For those of you who think that walking to Usdan without a parka and boots is ‘braving’ the [pseudo] snowstorm, try spending your next couple days and nights in the wooden structure pictured above. Well, you don’t have to, because Will Wiebe 14′ has already taken on the task. If you happen to walk by Russell House in the next couple days, you might notice a conspicuous, wooden tent on the front lawn, and you might see Will Wiebe all cozied up inside. Wiebe built the tent for his sculpture class, but the project was not complete until yesterday afternoon when he moved in for the remainder of the week and the weekend.
This performative sculpture raises dialogue surrounding the ideas of land ownership, privilege, independence, and property ownership. The independence exercised in the execution of this piece—the fact that Wiebe built the tent himself and set it down without consulting the university—raises interesting questions about our relationship with physical space.
Ben Doernberg ’13, like a true WesKid, emphatically identified a controversial aspect of this project: how it violates the code of non-academic conduct, which states that “Symbolic structures (e.g., displays, statues, booths, banners, shanties, tents) must be approved by the dean of students according to standard procedures.” This controversy brings one to ask, are we no longer allowed to inhabit homes that we have built with our own hands? Can we not choose where we live? Do modern societal notions contradict basic notions of freedom and independence?
Today, while scouring the mighty Twitterverse for inane comments about Indiana, Illinois, or Ohio Wesleyans to pointlessly retweet, I came across WeirdWes, or @WesThings, a new account offering wry observations on everything that is strange, mundane, and both on campus. It seems to be lightly mocking the University account, which uses the #Wesleyan hashtag on the daily for updates like “Got milk? All-natural dairy products, farmed and distributed by two #Wesleyan alumni, are MOOving in.” So far, it’s off to a fine start, with 11 followers and less than half that many tweets:
“I looked at my bed and there were all these skin chips and little chips in it. It was pretty disgusting.”
Twenty-two years ago next month, a good-humored, mullet-haired Wesleyan student returned to his Nics dorm room late on a Saturday night and found his bed already occupied by a rotting, fleshy stranger. The student was Tim Abel ’93, a freshman from Wilmington, Delaware. The uninvited guest in question was a 2,500-year-old Egyptian mummy. And the bizarreincident, which Abel has happily proclaimed “the funniest prank ever,” has since solidified its place in the lore of early ’90s Wesleyan history, providing some semblance of levity during a turbulent academic year characterized by generally unprecedented campus unrest, including a firebombing, a week-long hunger strike, racist graffiti in Malcolm X House, and the fatal shooting of Nicholas Haddad ’92.
It’s also just a damn good story, with or without its retroactive Keep Wes Weird significance. It’s a story about President Chace and P-Safe and loyalty among campus pranksters, about MoCon and O’Rourke’s and frosh life and pretty much every Wesleyan institution of the ’90s, about how campus news spread before cell phones and Twitter and this here blog, about how some kid transformed literally overnight from a random freshman into a minor celebrity of sorts. The mummy incident received local presscoverage in 1990 (much to Abel’s delight), and it remains a subject of conversation and folklore among his friends and strangers two decades later.
I tracked down Abel over break (he’s now a facial plastic surgeon in Delaware) and ended up speaking to him at length about the mummy, the unnamed perpetrators, and just what made Wesleyan so batshit nuts in the early ’90s (and an alumnus perspective on how it has changed since). Scroll on for the full interview; click here for original 1990 news coverage of the so-called Middletown Mummy.
Earlier this week we put out a call for study abroad blogs, from all programs and locales, of all shapes and sizes. What we actually received was a lil bit different: a captivating glimpse into the daily world of “five Wesleyan student doing a domestic program over on Pearl Street, sort of behind Russell House.” They are Caitlin Palmer ’13, Tobias Butler ’13, Anna Swartz ’13, Emily Black ’13, and Hilary Rappaport ’13. But together, they are Sexty Five Pearl. WHATUPPPPPP.
The adventures are beyond stimulating: sometimes they install shower heads, sometimes they make artichoke dip, but always they blog about it, and why not? They even have a doorbell! We spoke with Sexty-Five correspondent Anna Swartz and sought to learn more about what makes Sexty Five Pearl so goddamn titillating and sexty . . .
So, Wesleyan: you may already be aware of our activist history. Interested in getting involved in the present?
Care about the security of our future? Concerned about the current state of affairs around the world? Want to be part of history in the making? We do! September 17th (this Saturday) marks the beginning of a global movement to occupy financial districts, Tahrir Square-style, to call for true democracy and symbolically protest corporate globalization! People will be coming together to set up camp and peacefully occupy the streets in cities around the world. Saturday morning we will be leaving as a group to partake in the historic event!
Come to the informational meeting, THURSDAY at 6PM @ 190 High St. (the UOC), if you think you may be interested in partaking. We will use the time to discuss logistics, talk about what is likely to happen, as well as what message we would like to convey as Wesleyan students. In addition, we will be brainstorming signage and other creative statements. The meeting will be potluck-style…bring food if you can, some will be provided. Come let us know what you think!
Email wesleyanwallstreet(hat)gmail(cat)com with questions and comments.
The moment we’ve all been waiting for is here. The new 2012 Princeton Review College Rankings are out! So wipe away those tears of joy, and actually take a look at the ratings. You’re probably wondering what we ranked as this year. Maybe #15 Reefer Madness and #11 Least Religious Students like we did in 2009? How about #13 Birkenstock-Wearing, Tree-Hugging, Clove-Smoking Vegetarians and #16 Least Religious Students like in 2010? At least #10 Best College Library and #19 Best College Theater like in 2011, right?
Wrong. We’re not reefer-mad, politically active liberal vegetarians with awesome acting skills in a luxurious library anymore. We’re not any one of those things. Wesleyan did not rank in the top 20 in any of these categories we performed so well in previously, but we do have a new honor. We can thank Middletown for this one, because Wesleyan is now…
Event organizer: “Fuck keeping Wes weird. As long as we keep it sexy, it’s peaches to me.”
Continuing a longstanding effort to Keep Wes Weird (and keep tour group moms thoroughly uncomfortable), students of all class years (and every underwear type) stripped down in Olin’s main floor at 12:15 this afternoon to the ______ [choose one: amusement/shock/disgust] of a group of spirited prefrosh. WHOO WESLEYAN CLOTHING OPTIONAL!!!!11
Below, some on-the-scene coverage of the event, with photos, umm—doctored to protect privacy. But first, I spoke with the organizer of Undies in Olin, who wishes to remain anonymous, about the inspiration, history, and existential meaning behind the event. Hir response in full:
Undies in Olin has been a longstanding tradition of much controversy and has lead to many a heated discussion. The event embodies topics ranging from gender roles to sexuality in Western society, but the big questions raised by the event are ‘What is our place in this world?’ Why are we here?’ These loftier questions were greatly the source of my inspiration in planning the event. I felt that letting this tradition die would amount to watching passively as culture slowly deteriorated in our modern world. Also, I like to see some skin every once in a while, you know? Like, there are some really sexy people at this school. And sexy in more ways than one. To me that’s what makes Wesleyan a great school. Fuck keeping Wes weird. As long as we keep it sexy, it’s peaches to me.