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Senior Wisdom: James Bennett II

James Bennett

James Bennett

In the first Senior Wisdom of the day we bring you the wonderful James Bennett II, star of Columbia’s Harlem Shake, Sensual Sundays, the International Butler Anthem, WKCR jazz shows, your dreams, and so on and so forth…

Name, Hometown, School: James A. Bennett, II; Baltimore, MD (the original Bay Area- Chesapeake what up); Columbia College

Claim to fame? I just see myself as a cynically unabashed dude who’s been known to fall down, read some shit out loud, put the needle to the groove in order to give you some aural stimulation at WKCR, and rap from time to time. Who knows, maybe I made you laugh once or twice. Back home, I’m just that kid from a kind of alright- turned-hnnnggg neighborhood who in no way was supposed to make it Columbia, but who wound up doing so anyway, because determination.

Where are you going? Word on the street is that I’ll be splitting time between New York and D.C., but mostly New York, and most definitely around.

3 things you learned at Columbia: Three things, eh?

  1. One reckless night back in the summer of ’11, I received the greatest bit of wisdom from a CC Alum, class of ’54. He looked me in the eye and said, “if it seems like a good idea, do it. When I was an undergrad I would want to just lose it and go outside and shout and have five-cent beer at West End Bar. So I did. ” Now, of course operating within the confines of the law, I took that to heart. I learned that you remember those impromptu trips to Brooklyn and forget those lost nights at a library. That a poorly planned mini-road trip is a much better memory than a routine Sunday morning meeting. That things get better, and that Butler isn’t forever. So, don’t you dare drop your metaphorical thun-thun. Thanks, Alum guy.
  2. That a perfectly executed headshake/finger wag combo says infinitely more than a stream petulant vitriol when someone is being a real social idiot. Practice in a mirror and with your friends, and give it a shot next time someone decided to walk in the opposite direction as you on those godforsaken stairs in Ferris Booth. One day this could be you.
  3. To be clear about what you want. I think we love imaging our lives like movies, and that everyone knows what our thoughts and wishes are. But there are no intimate over the shoulder shots or artsy jump cuts or silly theme music to cue up some dramatic dialogue. It’s just you and your professor/crush/friend/bartender//Max Bartik. Just be frank. Not curt, just honest. Now, honesty can be a motherfucker. No way around that. You may not hear or get what you want, but it’s a hell of a lot easier to breathe without a load of “what if’s” weighing you down. And you need your head to keep your cool.

Back in my day… things were cool, and all we needed was bop-bop, bop-bop, bop-ba-domp.

Oh, and Ferris was a luxury; 40s were $3 flat; Crack Del; Wien was hands down the grimiest of dormitories; the sky was blue; Thursday nights at JJ’s were wild; there was no wifi in John Jay (for better or for worse); the grass was green; all the cool kids hung out behind SIPA; NoCo security was terrible in its infant semesters, and roof access was dumb easy; Jurassic Park was still cool; and I studied in Uris whenever I damn well pleased.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer:  Chivalry isn’t dead yet. But chivalry dies when I do.

Write a CU Admirers post to anyone or anything at Columbia: I saw your face, and wow.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? I was always taught to recognize the talents of your own and respect those of others. That said, I’ve never heard, given, or received praise for eating cheese. Open and shut case, Johnson.

One thing to do before graduating: Experience sunrise from the Staten Island Ferry. Go alone. Heading back to Manhattan with just your thoughts, the water, and the rising sun is an indescribable feeling. Comes with the side effect of explaining to all your buddies why you were even alone in Staten Island that late in the first place.

Any regrets? Didn’t devote enough time to mastering time. I don’t mean time management, I mean hopping in the DeLorean and exploring what would have happened if I had said this then or done that now or eaten this or drank that or slept these hours and not those hours. Until then, I gotta deal with the time machine that never was. Life is linear, and all your disappointing moments are behind you, but hopefully you’ve crafted enough good memories to carry you all the way. And I have. I love you all, madly.


JJ11 4 Lyfe

*drops mic*

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  • Tastemaker says:

    @Tastemaker liSTEN to this man.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous thug 4 lyfe

  • MK says:

    @MK I made you.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous this guy is too cool. jealous, but mostly in awe.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous if i ever do a senior wisdom, my only regret will be turning you down at that party last year. you wanted to dance and i didn’t and I WILL REGRET THIS UNTIL THE DAY I DIE I THINK YOU’RE AWESOME KTHXBAI.

  • Beyonce Pad Thai says:

    @Beyonce Pad Thai don’t gooooo cc ’13 don’t gooooo


  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous BALTIMORE FOREVER. you do the hometown proud.

  • Anon says:

    @Anon One time, Bennet and I chilled with some ladies at the Heights then went back to his place and watched It’s Always Sunny till the sun rose. good times

    1. Marty McFly says:

      @Marty McFly That’s really not how I expected that story to end…
      Come on now, Always Sunny as your closer?!? Please promise to remove anything with Danny DeVito from your arsenal.

  • dp says:

    @dp how you managed to be at every party ever i will never know

  • charlie says:

    @charlie 100% good money

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous the grass WAS green! it’s gotten less and less green from year to year. i wonder if columbia is trying to tell me something.

  • harry says:

    @harry this is excellent.

  • JAMES! says:

    @JAMES! we only have a week to watch Ken Burns’s Civil War, WHERE ARE YOU

  • CC '13 says:

    @CC '13 This man is wise.

  • I don't know you but says:

    @I don't know you but Thank you for making me remember that it’s OK. It’s OK to do dumb shit, because, well, we only have this once. Not that the shit you did was dumb. But that it may not have been what others expected of you– this is my story, and I’m learning to be OK with that. So thanks.

  • move it football head! says:


  • knowing jems says:

    @knowing jems thought it would be:

  • hey says:

    @hey I was so into this

  • s/o to Erykah Badu says:

    @s/o to Erykah Badu impressive, thumbs up.

    1. Cindi Mayweather says:

      @Cindi Mayweather The booty don’t lie.

  • determinationnn tho says:

    @determinationnn tho What I thought the link to determination would lead to…

  • ryan says:

    @ryan not a thun thun was dropped that day

    1. ryan says:

      @ryan also fuck how am i supposed to follow this

  • This says:

    @This Is fantastic.

    Life: you are doing it right.

  • eva says:

    @eva proud and glad to know you, brother from another mother. i will always be in your corner, so glad you’ll be home to check on the hood.


  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous #TDH4seniourwizdom

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