Tonight is "Orgo Night" at Columbia University, a storied school tradition that takes place every semester during finals when the marching band performs stand-up comedy in the library in an attempt to entertain (and offend) everyone. Some Barnard students say Orgo Night is too sexist to be funny — and that this year, a nonsensical poster about Gaza strippers takes it too far.
As you can see from a transcript of last year's event, Orgo Night's organizers do their best to offend pretty much everyone, from Occupiers ("those grizzled urban lumberjacks have packed up and headed home, leaving behind nothing but vintage skinny jeans, crumpled cans of PBR, and ironically placed copies of the new Real Estate album") to themselves ("Marching bands, historically famous only for their enduring virginities..."). But some Barnard students told us that the proliferation of Barnard jokes hit a little too close to home.
"They usually tell a bunch of jokes to undermine Barnard students," said one Barnard junior who asked to remain anonymous. "Because Barnard is a women's college, there is a power dynamic on campus where Barnard girls are assumed to be 'sluts', stupid, not smart enough to go to Columbia, all lesbians, that kind of thing." She noted the controversy that ensued last spring when some Columbia students posted viciously misogynist comments online after Obama decided to speak at their sister college. "My general experience on campus has been things like, when I go to a dining hall at Columbia, Columbia students have asked me why I was there. It also means you have to prove yourself and outspeak men and Columbia students in Columbia classes because it is automatically assumed you are less intelligent than everyone else."
Some examples of Orgo Night Barnard jokes from last year include:
We in the Band are much more sympathetic to the Occupy Barnard movement, which has taken up such fine causes as OccupyTheKitchen, OccupyMyBedroom, and OccupyMakeMeASandwich, Bitch. In honor of fighting for worthy causes, the Band now forms a pastrami on rye and a blowjob and plays "More Than a Kneeling."
And this monologue that seems like it's trying to be satirical, maybe?
Recently it seems that America is in the midst of a MANcession. Yep, those women, with their fancy "bachelor's degrees," "master's degrees," "PhDs" and IUDs managed to steal jobs from hardworking men like this guy right here. It looks like the feminist crusade has finally made sexism obsolete. Radical C.U.N.T.S, eat your hearts out. Then eat each other out. Then eat your hearts out again.
But men shouldn't be taking their stay-at-home-dad roles lying down! In these changing times, those afflicted with external genitalia and a pesky Y chromosome will be forced to learn new skills, like how to change a diaper or suppress their gag reflex. Of course, there's only one place that can teach such expertise: Barnard College. Incoming Barnard men will quickly be enrolled in classes such as Why Foreplay Matters, She's Always Faking It, and Maybe You Should Just Cuddle. Bill Clinton, recently domesticated by his husband Hillary, will give a guest lecture at Conbrocation entitled, "My Balls: Learning to Live Without". A special all-guys theatre troupe will stage the first male rendition of "The Vagina Monologues". "My vagina is an outie, long and thick. My vagina is a source of life, a petrified sequoia in a mysterious cave. And sometimes when I rub it, it lactates." When those brave Barnard men head out into the world to become part-time elementary school substitutes and secretaries, they'll always be able to look back on their emasculating days at Alma Pater. So move over, Barnard women. Some new classmates will soon be entering your Vag.
This year, the marching band got in trouble for advertising the event with this poster (which makes no sense — if you're going to make a pun about Gaza strippers, at least be funny?):
After the administration told them to take the posters down, so they replaced them with the ones below, which are "kind of more offensive because they clearly are unapologetic," according to our Barnard tipster.
Most students clearly aren't offended by Orgo Night's sense of humor; there are female students in the band, too. But you can't blame Barnard women for being sick and tired of "make me a sandwich" jokes that stem from real and prevalent sexism on campus, so much so that, just last month, The Eye (the weekly features and arts magazine of The Columbia Daily Spectator) ran a cover story on the misogynist nature of the rivalry between Columbia and Barnard.
"Orgo night is rather famously sexist," said Kaitlin, a Barnard senior who attended Orgo Night her first two years but stopped going because she hated the Barnard jokes. "It isn't a Barnard bash fest, but Barnard bashing is a little too common for it to be funny."