OP-EDS

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June 2, 2005

What Phoebe would write if she weren't leaving

I've been writing What Would Phoebe Do? since my first year, and I think this one here will be the last, unless my post-college career ends up being Freelance Maroon Columnist, in which case I'll see you all in September. That said, rather than wrapping up, I'm going to provide a glimpse into all the would-be columns I may have in store:

A defense of political correctness: After the Summers fiasco, and in general, really, everyone's in a tizzy over what Weekly Standard writer David Gelernter summed up with these words: "College students today are (spiritually speaking) the driest timber I have ever come across. Mostly they know little or nothing about religion; little or nothing about Americanism. Mostly no one ever speaks to them about truth and beauty, or nobility or honor or greatness. They are empty—spiritually bone dry—because no one has ever bothered to give them anything spiritual that is worth having. Platitudes about diversity and tolerance and multiculturalism are thin gruel for intellectually growing young people." Eh. Political correctness has given us tolerant conservatives. It has introduced today's conservative students to queer theory. It's done some harm, but it's done some good as well. It gets a bad rap, and should be

I Never: I've never done various commonplace things, and if you don't know me, you might not know that I have never: eaten cream cheese, except as an ingredient of some other food; driven a car; worked out at Ratner; and so on. This would have made for a good "What Wouldn't Phoebe Do?" column.

Phantom B.A. Syndrome: Seniors, do you ever find yourself at the library and realize you have no work—that you've come to write a B.A. you suddenly remember you've already finished? This happens to me and has happened to some friends of mine as well. It's a fascinating phenomenon that ought to be explored more thoroughly.

Chicago-as-NYC: A guide to spending a day in Chicago during which you never once suspect that you're in Chicago, let alone the Midwest. I mean this with no disrespect to the Midwest, but sometimes I get homesick. Such a day involves a careful avoidance of Michigan Avenue, but with stops at New York-ish places like the café in the Bloomingdales Home Store, Fox and Obel, Barneys, Calypso, Camper, and other Oak Street boutiques, plus a few stops at chains that are also found in NYC (Starbucks, American Apparel, Banana Republic). Other possible Chicago day tours include the free day downtown (involves jogging downtown, dining on samples at Fox and Obel and Whole Foods, and visiting whichever museum's free that day), "the Hyde Park as time warp" (visits to Classics Café and Valois), and the "Tsk Tsk Hyde Park's So Gentrified These Days tour", with stops at the new Borders, Starbucks, Quiznos, and the campus bookstore which does, I believe, now sell insigniaed flip-flops.

Library Etiquette: Nose-picking, nail-clipping, excessive staring and pacing, people who shush you only to carry on conversations once their own friends arrive. You name it, it's happening in a reading room near you. But aside from all the negatives, there's also the silent community of wherever you study at the library—the people you see on campus or downtown and think, "Do I know you?" because you've been across a table from them for years but have never spoken, the characters you and friends you study with develop code names for.

I'll miss all of this.