Friday, October 17, 2008


Something less divisive, as Homecoming is a time for the Dartmouth family to recognize that our bonds are stronger than our disagreements.

And it's really cool to watch.


DartBored said...

Less divisive? Sure. I bet most posters here were students during those three years between the first bonfire and the Trustees' decision to give away their right to run the College to the alumni.

thanh99 said...
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Anonymous said...

Those stock history articles in the D are the worst I've ever seen. It's like a game of telephone: take last year's article and make it less accurate. The first bonfire was not in 1888.

Anonymous said...

Anon: Did you watch the video clip? The first bonfire was not in 1888? Surely the Dartmouth College Fund is not putting out false information in its fund-raising propaganda.

Anonymous said...

There were bonfires before 1888. I did not watch the video clip. What does it say?

Anonymous said...

It says that Prometheus came to Hanover in 1888 and taught humankind how to make fire. Anyone claiming that manmade fires existed before then is, according to the video, a liar.

Zeus said...

Prometheus was watching the wrong video.

Anonymous said...
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Nathan '09 said...

Damn freshmen! Not a single one touched the fire, and just one rushed the field!!!

Man, it's going to be so hard to call the '13s "worst class ever." The '12 own that label a little too thoroughly.

Saddened '04 said...

Actually, the '11s have a hearty bid for "Worst Class Ever," as far more of them went along with the administration's cheesy staged field-rushing.

When I saw that travesty at last year's Homecoming, I was saddened to learn that after all these years, those lame jokes bandied about in Cambridge, Princeton, Providence and Morningside Heights were finally proven true: there really are sheep in Hanover (and Dartmouth students who sleep with them).

Anonymous said...

Saddened '04, you never saw a real field-rushing, what are you talking about?

saddened (19)04 said...

Saddened '04 - The "Worst Class Ever" will always be the Class of 1976 and everyone here knows why.

nontraditionalista said...

I don't; could it have anything to do (in your own saddened mind) with the advent of coeducation? I'm trying to understand how you go about categorizing any class as the Worst Ever.... do all the criteria revolve around failure to adhere to inane traditions of your your own mispent youth? Jus' wonderin'

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jamie hunt said...

Regarding the date of the first bonfire ...

This is the information Rauner has:

1888 First recorded bonfire after baseball team defeats Manchester, 3-2. The D wrote: “The convulsive joy of the underclassmen burst forth on the night of the first Manchester game in the form of a huge Campus (sic) fire. It disturbed the slumbers of a peaceful town, destroyed some property, made the boys feel like they were men and in fact did no one any good.”

1889 First official bonfire after the football team defeated Amherst, 34-0. The D wrote: “It was an honest victory and appropriately celebrated with an honest bonfire.”

If anyone has information about earlier bonfires, drop me a line and I'll make sure the record is corrected.

Jamie Hunt
Senior Writer
Office of Development Communications
Dartmouth College

Anonymous said...

Jamie: Welcome, and thank you for the background info.

Not many victories these days. Is a pre-game bonfire "honest"?

The college has a VP for Development and another VP for Communications. So where does this put the Office of Development Communications? Under the VP for Alumni Relations?

Anonymous said...

Communications regarding development (fundraising) and the development of communications (more generally) require separate offices, one on Main Street, and the other in an out-of-town office park.

Of course alumni relations has a third office, the only one on campus! We want alumni visitors to continue believing that it is a small college.

Funny that the video clip did not show the dozens of policemen needed to patrol the bonfire, or report on the many arrests, nowadays a regular part of the festivities.

Anonymous said...

"If anyone has information about earlier bonfires, drop me a line and I'll make sure the record is corrected."

Let's tell him we know about a bonfire in, say, 1875.

If he goes for it without asking too many questions, we can tell him the trustees made a contract with the alumni in 1891.

jamie hunt said...

"Funny that the video clip did not show the dozens of policemen needed to patrol the bonfire, or report on the many arrests, nowadays a regular part of the festivities."


Of course not. It showed a tradition that binds Dartmouth students and alumni across the generations. From time to time, things get out of hand and it's well that that College is prepared for it.

