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Ahhhh, college. Give a rouse for a liberal arts education and wholesome experiences that have the power to shape you as a person! However, have you ever wondered just how much these experiences have changed how you see the world? Fear not, for I can assure you that Dartmouth experiences have definitely changed you for the better.
To rally, or not to rally — that is the question:
’19: “Playing shrub is like playing Quidditch with only two hoops.”
I’m sure you’re all familiar with the beloved children’s program “The Magic School Bus,” in which a batty school teacher leads a group of intrepid elementary school students on wacky adventures through time and space, learning a broad array of facts about the natural world along the way. Each of these little nerds has a distinct personality — the black girl is sassy, the ginger Jew is a weakling and the Italian-American boy is the natural leader of the bunch. All these neat character-types did a fantastic job force-feeding a generation of pre-adolescent viewers a host of useful prejudices by which to exclude and exalt one another in their mature years — but what did they do to help them learn about themselves?
In my second year at the Delaware Advanced Institute for Unreality Studies, the Blockor Memorial Art and Artifice Speculum, where I worked as a work-study student attendant, hosted a special exhibition entitled “Space Astonishes!” — an exploration by several musicians and visual artists of the aesthetic category of the sublime.
An important woman in my life once told me that “minor distinctions make the man” — a token aphorism whereby she justified her ceaseless vituperation of others, often me, for transgressing upon “Good Style” so criminally as to put prepositions at the ends of sentences (something up with which she simply could not put). “Fitzgerald said that,” she said, after saying it herself two or three times. “He always had his suits tailored at Brooks Brothers, you know.”
A little background: I received my Master’s at the Delaware Advanced Institute for Unreality Studies, located in Rasenna, Delaware, a semi-sylvan little town with a budding urban district. Rasenna was founded in 1809 as a pit-stop on the Great Maple Line from Montreal to Washington D.C., before the National Highway Act shifted commercial routes west 10 miles, effectively asphyxiating the town’s thru-traffic economy, leaving it a fertile wound in which academic gangrene was guaranteed to sprout. The tranquil environment and gasping labor market made it the perfect site to found a small college. So in 1945, Dr. Martin Graf successfully established DAIUS, moving himself and his peers in the “Black Forest” circle from the Freie Universitat of Berlin to a sleepy little pocket of Delaware.
My rental bike was stolen last week from the knoll between Fahey-McLane and frat row. Let me say, if you’re the mongrel who stole it and you’re reading this, I wish you no bodily harm. I would rather you grow up to perfectly resemble a parent you despise, or a person whose presence will remain addicting to you for the rest of your life breaks your heart, or you realize on an early deathbed that you never had a proud moment that came from within.
Welcome to the third article in a series of undercover expositions of Dartmouth’s undergraduate culture, generously supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. If you’ve been paying attention on the journey thus far instead of losing all your waking hours to GameCubes and Go-Gurt, you’ll recall that I confessed two weeks ago that for the past three years, I, Aaron Pellowski ’15 (real name J. Deirdre Horowitz, RISD ’06, DAIUS ’10) have systematically hoodwinked you all into believing I was yet another of the hyper-privileged bovines in Barbour jackets and Nantucket reds that call this campus home. After this year is up, I will return to my loft apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where I will likely dabble in fingerpainting, codeine and Baha’i. But mostly I will be working on my memoir, which like my other articles, will be a sparkling and trenchant polemic about why I’m better than everyone and how everything about Dartmouth is bad. Of course, I will take no personal responsibility at all for my own choices and conduct.
“Son of a Gun” is a Dartmouth drinking song that’s managed to survive into the 21st century through the repertoires of a cappella groups and oddball enthusiasts. It’s also a favorite of mine, primarily because it’s basically a song about beer, which, along with my girlfriend and “Seinfeld,” constitute the only three things that give my wretched life any meaning. “Son of a Gun” is a joyful panegyric on fun and festivity — “Let every honest fellooooow / Drink his glass of hearty cheeeeeer! / For I’m a student of old Dartmouth and a son of a gun for beer!”
“If Jesus came back and saw what was going on in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.” — “Hannah and Her Sisters” (1986)