What We Talk About When We Talk About Fuzzy Jackets
Well, summer is (kinda) here and the ‘Cacians have gone their separate ways. Some, to the opposite corner of New England than they go to school in. Others, to California or somewhere where it is hot and people actually give a shit about college football. Some, to those middle states whose capitals I only bothered to memorize if they were the same as the name of the state+apolis.
The last graduates are making their way across the stage. Someone will inevitably wear flip flips and trip–doesn’t matter. They already have a job in San Fran and in less than 5 years will be wiping their butt with money–c’est la ‘Cac.
For everyone: the newly depressed, the left behind, the fresh meat, the employed, the employed by a parent to do lawn chores, and the Intern Illuminati (Dupont Circle, get at me)–don’t stop reading! WE’RE ALIVE AND KICKING.
Although summer may seem like the end all be all, alumni will still be captaining a sinking DVD mail-order empire or giving soundbites to NPR. The slower tentacles of the NCAA will finally get around to lobbing awards at some of our shinier MVP’s, and there may be a world calamity that we’re dying to give our two-cents on–namely, RompBomp having to change their name yet again.
That being said, an empty campus does not a campus make. Prepare yourself for a rise in organic content (and yes, by organic, we mean that it was probably, at one point, in someone’s ass). The ‘Cac must go on, the world requires it!
Here’s some content to kick off our summer session. A few months ago a tweet @inthecac launched a dialogue about class and race among our writers. When I first came to the ‘Cac I pictured myself having all types of furtive dialogues about such issues, and also maybe Hemingway, over coffee in the dining hall with my peers (and also maybe Hemingway). Looking back, that was a naive assumption, but that’s just what I thought college would be. And, sometimes, that’s what college is–but instead of over a shitty cappuccino in Valentine it’s via FB while everyone is also reading Dear Girls Above Me.
So here’s the tweet that launched a thousand introspective remarks:
“people who look like white trash shouldn’t be allowed at this school #inthecac #nofuzzyjacketspls”
And here are our writers off-script (all names have been changed in order to protect the innocent):
Benjamin Franklin: coming from the south, at least….new england schools seem very…up there. and the idea of going to one of these schools is kind of fancy and it means you’re smart and it’s just like…a stereotype that i don’t agree with now that i’m here i think anyone who goes to a cac school and doesn’t learn that these schools are more than the stereotype shouldn’t be there or their parents should feel shitty about having a dumb kid
Thomas Jefferson: Not really seeing the racism bit I do agree that its something we need to absolutely avoid condoning, if not actively opposing
Benjamin Franklin: i suck at explaining this. it’s been rough at tufts talking about it lol so i’ve withdrawn from it all
John Hancock: i think it’s more classist Thomas Jefferson, you’re right
George Washington: true, but we might also want to be wary of racist issues popping up as well alongside of this
wasnt there some big scandal at williams a couple months back?
Benjamin Franklin: ^ yes
John Hancock: yeah that was a race issues
Benjamin Franklin: what happened?
John Hancock: Someone wrote the N word on a wall in the dorm
George Washington: racist writing in bathrooms or something during alumni weekend
John Hancock: but included in a threat I believe
Benjamin Franklin: oh. we had that with a zeta kid
umm…he approached a student who was practicing with a group that was like a form of fighting with asian roots and called him racist slurs
John Hancock: to me, it’s like these schools are so competitive to get into, admissions could have given your spot to someone just as smart that isn’t a racist dick
Benjamin Franklin: i don’t think a lot of students think about the seriousness or consequences of the words they say, specifically those that have racial … pasts
John Hancock: I forget who told me this anecdote, but someone from Bowdoin asked someone else ‘don’t you think it’s weird that there are public school kids here?’
Benjamin Franklin: wtf.
John Hancock: ”how will they do the work”
Thomas Jefferson: I think it is absolutely classist. I also think we run into a problem when we confuse tacky and low-income
John Hancock: true
but why has it been labeled as tacky in the first place?
