May

6

Senior Wisdom: Andrew Lyubarsky

Written by


It’s still Wednesday, and you’re probably still be in full blown procrastination mode. Bwog is here to help with a new Senior Wisdom from the political left, Andrew Lyubarksy.

Name, School: Andrew Lyubarsky, CC

Claim to fame: SCEG member, former Spec columnist, aspiring Andean peasant-farmer/Latin Americanist, post-Soviet subject, part of the Marginal, Radical Fringe that constantly tries to hijack debate on this campus

Post-grad plans: In the short-term, working at a summer program at UT-Austin, followed by hopefully some sort of outdoor labor in the Western desert-lands of Manifest Destiny, followed by teaching English via Fulbright in Argentina next March. Long term, urban planning/housing work/international non-profit-industrial complex in Latin America?

Favorite study spot? I never understood the phenomenon of studying in a communal pressure-pot, frantically looking for the few available spots in Butler while your cracked-out classmates lumber about like zombies. I must betray a fondness for the Butler Reference Room, however, whose monumental “MAN IS BUT WHAT HE KNOWS” (or something like that) has led me to brief spurts of inspiration.

What are three things you learned at Columbia?

1. At the risk of cliché – the world of knowledge is vast and we are still very young. I came into Columbia with a very arrogant perspective – if I could not fit it through my prism, then it was irrelevant or unworthy of engagement. Why study Econ when you can just take Anthro classes and hone your Marxian critique? I’ve sought to understand that there is more than one road to the Good, there are more mouths than there is food and I am certainly too foolish to have all the answers. But I don’t blame myself for trying.

2. Columbia isn’t better or worse than any other big institution. Whenever you have the size and the power to get exactly what you want in terms of your self-interest, even if it totally screws over thousands of people that don’t have that power that live, oh, ten blocks away, you’re gonna do that. And, if you’re smart enough (and nobody has accused Columbia of being stupid), you’ll put out a complex PR campaign that tells people that they are being screwed over for their own good. But the whole point is that its not monolithic – it is susceptible to change, it is a contestable space, otherwise there would be no point of protesting. Ultimately, that’s the hope – that the world is, in some way, redeemable.

3. A lot of people are wack; some people aren’t. Forty ounces of malt liquor can resolve most differences between the two for a couple hours at least. Unfortunately it doesn’t last.

Justify your existence in 30 words or less. Seeker of horizon.

What was your favorite controversy in your time at Columbia? Definitely the hunger strike. There is a great deal of revisionist history in people’s understanding of what happened, to the degree that its impossible to consider it seriously in any terms except those of a joke or caricature. Somehow, we forget in the “hunger-strike-is-ridiculous” narrative that the expansion was going through the approval process at the time, that there had been a four-year history of protest around that issue. We also forget that we had the explicit support of 3 of the 4 class councils (thanks, SEAS!), most cultural organizations, a lot of the leading humanities and social sciences faculty members…

But, I digress. It was without a doubt the most interesting and educational experience for me at Columbia, failed as it might have been. I would change some things, yes, but I firmly believe we were correct in our convictions. I’ll never forget the community of support and struggle we built around those tents, fleeting as it was.

Any battle wounds/war stories from the War on Fun? Somehow I’ve gone from Carman 904B to two years of StRuggles to EC with a plethora of parties but no disciplinary infractions to my name. In freshman year though, I did disappear into the Carman stairwells for hours and then wake up in my bed with bruises and no recollection of the occurrence. It was kind of like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Would you rather permanently give up oral sex or cheese? I share the predilections of the humble scarecrow, always in search.

What do you wish you could tell the Class of 2013 before they come here? Columbia will give you a great education in anything you want to do, but with the important caveat that the view it gives you of reality is extremely partial. You can have a perfect GPA and come out of here an over-educated idiot, if you don’t venture outside of the gates. You can learn a lot from being engaged with the Harlem community that no amount of social science reading isn’t going to give you. Don’t just do community service and don’t just do activism – do both. You have a lot to give and a lot to receive from the community, if you take them seriously. It’s not about charity, it’s about living.

