Bereavement can be rather grave in certain circumstances, and the loss of decorum- the circumstance I address this very instant- has its sufficient fill of seriousness. It has come to my attention that the motto for Princeton has become detached from the traditional “Dei Sub Numine Viget” on which we Tigers have long prided ourselves. Instead, the life of the Princeton intellectual is spurred into academic battle with a simple, war-drummed statement: “rape and pillage.” Princetonians are often seen leaving classrooms in East Pyne by rapaciously sticking their pens and pencils in their pockets (usually the right), thrusting their hips in the air as if they are killing something horrible with their pelvises, and wiping the oxygen clean…or dirty, as the case may be.
This is not some Fraternity rushing ritual, although this behavioral response is seen more often in males than in females. Rather, Princetonians fling vulgar verbs around just like they shake their Abercrombie-belted hips (loosely, that is) because of an epidemic that is growing noticeably. People now “rape” tests instead of “acing” them. They “get nailed” instead of “flunking.” Or in the occasional verbal faux pas (usually unintentional), a person will “get raped” by an examination in PHY 535 Condensed Matter/Many-Body Physics (a course with obvious stress on sexual insinuations); however, the correct nomenclature is, in fact, “getting nailed.” (Pray continue.)
You think I jest, but I do not. You think I mock, but this would be a terribly false assertion and an insufferable untruth. If you suspect I am entertained for hours on end by the use of the vernacular and by linguistics, you are correct, but another issue brings me to this altar of confrontation, this brothel of academia. This matter is ostensibly innocuous—merely dismissible by the students and faculty alike; however, this asinine penchant for academic rape breaks both moral and ethical boundaries surrounding the virtuous reasons for learning and seeking success. Our behavior is ethically wobbly and careless, like a flamboyant thespian rushing through fourth grade math.
Do we seek sordid pleasure in the mere act of success on a test? Do we find bestial satisfaction by having our way with an essay and then discarding it? This would not be the suggested approach to the proverbial love of learning. I have a slight astigmatism (no metaphor intended), but my dark, intellectual, Ralph Lauren frames allow me to discern academic lust in the hormones of many Princetonians. There seems to be a lack of commitment or rather reluctance to endure a relationship with a certain discipline of study. Oh, fathers of Princeton days of yore, keep me from this red-light district of academics that I abhor.
“To have” and “to hold” now only proceed the conjunction “and” and the infinitive “to rape” when students discuss their marriage to their desire for instant academic gratification. When studying Chomsky, the bourgeois Princetonian wants to write a paper to get the ‘A’ without discussing the subject further over Harold Bloom and Chai tea with Rachmoninoff playing in the background. We have compromised our love of learning for soulless, unimpassioned success from which true pleasure can never derive. Mere antinomianism can, in no circumstance, justify this problem: these academic rapists shake like hell, they scream like hell. According to many, they are hell.
The common Spanish vocabulary quizzes are at high risk of rape; they are advised to avoid dark alleys, arch ways (and, I suppose, arch sings) between academic hours. Many calls of sordid pleasure echo through McCosh, lick decibels of vibration against the windowpanes, resound declarations of triumph, and instill fear in the building. This rapture, although less common from students in (Insert Eating Club you’d like to insult), is growing in Prospect Gardens building like a fungus that is big, bad, and stanky. Although, say, the posh PHY 509 Relativistic Quantum Theory exam may be at a lower risk of rape, no test is immune; no test is safe. I tell the tests I counsel to walk with a friend at all times. The University has taken aims to curb the risk of academic rape with its new “35 %” policy; however, the “buddy system” for tests is of the essence.
This increased desire and need for success in the midst of an increasingly competitive professional world is not bad unless it is adulterated into the perversity of academic lust. We must be in it—this physical, mental, and emotional trial—for the sake of learning and love of knowledge. We must—figuratively and quite literally—caress our intellect, nurture our interests, and flirt with new areas of academics. Flings are valid, as are affairs, but a genuine affection must be there—even for one night. We do not need to remain married to a discipline; however, we must show true devotion to our craft—not cheap, callow, and elementary lust. We must have the moxie, the gall, the temerity, the audacity, the brazenness—or, as I like to say, chutzpah—to overcome this squalor. Academic lust, I promulgate with authority, is something to which I will never genuflect.
To it, no obeisance will fall from my posture nor will any paean ring from my vocal chords. Ink be my ammunition, words be my weapons.