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At Two Swords’ Length: Should You Represent?

Illustrations by Britt Fossum

The Winter issue of The Blue & White is at the printer. The printer is such a tease! Ha! In the meantime, read on for Senior Editor Will Holt’s and contributor Torsten Odland’s takes on whether or not you should unhang that CU hoodie and represent.


Let me start out by saying that I hate this school. There’s nothing that I like about it. I hate you, and I probably hate all the other versions of you that you call your friends. I hate all our teams and clubs, and I hate all sports, games, and organizations. But I wear Columbia apparel, and I’m proud of it.

Why wouldn’t you?

“Oh, it’s not my style.”

Not your “style”? Don’t want to look like a “bro”? Or a “douchebag”? I get it: only stupid people wear shirts and pants with letters on them. They must be so naïve, trying to fit in with the cultic, stereotypically collegiate crowd-life of football and pizza and dubstep. It’s barbaric. Don’t they know what it means to be an individual?

Oh, I could just vomit all over you when you whine like that. After three years spent in this self-important hellhole, I’ve gotten better at retaining my disgust, and refocusing my qi. So let’s talk about this: what is your style? Please, I’m just dying to know who you are.

Ugly sweater, ironic hat, classic vans, skinny-ass pants. Why—you’re your very own iconoclast! When your friends see you rolling in with cuffed jeans, they look at each other in half embarrassment thinking, “Only he could pull that off.” Psych! I was being facetious, which is a trick of the mind. I see you thrifting for clothes that look like they’re sold at Urban Outfitters. I see you buying those suede boots. You look like everyone else that’s trying to forget that they’re a consumer-object—which is exactly the mentality that destroyed the revolution. The only difference between you and the “bros” or the people who wear velour tracksuits all the time is that you are trying so much harder to convince yourself that what you put on every morning means something. Your style is “I’m a hipster.” And hipsters can suck my dick. That’s a promise.

I know you have a Columbia hoodie. I know that your aunt or your parents bought it for you for a graduation present or something—it comes with the territory. It’s sitting in your dresser in mint condition, and yet I see you rocking that Cosby-chic pullover four times a week. So, honestly, why don’t you wear it? Because it doesn’t represent who you are? And all the nonsense that became hip within the last three years—that’s you? My eyes are welling up just thinking about how shitty you are.

I’ll break it down for you: you wear what you think is cool. That’s the only statement you can make, and it doesn’t go any deeper than that. What you think is cool is a combination of all the TV you’ve ever watched, the feedback your parents gave you as a kid, whether or not you’re European—there are a lot of variables, but basically all I’m saying is: you suck. You refuse to put on the hoodie, because that’s not cool. But conformity is conformity, “bro,” and if you try to tell me otherwise, I’ve got five knuckles for your throat.

“Oh, but what if my fake-ass friends won’t like me anymore?!” Get over yourself. I have no friends, and you don’t see me complain. Ever. Besides, if you keep looking for gratification in what other people think, you will never attain the eternal dao. Which is why I wear Columbia sweatpants, sweatshirt, and beanie every day, just to prove to all of you that I don’t care.

Don’t live in fear. Don’t be a slave. Put on the hoodie.


Okay, yes, maybe I do have a Columbia hoodie stashed away somewhere. Fine. I’ll admit to that. It was a gift from my aunt. I run in it. I sweat in it . . . excessively. So I’m not going to wear that to class. But let’s not make this just about me. Why do you represent?

Surely it’s not because of that immense, irrepressible solidarity you feel rising from your breast whenever you’re dining in John Jay. It’s not like you use a meal swipe to join all your peers, arrayed in blue and white and eagerly recounting the play-by-play of last weekend’s big defeat by Cornell. Come on. You’ve probably never even been to a Lions’ game. And, really, who cares?

Sporting anything with the Columbia brand makes a statement. Shit, wearing anything makes a statement. This isn’t UMich, where getting dressed in university apparel in the morning is as routine as brushing your teeth or putting on a pair of jeans. It’s not just a matter of having the hoodie; it’s making the conscious decision to wear it. Hell, it’s $40 for one of those things at the bookstore (although I doubt that crossed your mind when charged it to your parents’ credit card). Now you’re trying to tell me you just so happened to have it lying around? You’re trying to tell me that you really don’t care? Maybe I am guilty of conformity, but you, my friend, are positively reeking of hypocrisy.