Regrets? Failing to compellingly model my lifestyle on Kanye West or Residente from Calle 13.

Tags: ,

96 Comments

  1. wtf  

    what's with the funky formatting, bwog

  2. was waiting

    for a senior wisdom from one of my friends!

    andrew, your booby lexicon has irrevocably changed the way that i speak. until the day i die, i will think of you when i hear/speak the word FALSE.

    long live carman 904b!
    joanna

  3. alumnus

    What a douchebag. Tools like this guy are what keeps Columbia looking up at HYP. Sounds destined to be the next Mark Rudd. Either that or he'll find capitalism and end up on the street while trying to hide his Marxist past.

    • omfg  

      all i've ever wanted to do with myself and my university is masturbate to my ivy-covered metal gates that keep out people not worthy, rich or white enough for self-aggrandization and high-fallutin' abstractions. oh fuck i just came.

      props lyubarsky. your third thing learned is the best.

    • stinju  

      the only people keeping columbia looking up at HYP are columbians that look up to HYP. get over it.

      andrew, congratulations. you've earned all your success even if the hunger strike was bullshit.

  4. good lord  

    maybe he's nice, but this certainly isn't telling me so.

  5. 44444444444444123123

    Bwog,

    Why do you always choose leader-types for senior wisdoms? Pick an obscure senior at random and grill him/her.

  6. yosef  

    where is Peter Valeiras' senior wisdom???!??!!?!??!?!?!! Peter write your darned wisdoms!!!!

  7. ...  

    here's some reverse senior wisdom:

    stop trying so hard to project a manufactured persona. you are who you are, and maybe you're a decent person, but who's to know as you've cloaked yourself in an artificial shell of ridiculously pompous and flowery language.

  8. I liked this  

    Props to this young man for actually answering the oral sex question; and extra points for the Oz reference, which took me an extra 3 seconds to figure out, to my delight.

  9. also  

    i think hunger strikers who damn themselves to failure are kind of setting that up for future memory...

  10. bwog commentors  

    reveal how true Andrew's words are. There is nothing "manufactured" about engaging in a world without marble.

    Thanks for your work, Andrew. I hope you can hijack the debate in privileged institutions elsewhere.

  11. matriarchian  

    we love you!

  12. matriarchy  

    long live.

  13. mark penn  

    This one doesn't know his ass from his elbow.

  14. bwog  

    do senior wisdoms from esther zuckerman and james tsai!

  15. Why Doesn't  

    Why doesn't anyone answer the oral sex/cheese question with a straight answer? It seems easy, considering how gross other people's mouths are.

    • lol or

      or..
      it seems easy, considering how much pus is in milk... and that cheese is mouldy cow nipple secretions... LOL

      • cheese/head

        i think we need to get to the bottom of this question once and for all.
        for years i labored under the delusion that the choice is so obvious (yay blowjobs! booo limburger!) that the question was, in some way, essentially flawed. recently, however, i came to a sudden realization which made me realized that for all those years i had been gravely mistaken. the realization was this:
        there are many kinds of sex, but there is only one cheese.
        sure, head is great, but is it really better than cheeseburgers, pizza, quiche, omelettes, baked, brie, parmesan covered pasta, lassagna, nachos, grilled cheeze sandwiches, chili cheese fries, and every other delicacy which is only enhanced by the addition of cheese? i mean seriously, a man can only get so many blowjobs, but he really never can exhaust the potential of cheese to enhance almost every food known to man.

  16. I get it.  

    I mean I get what he's going for here. A jaded "ha-ha you're doing a profile on me" I'm flattered but I'm gonna bull to reflect my self-sustaining apathy.

