Senior Wisdom: Mark Krotov
Written by Bwog Staff
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?
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?).