Every weekend, WKND profiles a scholar, artist or otherwise important figure who is on Yale’s campus that week. Since we are all scholars, artists and important, and we are currently on Yale’s campus, we decided to turn our piercing journalistic eye upon the most interesting subjects of all: ourselves. In that spirit, you will find below four hard-hitting interviews with the greatest luminaries and thinkers at the News. Unfiltered, audacious and scintillating, here is WKND in their own words.
JOSHUA TRANEN ’18
Q: I understand you have a donkey at home in Ohio. What can you tell me about it?
A: This is a bad question, because I don’t feel beholden to that donkey at all.
Q: What is your worst fear?
A: That my writing won’t be good enough.
Q: If you could write for any publication routinely, what would it be and why?
A: I feel like everybody wants to write for the New Yorker.
Q: Where does your heart lead you? In which direction do you feel the winds of change blowing you?
A: I see myself spending a significant amount of time on research related to the art of HIV/AIDS and also pursuing essay and memoir writing as well.
Q: Why are you interested in the art of HIV/AIDS?
A: One of my moms basically spent the first 15 years of her career only treating AIDS patients. And as a gay man and the son of my mother, it’s always sort of loomed over my life. It’s a way of finding out more about who my parents are and who I am.
Q: Describe a quality in each of your moms that you admire.
A: So, I have two moms. Beth first. Beth has an unwavering commitment to her patients and her quality of life. Beth is a family practice doctor, and I’ve never seen anyone so fiercely compassionate when it comes to treating people. She’s treated every population you can think of — from Buddhist monks to people in maximum security prisons. June has a strong dedication to immigrant and refugee rights. She heads a nonprofit which works with a lot of refugee resettlement, and her commitment to trying to make the American dream a reality for people who are the objects of discrimination is very admirable.
Q: Describe your dream date with Guy Fieri.
A: I would ask him to pick his favorite dive to go to. And then I would ask him to only speak to me in seductive language employing puns on the food that we’re eating. Like, for example, if we were to go to a brisket joint. I’d want him to make a really good joke about my oven. (He laughs). Then I want him to tell me in deep, deep detail about his hair gelling routine. And then I’d like, want to invite him back to my hotel room, but we wouldn’t have sex. I’d want him to do his hair routine on me. And I would want to end the night by eating his favorite desert without silverware.
NOAH KIM ’18
Q: If you had to burn one unoccupied residential college to the ground, which one would it be? Please explain your answer.
A: I feel like this is a controversial question to be asking. I’ve never felt as if Saybrook served much of a function. But please, keep this between us.
Q: What’s your favorite place on campus to contemplate mortality?
A: There’s a particular table in the Branford courtyard, right outside the common room, at which I sit daily from the hours of 4 to 5 p.m., contemplating mortality over a dark roast. Why, you ask? It’s private, and I prefer my contemplation to be private as opposed to performative.
Q: Tell us about your first high school crush.
A: Well, let me tell you. There was this girl named Sophie who fronted a punk band that I’d never been a huge fan of, but whose aesthetic I admired. Every day, after school, she walked to the South Pasadena metro station, so as to take the train to Lincoln Heights. I had a car, and a license with which to drive it, so I would drive to the cafe adjacent to said metro station and drink a dark roast while I waited for her to arrive — upon which arrival the two of us would make small talk about her punk band, which I’d never been a huge fan of, but whose aesthetic I admired.
Q: What are you most thankful for at Yale?
A: Gee whiz. I suppose I need to mention one particular squad, that’s spelled s-k-w-a-u-d, every member of which I harbor an affection for. Also, the readily available dark roast in the dining halls, which wrecks my bowels, but for which I harbor an affection all the same.
Q: With which animal do you least identify?
A: Lizards have always struck me as rather useless. But that doesn’t answer your question, does it? I feel as if I’ve always had difficulty following through on assignments, as it were, so my proper opposite would be a carrier pigeon.
Q: Just to clarify, carrier pigeons are extinct.