Benjamin Franklin: because…
John Hancock: what if we all suddenly agreed that Sperries were tacky?
but we wouldn’t
James Madison: once again back to the heart of the issue. There are so many more issues that surround class and wealth
John Hancock: because they are kind of expensive and desirable and desirable people wear them
I agree with James Madison
James Madison: it is nothing against the cac or new england but their is a large concentration of wealth in the region.
John Hancock: yes
James Madison: And I have literally never felt rracial attacked
John Hancock: so how do we recognize the New Englandness of the ‘Cac without condoning the kind of ignorant language that this girl used?
Benjamin Franklin: ”because they are kind of expensive and desirable and desirable people wear them” this part. the people who afford the more expensive things and purchase them are the ones who essentially decide, through consumption, what is attractive to wear and what is tacky. clothing is just one of the things that may be attractive or tacky
John Hancock: exactly
that is the attitude. but with that said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being preppy.
Benjamin Franklin: cac students should be reminded that what they wear, for example, is reflective of their own tastes and personal style and the cac stereotype is not something to blend into just because it’s all around them.
John Hancock: but calling people’s fashion choices out and tying them to a phrase with negative racial and class undertones is in poor form. THAT SAID. You could argue that WASP could be equally venomous when used the wrong way.
James Madison: There is nothing wrong with dressing and presenting yourself in the way you were socicalized
John Hancock: to Benjamin Franklin
James Madison: but condemning someone for doing the same is problematic
Benjamin Franklin: wait
oh yes. yes i read it wrong the first time
James Madison: but no uncharacteristic of those on the otherside
John Hancock: If I grew up in inner city Chicago I would not start shopping at J Crew overnight if I didn’t shop there before, likewise if I was from California and dressed Bohemian, that’s what you’re saying, right James Madison?
Thomas Jefferson: well said James Madison
as dumb as it sounds i do think we have a responsibility at this blog to separate preppiness from elitism
Benjamin Franklin: it’s not dumb
Thomas Jefferson: or at least to not condone their connection
John Hancock: I agree. Are we doing a good job with that? How could we be better?
Thomas Jefferson: thats an awesome question to ask
James Madison: We are.
I think the blog is more about college culture than anything else.
Benjamin Franklin: we represent students at all the ‘cac schools, and thus take the responsibility to share how we do not associate our respective schools and “cac culture” with elitism. but it’s a hard thing to just advertise like that
Thomas Jefferson: it’s also tough because i feel like as a culture, we’re elitist because we’re elite
John Hancock: Roger Sherman and I talked about this for a while when we went out to lunch, so I know she has an opinion on this too.
Because we’re smart!
Thomas Jefferson: thaaaats it
separating the wealth from the knowledge from the power
Benjamin Franklin: yeah, and we were … chosen, essentially. small acceptance pool
Thomas Jefferson: and putting the knowledge and the power together
Benjamin Franklin: identifying that knowledge is not necessarily correlated with wealth at cac schools?
or the other way around. not sure. i was never good with causation/correlation stuff
John Hancock: Unfortunately, smart and educated are not the same if people don’t have the same access to good education early on…but admissions tries to take that into account
Thomas Jefferson: and also the main goal of people who aren’t necessarily wealthy coming in is often to get a good enough education to go on to be wealthy
like wealth is an ends
John Hancock: using the NESCAC as a means to social mobility
Thomas Jefferson: maybe not so much
John Hancock: not as our motto but it’s true
Benjamin Franklin: maybe indirectly
Thomas Jefferson: so let’s go back to John Hancock’s question
how do we separate nescac culture (some preppiness but other things as well) from elitism
or do we just need to make sure we don’t make that connection
Benjamin Franklin: unless someone points a finger at it, i don’t think we need to make that connection?
Thomas Jefferson: thats what im saying, we need to avoid it– the reason this whole thing started tonight is because someone literallly put inthecac and whitetrash next to each other
Benjamin Franklin: yes, i agree with you.
John Hancock: I think that the fact we are even having this conversation is the antidote to people who don’t engage with the diversity of the NESCAC and just make assumptions so… as long as we continue to emphasize great academic, athletic, and cultural accomplishments as the site of pride in the ‘Cac then that is what determines our eliteness and not a certain aesthetic or background