While we’ve all noticed the increase in rat sightings, there is more to this story than meets the eye.

There is nothing more raw, primal, and carnal than the natural, innate rivalry between man and rat. Since the dawn of time, New York City has been locked in a battle with its rat population, warring for ultimate control of the city. However, it is widely believed that the human citizenry of New York had, in recent days, prevailed over our rodent adversaries, at least for the time being. Despite a surge in rat propaganda in recent decades, all designed at lulling humanity into a false sense of security by presenting a softer image of rat culture (Ratatouille, Pizza Rat, Flowers for Algernon), the power of the rat has been on the decline of late. However, the past year has seen a great resurgence in the movements and activities of rats throughout the city that had appeared to have forsaken them. The New York Sanitation Department, which this fall famously launched a volley of memes at the rat lobby (and are now selling shirts memorializing the glorious struggle), has reported a 71% increase in rat sightings since 2020, and I have confirmed these numbers through my own independent study (I have seen many rats).

I submit to you that this is not some innocuous population spike, but an active mobilization that is being orchestrated in order to further some sinister means. I believe not only that this rat boom is no accident, but is, in fact, the work of none other than outgoing Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger.

Allow me to present my evidence. As of 2014, the rat population of New York City was determined to be around 2 million, about a quarter of New York’s human population. Staring down such intimidating and daunting odds, it is only logical that the rats would resolve to seek out external assistance. They evaluated the situation and determined that they could not hope to overcome the forces of humanity alone. They would need an ally— someone with power, someone with shared interests. Enter Lee Bollinger.

A central part of the legacy Lee Bollinger leaves behind is his expansion of Columbia University’s land holdings. So, naturally, I asked myself, why stop there? What is stopping Bollinger from expanding his land holdings, seizing and annexing and gentrifying more land until he is in control of the most powerful city this side of Elizabeth, New Jersey?

The answer may appear to be simple—Bollinger will be departing Columbia University after his term as president this year. However, this is clearly a ploy to draw attention away from any long-term designs he may have on conquering the rest of New York City. It stands to reason that he will appoint a successor favorable to his ambitions and his influence, no doubt an unsavory figurehead— perhaps a rat, perhaps Mary C. Boyce— and allow them to run the show while he disappears into the shadows, just like the sewer-dwelling rodents he has aligned himself with. 

Now, where do the rats enter the picture? It’s simple. The sentiment that large urban areas are irredeemably dangerous and crime-ridden has been well-documented, particularly among those who think the city is a dirty, scary place where their children will be accosted by drag queens and pestered by critical race theory. Playing up an unappealing image of New York City theoretically would drive people out of the city and discourage others from moving in, causing the value of land in New York to decrease. Thus, the calculus for Bollinger is clear: make New York look repulsive and gross, drive down land prices, swoop in and buy up more land, adding to the holdings he has already accumulated. Once the Columbia Empire gains full control of the island of Manhattan, Bollinger will return as a glorious leader, like an exiled Napoleon. All of this hinges on cultivating the dirtiness and sliminess of New York City, and what is one surefire way to play up this image? By funding and supporting the universal symbol of urban decay and nasty sewer behavior. Rats.

Upon developing these theories, I did some digging and investigating, and while I could uncover no paper trail to this devious plot, I did manage to get in contact with several rats who provided me valuable information in pursuing this story. In fact, I spoke at length with one particular rat, who, on condition of anonymity, initially agreed to be interviewed for Bwog. The planned interview was unfortunately derailed when the Sanitation Department mysteriously appeared at our exact meeting spot, assassinated my rat contact, and pursued me through the tunnels of the 72nd Street subway station. However, prior to their unfortunate demise, in their dying moments, my comrade (com-rat?) did share with me that they had been approached by none other than Bollinger himself, who had offered the rat $10 million in cash to chase some tourists around in Times Square (and an additional $5 million to publicly delegitimize Scabby the Rat). As I knelt in that subway tunnel, weeping and holding my dead friend’s rat body in my arms, in the shadow of the platform, as an Express 2 train rattled past me and my tears mixed with the sewage surrounding me, I knew that I’d discovered something monumental.

How exactly Bollinger assembled and funded this vile influx of rats is unclear. Perhaps he imported them from a foreign market (as of 2020, the rat population of London stood at 20 million, and that’s not counting any Tory MPs), or perhaps he has been storing them inside his hair all these years. But it is not my job to answer these questions. It is my job to rally the good readers of Bwog against our community’s oldest, most primordial enemy: Bollinger the rats.

I will continue following this story until I reach its end. I cannot promise what will come of it— perhaps I will be silenced, perhaps I will eventually unveil the full truth. If you have any rat-related tips, you can find me at Cafe East any given weekday night. Until then: stay woke, Barnumbia. Stay woke, New York.

Rattus norvegicus, order of rodentia. Seen here plotting, in lockstep with Lee Bollinger (not pictured).

Nocturnal Rats via Wikimedia Commons

Rattus Rattus via Wikimedia Commons