Bad News Bad News

We don’t feel like being positive this week. Here are some articles that pissed us off and made us sad about college.

First, in the Chronicle of Higher Education, James M. Lang discusses Cathy Small’s book about her year as an incognito undergraduate. The experience, she writes, was not so good. Apparently, thinking and talking about academic topics outside the classroom is no longer a part of being an undergraduate.

‘Real’ college culture … [was] centered on the small, ego-based networks of friends that defined one’s personal and social world. Academic and intellectual pursuits thus had a curiously distant relation to college life.”

Her experience, she explains, “led me to one of the most sobering insights I had as a professor-turned-student: how little intellectual life seemed to matter in college.”

Does this mean that Small wouldn’t like the new major we’re creating: post-colonial Ramen Noodle and video game theory…studies? Gender?

Anyway, today The New York Times decided to celebrate the hard-working fashionistas of today’s college campuses. This just in: girls (and apparently only girls) like to dress nicely! Woah! Oh my god! Stop the presses!

Seriously, this is a fake trend and it really pissed us off.

Whether students’ tastes run to an urbanely preppie composite of mannish shirts, slim skirts and blazers, flowered dresses and Ferragamo flats, or to a cutting-edge pastiche of long loose-fitting sweaters, calf-length skirts and platform booties, their absorption with fashion points to a sea change, suggesting that the style bar has been raised, reaching a level of sophistication all but unknown a mere decade ago.

And, get this — they use the Internet, of all things, to find out what’s hip! Who would have thought?

Then The Times quoted a bunch of uptight  girls saying how things are radically different and girls like to wear nice clothes now:

Trends are on Julie Soffen’s radar for sure, as attested by her creamy, quilted chain bag and the faux Burberry scarf that was looped luxuriantly around her neck. Ms. Soffen, 21, who was visiting a friend at Princeton University last week, had put rigorous thought into her turnout, which she may alternate on other days with, she said, “Ralph Lauren head to toe.”

“Some of us,” she added, “like to make an effort when we dress.”

Some of her contemporaries, slouching around campus that day in floppy shirts, tattered jeans or track pants incongruously paired with pricey accessories, had clearly not gotten that brief. Ms. Soffen tossed an acidic glance in their direction. “They think that if they rock it with a $3,000 purse, that makes it work,” she said. “But it doesn’t.”

But wait there’s more:

“People now put more thought into what they’re wearing,” said Amy Levin, 24, a recent graduate of Indiana University and editor of, an influential blog. “Getting ready for class is important. Students want to up their game. That means looking a little more serious, not just throwing on a graphic T-shirt and jeans.”

And this, from Columbia freshman Diarra White:

“I’m not a sweats-and-T-shirt kind of person,” said Ms. White, who was decked out for class last Wednesday in a cropped leather jacket, white cotton dress and the camel-colored knee-high boots that she alternates on other days with high-heeled pumps. “Even at the library, I’ll see people in heels. There’s a lot of energy in that.”

“Besides,” she added saucily, “you never know who you’re going to see in the library.”

Sorry ladies, but we don’t care what blog you’re reading — you all look like you bought the same outfit from Urban Outfitters. We really just don’t know what the fuss is all about.

And we don’t know what this has to do with Plastics, but it’s worth noting.

— Arielle and Jordan


2 Comments on “Bad News Bad News”

  1. […] sort of OK, Malone claims. Thanks to the Internet we have a million outlets to turn to when we’re sad about the real world. And maybe it’s also fine that we’ll never be as financially solvent as […]

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