    It's the written equivalent of wearing a suit with Chuck Taylors for the irony: At the end of the day you're still a douche.

  17. TOTALLY CRUSHING

    i love andrew and want to have his babies.

  18. wow  

    i really like this guy - he's kind of inspiring.

    (and i'm CC'12, in case anyone's wondering)

  19. Revisionist history?  

    I like Andrew, but I think he seems to be the one revising the history around the hunger strike. It took a single day or two for a coalition of 600 students to form opposing the strike. I don't think the 3 councils expressed explicit support, they were mum on the issue, and some were peeved that you tried to do shit they were already working on. I don't think anyone thought you were remotely successful, and whatever you achieved re: major cultures has been in the works for years.

    It still seems bizarre to me that you could use a technique like the Hunger Strike, which was used for India to gain independence from the British (particularly after brutal massacres) to achieve this sort of goal, and then accuse those who didn't support you of ignorance of colonial structures embedded in the university system (allegedly). Anyway, I am glad that SCEG has been doing things a little more constructively this year.

    • CCSC  

      NEVER TOOK A POSITION ON THE HUNGER STRIKE. I'm almost positive GSSC didn't take one either. Maaaaybe Barnard did, but even then I don't think it was explicit at all. Revisionist history? You're crazy.

      • not quite  

        CCSC and GSSC both issued statements in explicit support of the hunger strikers. GS was even included in the hunger strikers demands - allow them into the OMA, just as every other undergraduate school. It was granted.

  20. Responding  

    he actually seems super down to earth in this. smart, yes, but humble -- i don't know where people are getting this "douche"y vibe from.

  21. I kinda  

    Like this senior wisdom. Seems like you have done something worthwhile with your time here. Way to have convictions and carry through with good luck with the rest of your life.

  22. confused  

    I don't get the scarecrow thing...?

  23. Yo buddy  

    21 years?? :-S

    Dude, I think the veganism might have impeded you. I am glad you got rid of that. Best wishes with future sexual milestones.

  24. not a fan  

    Andrew's a douche with a failed agenda. Thumbs down.

  25. sorry,  

    was not a fan of this senior wisdom. learn how to be humble.

  26. CCSC (again)  

    sorry. i just realized it sounds like i'm calling commenter 22 crazy. false.

    its andrew who is creating revisionist history here...

  27. splurge  

    all over ya face

  28. dude,  

    Lyubarsky is the man!

    Totally in support. Excellent senior wisdom!

  29. I support...

    ...the Andrew Strikers!

    J/k. way to go, Andrew.

  30. This  

    kid's a cracker. All there is to it.

    • Hmmm  

      If I wrote "This kid's a ni**er. All there is to it" about some black kid, what do you think would happen?

    • JollyRoger  

      Truth. #47 is the only non-whack commenter here.

      "Tools like this guy are what keeps Columbia looking up at HYP."

      Activist hipsters versus people who care about Columbia's ranking? If there is a God, may he smite down this campus for nothing good can possibly come out of this. I wish you both mutual annihilation.

  31. ahhhhhhhhhhhh  

    ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  32. nice job,  

    Andrew, and may you someday experience the Kluge.

  33. AHHHHHHHH  

    scarecrow scholarship!!!

    taste my pancakes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. revisionist  

    yeah, CCSC never took a position on the hunger strike. this guy is deceiving people and it totally undermines his self-portrayal of an honest fighter for the underprivileged.

  35. ...

    I want to marry this Andrew Lyubarsky guy, whoever he is.

  36. Soo  

    Why hasn't anyone called number 47 that?

  37. kid

    someone please send this shit to ivygate

  38. ...

    SARA VOGEL needs a senior wisdom. amazing woman she is.

  39. people  

    people people, we gotta get over, before we go under.

    Andrew Lyubarsky for Funky President!!

  40. butkler  

    SARA VOGEL!!!!

  41. holla  

    i just bwogged a little after reading this.

