But wait, there’s more! The Blue & White’s May issue continues, with the first of our Campus Characters. This feature introduces you to a handful of Columbians who are up to interesting and extraordinary things. This month staff writer Matthew Schantz gets to know Josh Faber, GS’12.
Josh Faber, GS’12, known by some as “the guy with the egg sandwich” or “the kid with the blue hair,” likes to get people talking. He earned his title when Fox’s O’Reilly Factor producer Jesse Watters interviewed Josh for one of the network’s Columbia-baiting segments. Faber was returning to campus after running out to get breakfast, and, he recalls, “As I was walking back, a well-dressed man with a microphone asked me for an interview. He asked if I could finish the sandwich or put it down.” Genuinely more interested in his breakfast purchase, Faber retorted “No,” and began to walk away. The cameraman relented, and told Faber he could keep the sandwich, but Faber had a few demands: “No matter what you do,” he told the reporters before the interview, “this sandwich will not make me look bad on TV.”
Faber succeeded in a way that George Costanza couldn’t. He weaved his way through provocative questions, including, “Is there a Muslim problem?” sandwich soundly in hand. After his 10-minute interview was cut down to a handful of soundbites, Bill O’Reilly admitted on-air, “that guy with the sandwich had a point.”
It’s no surprise the O’Reilly crew asked Faber for an interview—he certainly stands out in a crowd. His hair is a mix of brown and faded green. He wears ripped cut-offs regardless of the season. With his thick, curly wisps of beard, Faber most resembles a punk-rock faun.
Faber’s punk energy comes partially from a youth spent carousing with punks in Griggstown, New Jersey. He never finished high school, but after securing his GED, Faber spent a year studying video-game design in Arizona before transferring to a New Jersey community college. There, he worked diligently in hopes of transferring. His dedication showed: one day after class, Faber’s professor pulled him aside, telling him he was “wasting his life” and urging Faber to apply to Columbia.
In taking an atypical route to Columbia, Faber has picked up a strong, defining work ethic. His friend and fellow WBAR radio staff member Eli Wald CC ’12, remembers finding a distraught Faber toiling away in Butler late at night. Wald told Faber to catch up on his rest, but Faber only replied “No, I’ve spent too much of my life catching up to something.” Today, Faber is majoring in physics and enjoys translating Latin. As one of those types who wanted “to study math ever since [he] learned how to count,” he enjoys the equal patience translation requires.
And one of the upsides of stumbling through Horace is the chance to chat with Core and Classics stud Professor Gareth Williams. In a recent meeting with Williams, Faber asked the terse Classicist when the two could hang out outside of the Ivory Tower. Faber mentioned a Phobia concert he had attended recently, but Williams’ tastes are perhaps a little too refined. “Phobia,” Williams jeered, “what do they sound like? They can’t be good.”
Faber’s looks are entrancing and may be the initial lure for those who see him, but the copper-rust locks are only his anglerfish trap. “People go up to him and think it would be funny to talk to him because they expect something,” explains Faber’s friend Cody De La Vara, CC ’13, “but then they realize he’s really nice.” Josh’s open-minded optimism is evident in the way he reflects upon his O’Reilly moment of fame. He believes, “It forced people to come to their own conclusion” about the issue of Islamophobia and the “Muslim threat.” Chuckling, he adds, “plus, they cut me with Richard Pryor!”