So while we’re at it, let me ask you another question: When you were going on college tours just a few years ago, did you buy other college hoodies, too? One from Columbia, another from Yale, another from Brown. . . . You did, didn’t you! You had one from every school so you could hedge your bets—just biting your fingernails and waiting for the acceptance letters so that you could walk into the school the next day repping the Ivy League sweatshirt. And I make you sick? Jesus Christ, I’d rather drive a knife into my own leg than continue listening this.

Bottom line: Whether you admit it or not, you’re wearing that Columbia hoodie because of the status that you think it confers upon you. Decking yourself out in University-emblazoned sweatshirt, sweatpants, and beanie doesn’t exactly tell me that you don’t give a shit.

You’re wearing the hoodie so that friend of yours from home who had to settle for BU knows exactly where things are at these days, even if he did have the higher GPA in high school and “kind of deserved it more” than you did. Don’t pretend like clothing represents some kind of selfless pride in the institution. And don’t try to tell me that it’s just another thing to wear, ironic or not—price-wise, you could have done much better at H&M or a thrift shop than that miserable Barnes & Noble under Lerner.

From what you’ve told me I think it’s safe to assume that you’re not an athlete (it’s probably safe to say that you’ve never even swung a fucking baseball bat). And the fact of the matter is that the only people who wear Columbia apparel regularly and proudly are either those getting up at 6 a.m. for practice or those who are out to prove something to those hipsters in the Village. And since you clearly don’t fit into the former category, it speaks to reason that you’ve positioned yourself squarely in the latter: just another smug, self-satisfied Columbian, still desperately trying to prove something after that rejection letter from Harvard. Don’t like it here? I call bullshit. Otherwise, go back to the Common App, jackass.

Low is always reppin’ via Wikimedia Commons

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous If you hate this school, I feel bad for you son. I got 99 problems but that aint one.

    1. Guest says:

      @Guest This should actually be part of a song lyric to fight against all of the haters that go on about how much they hate this school while discounting all that it gives to them. I can already imagine it!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous laughed out loud at the extremely persuasive affirmative argument. didn’t even read the negative, sorry

    1. Read the Negative says:

      @Read the Negative Good call skipping it.

  • Sherry J. Wolf says:

    @Sherry J. Wolf Why would you use the word “swords” in your title? What would make you think that it’s ok. It’s a trigger for many people who have been subjected to the pain and suffering of pirate violence. Really Bwog? Every post I’ve read today has made me want to vomit. Shame on Columbia University.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous swords = phallic = sexist. Shollenberg, take action at once!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Sweatshirts just look sloppy. Nothing wrong with rocking a logo, but fuck sweatshirts unless you’re running or working out.

    1. Not says:

      @Not if their properly fitted.

      1. They're says:

        @They're damnit.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous You hate the school? You’re in luck… there is a wide variety of community colleges that I’m sure would accept you as a transfer student.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous this was unexpectedly hostile…

  • SEAS '13 says:

    @SEAS '13 ….or I just really like the color blue.

  • haha says:

    @haha >assuming i even like this school enough to buy a sweatshirt>assuming

    1. Rhea Sen says:

      @Rhea Sen assuming I even go to this school lol

  • average says:

    @average Spending time writing so much on the topic of what it means to wear a Columbia sweatshirt was a colossal waste of time and energy . . . who cares. Those who do clearly don’t care what people think and those that object have self-esteem issues that they mask by trying to dress “fashionable” and belittling those who don’t.

    As for hating the school, that’s your right but “hating” takes alot of energy and why waste it concentrating on the negatives of your situation? I’m not saying you should blind youself from them but, REALLY? When you enter the real world you’ll realise your time at Columbia wasn’t so bad and then you’ll kick yourself for all the energy wasted on remaining miserable . . .

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous i think this is meant to be entertainment – an exercise in argument – not an editorial.

  • whatever says:

    @whatever This is probably the worst article I’ve ever read on here. Don’t you guys have editors?

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