After the raucous John Jay Awards Dinner, Senior Bwogger, Leo Bevilacqua (CC ’19), takes you behind the Pantone 292 curtain once more (maybe for the last time). Seriously, someone call the FBI, cause he may be needing Witness Protection very soon.
As someone who has ‘dabbled’ in acting in New York City, I have stumbled into my fair share of cult meetings, whether it be the more benign Scientology circles or Christian Science readings to far more chaotic evil NXIVM recruitment sessions. But it all pales in comparison to the evening proceedings of My Columbia College Journey. Now to preface, I am incredibly lucky and happy to be at Columbia, a school where I have met some of my greatest friends, learned more about myself than I could have learned anywhere else and well, you know the rest. My complaint is in-jest and comes from a place of tremendous love. I’m a New York, gay Jew, pretty much Louis from Angels in America, and complaining is literally like breathing to me. You read Exodus in Contemporary Civilization, right? So, I’m basically that one Jew who complains despite being led to the promise land. Okay, now having established that, let’s move onto my comical and yes, harsh, criticism of an evening that I could have better spent fluffing my dorm pillows and not peeing in my Wien sink.
Being a Capricorn and an all-around bougie, extra bish, I will literally go to any event that is hosted in Low that I can dress up for. Seriously, my delusions of grandeur and scarily active fantasy life is able to convince myself that I am on the set of Mad Men or an ambassador or someone of significance. So, when I was handed a name-tag with my grandiloquent last name (“Bevilacqua”) spelled properly with a table assignment, I was walking on sunshine. Through those wrought iron gates into Low’s dining room, I was greeted by a tote bag on my seat and a not-so-friendly face to my left. Again, this is in no way CC’s fault in any capacity but I find it hilariously ironic and cruel that I was placed at the same table as “somebody that I used to know,” if you catch my drift. He even introduced himself to me (I know!) as if I couldn’t pick his cock out of a line-up. Facing a plate full of the most inedible arugula salad and a poorly attended Low, my fantasy was evaporating faster than the arsenic that I imagined CCSC had poured in my Iced Tea. (Oh, yeah that was another thing. No alcohol. Boy, did I miss those Peach bellinis from the John Jay Awards Dinner.)
With my illusion shattered and a fairly strong buzz going from an earlier happy hour, I redirected my attention to tonight’s speakers, each speech drier and more terrifyingly stiff than the next. One student literally ‘confessed’ to getting a C+ on an Art Hum paper for lack of creativity, which made my artsy ass ‘tremble’ for him. As I looked around mid-speeches, seeing if anyone else was as antsy and bothered by the steady stream of uncharismatic bullshit dribbling like a post-Taqueria Y Fonda dump from the podium. But lo and behold, every audience member was transfixed and unmoving like Stepford Wives. It was at this point, that I seriously inspected the crowd, a little disturbed and partly peeved by them, as well as by that “somebody I used to know,” who re-introduced himself as if I couldn’t point his cock out in a lineup. If you ever wondered what happened to those two or three kids in your core class that corrected the teacher on her translation of The Illiad or wore his/her Exeter sweatpants regardless of the weather, well, they were at Low that night participating in a massive CC-circle jerk. I mean, they soaked up every commonplace, sycophantic speech about CC as if it were praise being directly aimed at them.
At some point, there was a video that summed up a variety of students’ ‘CC Journeys,’ which like the rest of the evening’s proceedings, didn’t get me any closer to understanding what the hell ‘core competencies’ or ‘my cc journey’ even are. I don’t know what it is about the word, “Journey,” but it makes me cringe fairly hard. It just evokes every guru, yogi, life coach, SoulCycle instructor or “professional bullshit artist,” in the words of the late, great Bea Arthur in the seminal classic, History of the World. It is a placeholder, a generic and pretentious one at that, for other words like ‘experience.’ It’s like when you don’t want to insult someone or something, so you refer to it/them as: “interesting.” We’ve all been there. I mean just last week, “interesting” popped out of my mouth in discussing a student theatre production, which honestly merits a whole ‘nother post but I digress.
The video, as well as the initiative, seemed very cult-ish and the more research I attempted to do on the subject, reinforced my gut feeling. In the ways it was being described, it sounded more and more like a wisp of a bandage to attempt to solve mental health-related problems on campus. Like CCSC representative who feigns their care for those with mental health on campus when they run, I felt that My CC Journey was a fun, self-celebratory means of distracting from feelings of inadequacy and depression. As someone with PTSD and a transfer student too as if the first label wasn’t traumatic enough, I have struggled to find resources on campus. Even more unsettling was being belittled/bullied by a certain CCSC Senior Representative, who will remain nameless, for my mental health problems as well as for a post in which I candidly described my sexual assault. Funny, how I was punished for being candid, a quality that this evening lacked. I’ve been to morgues with greater vibrancy. So, when I realized that My CC Journey was just placebo Prozac. I stormed out. That’s right, I didn’t come back after intermission. Like Cats On Broadway, I did not care to see the second act. But at least Cats On Broadway had a bar.
Highlights of the night definitely include Deantini rambling on about using a Fitbit and how every day holds a number of opportunities. It was moments like these that reminded me of my accidental attendance at a number of Scientology meetings. Seriously, I was expecting L. Ron Hubbard, God rest his soul, to enter Low, having been let out of his cryo chamber. I was, however, sincerely impressed. Inspired, I started looking on Amazon for a Fitbit on the spot. Forgetting that Deantini was there to sell My CC Journey and not sell an As Seen On TV item. However, like As Seen On TV items, My CC Journey was only available to those eighteen or older, presented in a ‘commercial break’ between teen dramas and bought by pretty much no one.
In summary, I feel like I have, in the process of writing this ‘review,’ channeled the documentarians at HBO who were responsible for The Inventor: Out For Blood in Silicon Valley as well as Going Clear. Seriously, paging Elizabeth Holmes. Theranos lives again in this mediocre attempt at benefiting human life on earth. At least Holmes, as revealed in the terrifying albeit boring documentary, outsourced for somewhat functional equipment. It seems the task force behind My CC Journey copy and pasted some yogi’s/fitness guru’s mission statement, changing a few words here and there. Like the Made In China notebook, iPhone holder, and tote on each seat, what they were selling at this evening wasn’t just bad, but potentially dangerous to your health. That is unless you have a high tolerance for bullshit, in which case I am very, very jealous of you.