The 12s Begin the Core

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Bwog enlisted freshman correspondent Peter Thompson to report back with all the exciting details of the semester’s first Lit Hum class.

Notebooks and laptops in hand, the thousand or so 2012s filed in to Roone Arledge Auditorium this afternoon for their very first Columbia class. Professor Gareth Williams, chair of Lit Hum, started speaking at 12:35 PM, but it took almost a full minute for the 12s to quiet down.

Williams began by talking about how wonderful the Core, and specifically Lit Hum, is. Then he spent several eloquent minutes waxing poetic about the marvels of the Iliad, calling it a “human document” and saying it exists in a “timeless vacuum.” He also declared it a “miracle of advanced technology.” Just like an iPod.

The highlight of his lecture came when he asked the members of the audience whether they were on Agamemnon’s or Achilles’ side. The first girl who ventured to the mike was wearing a pink bandana, and at first had trouble getting the mike to work, but she told everyone not to worry, she could project.

She then said that she was on “neither side” because both Agamemnon and Achilles “treat women like meat.”

This wasn’t exactly a response Professor Williams had in mind. He said he would “take that point” but that it was a “whole other issue.” But he added that Pink Bandana Girl’s comment illustrated the whole point of Lit Hum, which is that we “talk with each other.”

A more helpful comment came later, when Williams asked whether Achilles was a monster or a hero. One freshman said that “one of the great things about literature is you do not need to take a particular side…[Achilles is] a human being.” Williams really loved that comment, which somehow led him to the epiphany that Achilles is a “rainbow.”

Williams’ lecture was concentrated and efficient, keeping a restless crowd mostly under in control. He ended at 1:25, fifty minutes after he began and a full thirty-five minutes before he was supposed to end.

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  1. oh 12s

    Look at you trying to be so bold and unconventional! so edgy! so outside the box!

    so... painfully obnoxiously unintelligent...

  2. #1 again

    let me add that pink bandana girl is really going to enjoy Medea if its still on the syllabus. Considering that the play is also written by an ancient greek, it, along with the women of the Odyssey (Penelope, Circe), provide a number of portraits of women in greek literature.

    As for "diplomatic but banal" comment boy, drop the prologue to your point and get straight to it, otherwise your classmates will hate you. the whole "the great thing about literature" is just verbal masturbation.

    lets be incisive folks. and welcome to Columbia :-p

  3. Anonymous

    posts like this make me grateful that my first year at this institution is far, far behind me.

  4. O God

    Just reading the word "Iliad" again is painful.

  5. upperclassman  

    Why is poster number one such an asshole?

    Are you really that insecure about your intelligence that you need to -- via anonymous internet commenting -- attack random freshmen (who were admitted from a much more competitive pool than you were) who are clearly just trying their best like everyone else?

    Seriously. Get a grip.

    • uberclassman

      An asshole? Maybe. It has less to do with my insecurity and more to do with ensuring that kids like "the great thing about literature" boy realize that prefacing your comments with grand observations adds nothing to the discussion and will lead to his classmates thinking he's a blowhard. What's worse is that most professors will indulge that kinda of behavior, especially grad student preceptors. I'm all about raising the level of classroom discussion and cutting the BS.

      As for Bandana Girl, I've seen her type too. And I pray to god there's someone in her section to push her buttons and make her think about her positions. It'll make for a better education. Sure the dispute between Agammemnon and Achilles is over the division of spoils, where a woman is the prize. Without advocating moral relativism, I'd say that bandana girls approach sells the story short. In her revulsion at the chauvinism of ancient times, she's missing the more central conflict over justness and power between the two men. It's great that you're reminding people that Briseis is a real person too who's opinion on who she has to sleep with is ignored, but don't get too smug about scoring those points either.

      Did I have to be so harsh to make my point? Nah. But that's the Columbia way.

  6. finally

    Dear literature boy and bandanna girl,

    If you're reading this, I want to add that my comments are nothing personal. I could have and should have probably phrased them in a more constructive manner originally. I feel the need to say this because I realize I've been a hypocrite. All too often bwog comments turns into a platform from which to tear down other people, often the innocent subject of posts. And it bothers me when that happens to others.

    So good luck, godspeed, and welcome to CU.

    Commenter 1, 2, and 7

    PS - bandanna girl, based on your comment I think you're gonna get some satisfaction out of the first volume of the Oresteia, and definitely will enjoy Medea. I mean it.

  7. ugh

    Most freshmen are retarded. Only one in 100 has anything interesting or individual to say which isn't said purely to impress people or feed his or her pathological need to feel superior.
    Just-just...Grow up faster!!!!

  8. older upperclassman

    easy #6, #1 is just remarking how non-answer and non-substantive those comments and were and that the 12s are in for quite a shock when they find out those types of bs comments don't go anywhere.

    Besides, more competitive pool my ass. The difference in acceptance rate is due to more meatheads applying and people just sending out more applications to schools in general. I would argue the merits of the admitted class over the course of a few years varies only slightly. And you cannot necessarily even compare SAT scores cuz some of the upperclassmen at Columbia still took the 1600 score base exam, not the 2400 ones.

  9. Alum

    Every time you compare SAT scores, baby Jesus cries.

    Oh, and you look like a douche.

  10. but but but

    if you cut the bullshit, you'd have to eliminate the discussion portions of Lit Hum, CC, and naturally both Art and Music Hum. I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing.

    Also, pink bandana girl -- women ARE pieces of meat. See? chauvinism isn't ancient. It's alive and well. And if you're not careful, it'll sneak up between your legs.

  11. 09er

    when i was floating on the aegean....

  12. asdfgh

    bandana girl is missing the whole point of the Iliad. to be dismissive of one of the seminal works of literature because the characters didn't have a twentieth-century attitude about woman is moronic. i am am woman, by the way, and this has nothing do with sexism. women who criticize any book that doesn't spout their own particular brand of feminism give us all a bad name.

  13. '09

    I actually miss Lit Hum. Maybe I am just being nostalgic, but I would definitely take it again.

  14. was there  

    "literature boy" was actually a girl.
    Careful how you throw your meat around.

  15. H Sapiens

    #1 & #2 exhibits the typical compulsive but sophomoric smugness of the upper classman bent on destroying the lowly freshman in a vain effort to demonstrate his own superiority. Didn't work, No 1. Try again.

  16. boy  

    pink bandanna girl can always be found around campus. she is always wearing a bandanna. she always looks like a gypsy.

    she's a trip.

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