  42. what a

    what a tool

    good riddance you undemocratic arrogant pretentious prick

    be careful when you set the bombs in the next set of weather underground attacks

  43. it seems that  

    lots of people here would like to give some scholarships!

  44. the negativity  

    IT CONSUMES!

  45. hum  

    "the world of knowledge is vast and we are still very young. I came into Columbia with a very arrogant perspective – if I could not fit it through my prism, then it was irrelevant or unworthy of engagement. ... I’ve sought to understand that there is more than one road to the Good...and I am certainly too foolish to have all the answers."

    Those genuinely are wise words. Given that, it's rather ironic that he was involved with SCEG and the hunger strike. Now there's an example of people unable to switch prisms.

    Despite that, I'll give him as an individual the benefit of the doubt. He seems like a nice guy, even if he is a bit jargon-addled.

    Also, just for the record, it really bugs me when people of the Marxist strain start talking about "narratives". Hey guys, let me clue you in on something. Just because you can concoct an alternate "narrative" that's compelling and internally consistent, that doesn't make it *true*. Determination of truth is what empirical testing is for. And don't tell me that the "reality" examined by experiments is itself a construct of narratives -- it is, but only trivially so. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

    Finally, I'd like to add that commenter #3, though likely somewhat of a douche himself given his tactless choice of words, is correct.

    • tired, pissed, sad

      ah, i see that despite your insistence on the value of positivist inquiry and the advancement of human knowledge you have refused to take the time to gain any understanding of the function of narrative and its relationship to the natural sciences beyond what you have garnered from brief scans of wikipedia articles. had you taken the time to think about this issue critically, rather than construct a laughably simplistic straw man to be torn down with a few pithy phrases, you would know that your argument is almost entirely incoherent. furthermore, if you had even paid attention in cc during the discussion of marx, much less done the reading, you would know that "people of the Marxist strain" do not talk about fucking narratives. what do you even thing marxism is? who are you?
      you are a laughable twit. not because of your silly eurocentric opinion on science, but because you are arrogant, uninformed, and intellectually lazy.

      • ...  

        in english: [with commentary in brackets]

        you don't know what narrative is. [and i'm not going to explain it to you even if its absence makes my argument as hollow as i claim yours is] if you weren't so lazy, you'd realize you have no idea what you're talking about and you wouldn't be hiding behind bullshit arguments. [you should really consider more substance, like me!] if you paid attention in cc, you'd know marx has nothing to do with narratives. what do you think marxism is?

        *generic insult*

      • #69 again  

        "you have refused to take the time to gain any understanding of the function of narrative and its relationship to the natural sciences beyond what you have garnered from brief scans of wikipedia articles."

        You are incorrect. I've read a decent amount of philosophy of science and things like that. Respectable, scholarly, high-level stuff. I'll grant you, I'm still an undergraduate and I'm therefore not an expert on that stuff...but then, I'd bet that you aren't, either.

        "had you taken the time to think about this issue critically, rather than construct a laughably simplistic straw man to be torn down with a few pithy phrases, you would know that your argument is almost entirely incoherent."

        1. If the position I have taken myself to be arguing against is in fact a straw man, then provide me with an alternative that is not.

        2. Show me where my argument is incoherent. Point out to me which two (or more) of its claims are mutually incompatible.

        "furthermore, if you had even paid attention in cc during the discussion of marx, much less done the reading, you would know that "people of the Marxist strain" do not talk about fucking narratives."

        I realize that _Marx_ doesn't talk about narratives, at least not anywhere that I've seen. And yes, I did read Marx in CC, and yes, I did pay attention and give him thought. But in my experience, people of the _Marxist strain_ *do* talk about narratives. If you want an example, see our friend Mr. Lyubarsky above, who uses the words "Marxian" and "narrative" in his answers. I'd like to note that I don't have any particular issue with the way he uses the terms here. My comment was more an "in general" kind of thing.

