Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Columbia Does Mad Libs

I went to a Halloween party that some students from the Columbia School of Journalism threw at a bar in the East Village on Saturday night. $15 to get in, and expensive drinks afterward. I think the proceeds went to SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists), who just gave Judy Miller an award. I figured as long as I was paying for the sheepskin her award was being printed on, I could have a few laughs at her expense, and at the expense of her arborphilic, crutch-wielding pal in the White House.

So I went as "Mad Libs." Sandwich-sign style, with the stories on the back and the form on the front, and I carried a Magic Marker. People got a little uncomfortable toward the end of the longer stories, until I decided to start holding the form out in front of me. A couple of the stories were Judy-centric, and she came out looking pretty bad.

It was an interesting experiment. You might say I have a halfway representative sample of the collective id of the j-school. You're sort of baring your soul when you write down the first thing that comes off the top of your head. Especially when you're shitfaced.

I had hoped for a little more vulgarity from these First Amendment freaks. But it was mostly innocuous 4th grade-style stuff, i.e. "nostril," "fantabulous," "juicy." Understandable, since people were watching them write.

The only students who brought the filth were women. A group of three in Sexy Firefighter outfits, and a group of two I met outside as I was smoking. These two finished the story in record time, probably 3 minutes, managing to go both High ("Paris Review" and "OPEC") and Low ("Fucked" and "Whore (Asshole)"), and mixing both in one entry (a French curse, "Connasse").

The first entry is "Libby's First Day in the Pen." I'll add a new one each day this week, including a Mad Lib based on Libby's infamous Aspen Letter. Stay tuned.


Yikes, here’s why some journalists get frustrated with bloggers—fuzzy reporting. All, not some, of the proceeds of the party went to Columbia Graduate School of Journalism’s SPJ branch. Columbia’s SPJ branch threw the party, but they also serve as our student government, so the money they make goes to class activities—speakers and such. So attendees weren’t directly paying for Judy Miller’s award.

I just thought I’d clarify after an anonymous comment. I wasn’t vilifying Columbia SPJ in the first place—everyone in the class knows that the SPJ folks lose sleep putting together great extracurricular projects for the rest of us. There is no “spare time” in which to do these things, and they still do it. But the general gist of that paragraph (“Waaaah, New York is expensive” and “An award for Judy Miller?”) stands.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo. You were pretty funny at that party, Madlib guy. Great costume. You should know, though, that the party wasn't held by "students from the Graduate School of Journalism" but on behalf of ALL the students at the school. SPJ is your student body. The parties, fundraisers, events they organize are for your benefit. Sure they made some money off the event (not a whole lot, either, since the drink price and cover charge went to the $5000 fee of renting the space on the Saturday night before Halloween), but all the money goes toward events and programs that benefit the students. It's your job to be skeptical... I get that, but please realize that the SPJ members are working their arses off to make this year great for the students. They don't get paid, and there are no incentives for being part of the student body. It's all probono and it's all for you.

6:55 AM  
Blogger disappearingink said...

Definitely didn't mean to dig at our SPJ--I know they lose plenty of sleep putting stuff together. Just getting a dig in at the national SPJ award for Miller. SPJ's work is fully appreciated!

$5000 for the space, wow.

3:03 PM  

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