A: Indeed. Extinction is our natural conclusion, is it not? When questioning my own mortality, I’ve come to the conclusion that death is final and infinite, although I would like to think otherwise. I welcome anyone who wishes to convince me to the contrary. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Please choose a professor to fight to the death.
A: I would never do harm to an intellectual.
JACK BARRY ’18
Q: You met your boyfriend through Weekend. Is this one of the great love stories of our generation, or THE GREATEST love story of our generation? Please provide evidence to support your claim.
A: The greatest. I’m a really sweet boyfriend and a wonderful gift-giver. For example, for Wayne’s birthday, I had the idea to give him a puzzle that was a photo of the two of us at the beach from the day that I asked him to be my boyfriend. Wayne is terrible at puzzles, and hates them very much. But on the off chance he fits two pieces together, his face lights up like a Christmas tree on the Fourth of July. I — well actually, my friends Emily and Caroline — lasercut a four-piece puzzle and screen-printed the image of us on it.
Also, I’m a considerate lover, and my pillow talk is comparable to none. He’s pretty good too.
Q: What is your greatest non-Wayne passion?
A: My greatest non-Wayne passion? (He sighs heavily). What else do I do with my time? Um … at one point in my life, I was really into stretching. I was able to do the splits for about a year, until one day somebody came up behind me, put their hands on my shoulders and pushed down. I heard a snapping noise in my groin region. I was walking like Ariana Grande in the “Side to Side” music video for a week.
Q: We heard from an anonymous source that you also make furniture. Do you consider this activity a hobby or a lifestyle?
A: First of all, the only object of furniture I’ve ever made is a chair. But I have made two of them. The first one I found by a dumpster behind the law school. Technically, I refurbished it. I disassembled the chair, stripped it of its upholstery, sanded, stained and sealed it, repaired the arms, reupholstered it with foam padding, cotton padding and a layer of fabric. I have yet to finish the piping on it. I started this project in October of 2014.
A: However, it is a hobby, as my predominant lifestyle is “party all night, drink all day, throw all of my problems away (into the wood scrap bin, to make a picture frame with).”
Q: On that note, can you estimate a percentage of Woads visits that you have any memory of?
A: A lot of them? Did you see my boyfriend at Woads last night? Me neither! But he was there.
KATIE MARTIN ’18
Q: What’s Canada like?
A: Cold, mostly. Also, much less racist than America. But still pretty racist.
Q: How do you pronounce the word ‘about’?
Q: What did you think of the movie “Arrival?” You’re a linguistics major, right?
A: I am a linguistics major. The rumors are true. I enjoyed the movie, except the part where Jeremy Renner stared directly into the camera and asked, “Want to make a baby?” Mostly, the linguistics was pretty accurate. The most inaccurate thing was that she lived in a nice house. That would never happen to a linguist.
Q: If Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye stared directly into your eyes and asked, “Want to make a baby?” how would you respond?
A: You’re just asking me this because I’m a woman. Sexism in the workplace! Ask me a real question about my dreams.
Q: Have you ever had a sex dream?
A: Yes, and also, go fuck yourself.
Q: Okay. What is your “run away and join the circus” fantasy?
A: I knit a lot, and I’m used to the cold, so I’d like to move to Iceland and raise sheep. This would never work, of course, because I find animals fundamentally disgusting. So I guess what I’d really like would be to move to Iceland, live at the top of a waterfall and watch other people raise sheep.
Q: What’s something you think people don’t talk enough about?
A: Well, I spent like an hour at lunch today yelling at my friends about how Silicon Valley is a bubble that’s going to burst and destroy America. I don’t want to be a YDN opinion columnist here, but there are teachers and nurses in this country that are making practically no money, and meanwhile terrible frat bros are being given $17 million in venture capital funding to create “Uber for laundry.” The vast majority of Silicon Valley is just rich people creating products for other rich people that are completely inaccessible and utterly useless to the rest of the world. And it’s creating a class of people who are effectively in servitude to the upper class, getting paid a pittance to be their TaskRabbits and Seamless delivery drivers. Anyway, stay tuned for my column on this. No doubt I’ll quote a lot of Aristotle.