The Six Weirdest Things at Harvard

This douchebag went to Harvard.
This douchebag went to Harvard. // Creative Commons

Museum Display of Century-old Food

Hungry? If you can sate your hunger with antique Mexican food and vintage mushrooms, Harvard is the perfect place for you. Rough.

The Cantabs seem to have nothing better to do with their time and massive endowment than to collect and display century-old foodstuffs (Harvard alums, think twice about those donations). In spring of 2011, Harvard displayed approximately 200 interesting tools, documents, specimens, works of art, etc., in its  “Tangible Things” exhibit. Mark Twain’s microscope and Henry David Thoreau’s pencil are accompanied in this exhibit by an equally respectable 115-year-old tortilla and historically relevant mushrooms dug up from a manure pile circa 1905.

Wait.

The Mexican food junkie in me must admit that I enjoy the thought of historical tortillas. I guess if you want to sound smarter than all your friends, you could call the preserved tortilla “economic botany” and justify its existence in a botanical collection. But why waste perfectly respectable exhibition space displaying such a common modern day product? Subliminal messaging: Harvard wants you to go to Taco Bell — remember your Pepto Bismol, folks.

 

Flying Hamburgers

Speaking of food, well, Harvard wants to make the aliens fat.

On Oct. 27 in Sturbridge, Mass., five Cantabs set out with $1,000 and a dream — a dream to send the first burger into the stratosphere. They proceeded to send a hamburger from a local b.good franchise 30 kilometers off the ground and into the outer limits of the atmosphere.

A helium balloon and parachute lifted the hamburger, a GoPro Hero camera and a smart phone for tracking purposes. The camera recorded three hours of the hamburger’s journey until the helium balloon popped and the contraption fell back to Earth.

When the burger’s housing was retrieved from a tree, the greasy patty of pink slime and its dressings were nowhere to be found.

Aliens! Harvard is going to catalyze an obesity epidemic on another planet. At least the five ambitious Cantabs introduced a group of squirrels to their worst gastrointestinal enemy. Suffer, Alvin and company, suffer.

The video of the burger’s enthralling journey to the heavens can be found on YouTube under the name “Operation Skyfall: First Hamburger in Space.”

Hold up. One: Operation Skyfall? Code for, “I don’t get any. Ever.” Two: the hamburger did not enter interplanetary space, my friends. It didn’t even touch the mesosphere; it merely penetrated the Earth’s protective buffer. Oh well. It’s cute when you pretend you’re smart.

The fab five’s next goal? Sending a taco into space. Aliens, prepare to loosen your belts.

 

 

IncestFest

 

Can we just ruminate on the train wreck that is Harvard’s IncestFest.

Let loose, do your thang, Sister. Have a grand ole time. It’s college, live your life. But please, I beg of you, Kirkland House, come up with a more chic/more socially acceptable/less sucky/wittier name for your hook-up party.

Class, it’s time for a close reading of the name of Kirkland House’s (give it up Harvard, you’re not Hogwarts) exclusive sexy-time gathering. First, you will notice that the word “incest” has negative connotations — shocker. Let’s examine pop-culture parallels: Oedipus blinded himself after defiling his mother in Ancient Greece, and the family of Satan, Sin and Death commits some raunchy incestuous acts in Paradise Lost. Awesome, Kirkland, you’re on the right track already.

Let’s also address that the goal of IncestFest-goers is to hook up with as many people who live in their small, close-knit community of housemates. Just like that, Kirkland wins the award for worst idea in the history of ever — have fun living with your countless one-night stands for the rest of your time at Harvard!

 

Statue of John Harvard

Harvard tour guides proudly show off the college’s statue of John Harvard to every tour group of deluded, wide-eyed prefrosh that steps foot on campus. The statue — sculpted by Daniel Chester French in 1884 — features the inscription, “John Harvard, Founder, 1638.”

The average tour guide has fact-thirsty prospective students drinking from her hands by the time she says that the statue isn’t actually in the image of John Harvard (gasp) but is a likeness of a random Harvard student, that John Harvard didn’t actually found the college, and that the school was actually founded in 1636 — Holy rusted metal, Batman!

Error, does not compute. Why does Harvard boast about its lies? Clever. A statue that has absolutely no relevance to the school is a focal point of tours — I see what you’re doing there, Harvard, but it doesn’t add old-time charm to the school. It’s just stupid.

 

Thanksgiving Break

Harvard’s Thanksgiving break: Nov. 21-23.

 

The President’s Embarrassment

Even President Barack Obama is aware of how much he sounds like a pompous prick when he discloses his alma mater; saying “I graduated from Harvard” is like a death sentence. Want friends? Don’t tell them you went to Harvard. Want even more friends? Make fun of people who went/go to Harvard. Lots of fun. (I want friends.)

Obama has this friend-making formula on lock — at the White House Correspondents dinner, he poked fun at Mitt Romney, “We also both have degrees from Harvard. I have one. He has two. What a snob.” (Read: I’m less of a jerk than Romney because I spent less time at Harvard than he did.)

You go, Obama.

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