Web Exclusives: Tooke's Take
a PAW web exclusive column by Wes Tooke '98 (email: cwtooke@princeton.edu)

September 11, 2002:

Cleaning house (and mind)
Unrelated ideas related to PU

Something about the long summer break has made the prospect of constructing a coherent column seem impossible, so I'm instead going to expunge all the Princeton-related thoughts I've had over the last two months in one swift swoop.

1) Fortune 500 companies don't take a quarter as long a time to find a new CEO as the PAW took to find its next editor. Jane Martin announced that she was leaving her job in February, which I assumed meant the new person would be in place by the start of the summer — leaving him or her plenty of time to evaluate the magazine before the pressure of the regular production schedule. But by waiting until mid-August to make the decision, the new editor has little chance of being able to make any significant changes in her inaugural issues.

2) Individuals who go to Yale may be fine people; Yale University is run by the biggest pack of losers this side of Enron. Let's review this summer's scandal: Princeton admission official hears that Yale has posted a criminally insecure admission site, Princeton official stupidly logs onto criminally insecure Yale admission site, Princeton official tells Yale that it is running a criminally insecure site, Yale does nothing, Yale Daily News breaks "Princeton hacker" story, Yale is shocked, SHOCKED, to discover that Princeton has "hacked" into its private site using the advanced code breaking techniques of entering a social security number and birth date, Yale turns the case over to a federal prosecutor and demands a public apology.

Where to begin... If the Yale administrators weren't afraid of looking as dumb as they are, this situation could have been handled in a civilized way. The president of Yale acts like a gentleman and calls the president of Princeton, the president of Princeton apologizes, the Yale Daily News prints the apology, the president of Princeton yells at her admission department for being so stupid, the president of Yale yells at his admission department for being criminally incompetent, and life goes on. Minor story. Instead, a member of the Princeton admission department, who is by all accounts a dedicated employee, loses his job. In fact, the whole dumb situation, which has already been discussed ad nauseam on every Princeton e-mail list, needs to be properly buried. I therefore demand that the president of Yale come to the steps of Nassau Hall and read the following statement: "I am a clown. I wear big, floppy shoes and have a red nose. My football team resorts to dirty transfers in a vain attempt to reach respectability. The only place more ugly than New Haven is the bilge of a trash barge. I can't compete with Princeton's financial aid packages because my university is carrying too much deferred maintenance, so I'm therefore forced to resort to desperation tactics in order to increase my slipping yield. I am a clown."

3) I know that somewhere in this country there must be people who are thinking, "Gosh, another season of Ivy League football is right around the corner. I can't wait." I find the existence of these people to be very, very curious. Certainly, I understand that attending an Ivy League game can be very entertaining; I understand that ticket prices are low. It makes perfect sense to me that if I lived in Princeton, an afternoon at the new stadium might be a good place to spend time with my family or old friends. But to have the energy to crunch statistics or complain bitterly about a third-down call on an e-mail list... I worry about these people.

4) With the magazine under new leadership, the odds I'm getting sacked must be awfully high. One simply does not impinge one's bosses, Ivy League football, and God and Man at Yale in the same column. It just isn't done.

See you next time. Maybe.

You can reach Wes at cwtooke@princeton.edu