hooloo  

    mark is a great guy. anyone who doesn't know him should try and meet him. there's still time left.

    ps: i note with interest that three john jay 7ers have been selected as wise seniors. we rep mad hard.

  13. thank you  

    i'm so glad mark revealed that about joel klein. i'm so upset with this school sometimes. klein definitely shouldn't have been one wanted him anyway AND he's mean? come on.

    • uh, excuse me  

      If you are against Khalidi, one professor, you are against all Columbia faculty? And if you are against Columbia faculty, you are against the entire Columbia community? You're right Mark, you still do have a shit ton left to learn. I don't feel particularly aligned behind any faculty member, and any professor should be subject to outside scrutiny. This isn't a matter of loyalty, it's a matter of public scrutiny, and you should reread the history behind the event before you say such idiotic things. Also, the Bolton analogy...
      while Bolton certainly didn't make a lot of sense, that has absolutely no connection to bringing Klein here. No wonder political review sucks.

      And please, get a personality. your senior wisdom made by brain hemorrhage from boredom.

  14. well then  


    there i said it.

  15. Karen  

    Mark is incredible. He helps me take things seriously. He's a wonderful friend. And he's a conversatrix. Knowing him is one of the best things that's happened to me.

  16. is he  

    gay? his fb says he's straight but is married to a guy and wants to kiss a turkish poet

  17. oh no

    although mark taught me never to read bwog comments, i did read these. and i want to say that he has more personality than i could dream up, and is absolutely right (as usual) for being upset about the klein/khalidi connection. professors like khalidi have take abuse and been disrespected and disregarded by the university since i've been here. the political motives for these attacks never justify the harm they cause or get the public scrutiny they deserve. the least the committee could do is pick another class day speaker out of respect...or at least one that we could actually respect. even bollinger denounced klein's action.

  18. hmm  

    reading these comments, it amazes me that there was a campaign to get this kid laid during freshman year.

  19. Wow  

    I'm sure he is as awesome as all his friends have said here, but that was the most boring senior wisdom so far.

  20. numberonemarkfan

    If I ever have a daughter, I would want her to marry a boy like Mark Krotov - intelligent, articulate and, unlike most of the tragic boys at Columbia, fun and not socially inept.

  21. I HEART MARK  


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