        "what do you even thing marxism is? who are you?"

        I'm a Columbia College student who's read some Marx and given it some thought, and moreover been exposed to people at Columbia who find Marx persuasive, those I referred to as "people of the Marxist strain". I do find Marx persuasive on some things. For example, I think his picture of the natural development of society is very compelling and in many ways quite accurate. But there are other respects in which I think Marx is very, very wrong.

        "you are a laughable twit. not because of your silly eurocentric opinion on science, but because you are arrogant, uninformed, and intellectually lazy."

        Because the Europeans were the most recent civilization to make the most extensive use of the scientific method does not make it "Eurocentric". It means the Europeans happen to have employed the scientific method the most. Before them, the most advanced scientific inquiry was conducted in the Islamic world and in China. The fact that the Europeans developed their scientific knowledge more extensively and more recently does not legitimate the barbaric things many Europeans did with the knowledge they thereby obtained. But it also does not abrogate the many useful things that knowledge has produced and enabled for humankind.

        The rest your comment is ad hominem, which, though colorful, is not argumentatively valid. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

        :P

        • line-by-line rebuttals  

          blow donkey balls.

          -the mgt.

        • you're great  

          not being sarcastic, seriously thanks

        • haaahhaha  

          hahaha oh god you truly truly need to find something better to do with your time than write huge responses to people tearing every word they type apart and barraging them with a series of questions.. then going on to share your own person (bore of a) biography! LOL

          i wasnt gonna get involved in these sorts of bwog-debates but you sir... are a whole new level of LAME and i feel really compelled to point it out for some reason! LOL

          also "oo people who talk about marx talk about narratives so i'm gonna come up with a term called 'the marxist strain' and attempt to critique it!" LOL. just... LOL.

          i almost want to tell you to stop posting but really your comments are such gold i find them very entertaining! LOL

          • oh, be quiet  

            This is #69/83 again. (1) Sloppy thinking makes me cranky, and sloppy thinking surrounded by ad hominem makes me doubly cranky. (2) That bit about ad hominem includes you. (3) I spent about 5 minutes on that post, and I'd say they were 5 minutes well-spent, because (4) I enjoy arguing, in general, and because (5) Bwog is a fun place to take a break while studying for finals. (6) You're not getting under my skin with your insults, but you are failing to provide any substantive answers to my questions/arguments in comment #83. If you want to make commenter #72's position look more compelling, this is not the way to do it. (7) Repeating the word "LOL" does not make it more effective.

          • Lol  

            LOL numbered lists of your intentions... you are so cool... if i wasnt getting under your skin you wouldnt have to respond to 'defend' yourself... nor would you have to point out my repetitive use of LOL... LMAO keep crying little college child with a big ego... keep crying... LOL LOL LLOL

    • one more thing

      also, i can't believe you just linked to the wikipedia article on scientific method to make a point. do you shit ignorance?

  46. senior wisdom  

    varun gulati's!!

  47. back to obscurity AL

    forgot how insufferable this guy is... LMAO if Lubarsky ever had to take a SEAS class

  48. hey bwog  

    judging by the fact that every single senior wisdom so far (other than one, i believe) has mentioned the hunger strike as their favorite controversy, how about senior wisdom-ing someone who organized the other side? just a thought.

    • because  

      no one gives a fuck about those self-centered hunger strikers. they gave themselves a podium, why should bwog as well?

      • yes, exactly  

        i meant why doesn't the bwog profile someone who was involved in the anti-hunger strike side. i think there were some CC'09 people in there, but i could be wrong.

        i just think it would be interesting to hear their senior wisdom, that's all.

  49. lmgtfy  

    ccsc did not take a position, they waffled around a lot in extremely badly-written language

    http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ccsc/resolutions/2007-2008/

    that's about as good as it gets
    "CCSC would like to express its concern for the health of the strikers and wants it to be made known that we will continue to be involved, wherever appropriate, in finding a peaceful resolution to the situation on campus."

  50. to clarify  

    This sounds a lot like support to me... it seems like people are nit-picking.
    ****************
    The Core Curriculum, CCSC Advocates for�

    The reformation of the Major Cultures requirement to contain a variety of courses in a seminar format.

    More student voices and seats for the Committee on the Core and the Committee on Instruction, as well as voting power for students on both committees, and that their process of selection be better publicized.

    Ethnic Studies: CCSC advocates�

    Support and autonomy for Ethnic Studies and the departmentalization of the Center for Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Institute for Research in African American Studies

    Administrative Reform: CCSC Advocates that�

    Columbia�s Public Safety announce instances of hate crimes when they are reported and issue an annual report of reported bias incidents and hate crimes and how they have been addressed. A clear definition of what a bias incident is

    The expansion of the Office of Multicultural Affairs with more communication and collaboration between the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Columbia and the Multicultural Affairs Office at Barnard

    The hiring of a Vice-Provost of Multicultural Affairs to administer and direct University policies affecting students within all of the schools of the UniversityMandatory anti-Oppression training for all incoming faculty and public safety, with full day workshops, on the level �under1roof�, on issues of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, power and privilege.

    The Expansion

    The Columbia College Student Council has been doing research and gathering information on the expansion through its expansion committee. The council is not in a position to take a position on the expansion this semester.

  51. GSSC  

    STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FOR THE HUNGER STRIKE
    FROM THE GENERAL STUDIES STUDENT COUNCIL

    We, the undersigned members of the General Studies Student Council, wish to affirm our support for progress within our Columbia community. At this moment, four students from Columbia and Barnard Colleges are engaged in a sincere and serious act of protest against racist and prejudicial practices, activities, and words. They have chosen a hunger strike as a tactic of last resort because they feel systematically marginalized by the administration. Our concern is for the health of our fellow students regarding the marginalization of their voices. We therefore stand in solidarity with our fellow students in their efforts to eliminate some of the myriad forms of racism, sexism, homophobia, ethnocentrism, ageism, and elitism found within our campus. Just as the administration has a responsibility to engage in fruitful dialog with the strikers, so too does the student body have an obligation to critically engage with the concerns proposed by the student strikers. The scope of the issues brought forth by the groups involved pertain to all.

    For these reasons, we stand in solidarity with the hunger strike and with all who seek progress within our academic community. The kind of nourishment our fellow students need is that of support. To that end, we humbly offer this statement and hope that our campus will move in a progressive direction as a result of the efforts of these dedicated students.

  52. Damnit People

    I think we need to settle this. BWOG, make a poll of Oral Sex vs Cheese.

    I simply cannot believe people choose to give up cheese. How about instead of the mouth you consider using the vagina, the butthole, the hand (yours or your partners), the armpit, the foot, or any number of things that can contain a penis or be shoved into a vagina?

  53. ummm  

    Where are Senior Wisdoms from Emily Clader and Mollie Schwartz? They're both super cool and, apparently, the smartest people in our class. I want to hear what they have to say!

  54. didnt  

    say much. leftys please like me cuz im influenced by marx. columbia moderates please like me cuz i vaguely hint that marx is also wrong. come on, have some substance and conviction either way. lack of incisiveness is not subtlety

  55. really bwog? really?  

    really? REALLY? could he be more self-righteous?

    i just want to say, on behalf of all poor people in Harlem, and on behalf of all andean farmers who are desparately seeking a beacon of white-privileged light, Thank you, Andrew. Thank you for saving us.

    eat something.

  56. "communal pressure pot"  

    =Columbia University in the City of New York. Yes, people study at this school, including Andrew, which is why I assume he won his Fulbright. Tool.

  57. Ramya

    2 thumbs up for Andrew!

  58. read the sign  

    it says "Don't feed the troll"

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