This isn't new. On Dartmouth Night 1930, John Henry Bartlett, Class of 1894 and sixty-fifth governor of New Hampshire, regaled alumni gathered for the occasion in Washington, D.C. with a twenty-verse poem recalling the College of his day. Two verses, in particular, reveal a mixture of nostalgia, alcohol, and bloodletting:

We grads recall with fond emotion
Our days and nights in that old town
While each may have a different notion
My biggest thrill was cap and gown.

The freshman beer that came from Jones
The hazing of the “bloody sophs,”
The mad cane rush with broken bones
The horning of the hard-boiled Profs.

When he instituted Dartmouth Night the year after Bartlett graduated, President Tucker sought to replace some of those old "traditions" Bartlett referred to with new ones and "bring the undergraduate body into sympathetic and intelligent contact with the alumni, the living and the dead.” He also recognized the "independent spirit" of Dartmouth undergraduates and sought not to quash it but to redirect it so that students would be more aware of their responsibilities to their school and society.

John said...

Can someone at Dartlog explain something to me here? We're coming down the stretch in a hard-fought Presidential campaign, and the Weekly Standard in its current issue has this to say about Dartmouth and the class associations relating to Sarah Palin:

Scheiber's pet specimen among what he calls "the more urbane members of the community" is a Dartmouth graduate who reads Civil War histories, self-published a book, and not only does but "savors" the New York Times crossword puzzle. This sort of résumé wouldn't get your niece an unpaid internship on L Street--but for a Rhodes Scholar lost in Alaska, the Dartmouth degree, the Civil War buffery, the Times crossword puzzle all take on huge significance. Unable to comprehend how Palin could have outpaced the Wasilla gentry, poor Scheiber clings for dear life to these sad fragments of class dignity.

Dartmouth doesn't come out all that well in relation to the Governor -- Jeffrey Hart take note, sounds like maybe one of your proteges is holed up in the 49th state doing crosswords. So what's Dartlog, the earliest, if not the pre-eminent campus conservative paper doing? It's hosting a tepid discussion of Dartmouth Night bonfires. I can't believe you people.

Anonymous said...

John Bruce can find a negative comment on the Ivy League in anything!

I think it says much more that Bruce, a Dartmouth grad, is reading the Weekly Sh*tbird. And that he links to an apology for Palin within it instead of the article he's actually commenting on. In which Nick Carney '63 makes Dartmouth look pretty good.

John said...

anonymous above, of course, is no credit to any of us, since s/he won't say who she is. But the whole deal on Carney in The New Republic is Carney was preoccupied with histories of the Civil War and World War II (he later contributed a self-published book to the genre) and savored the New York Times crossword puzzle. By the time he joined the city council, Carney had traveled to Asia, Australia, and Central America. He'd run the Anchorage office of Alaska's economic development agency and had served as the state's agriculture director. "I'd dealt with larger budgets by far than the city of Wasilla," he recently told me.

A small-time bureaucrat who apparently got trounced by a hockey mom? Somehow this makes Dartmouth look good?

annoyed said...

John Bruce - Please just go away. Honestly.

Anonymous said...

John W. Bruce III:

A positively-described* person who is trounced by one who is described as illegitimate and unethical is elevated in our eyes, not lowered.

The article barely comments on Dartmouth.

Does Dartmouth not have a reputation for sending round the girdled earth conscientious people who become involved in their communities? Since beating Carney, this Palin person has been elected governor and nominated for vice president. Do you really see some shame in losing to her, and see it reflect on Dartmouth?

If some supporter of Palin had been described as a Dartmouth alum, that would be worrisome.

*The article lumps Dartmouth with mentions of travel and relatively big-time bureaucratic experience simply to characterize the guy as sophisticated and Eastern instead of a provincial redneck.

John said...
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John said...

OK, 1:15, your post is interesting as an artifact in itself. It uses a stereotypical slur -- "redneck", and it equates by implication "sophisticated" and "eastern". It goes on to suggest that those who've been to Dartmouth aren't "rednecks", are "sophisticated" and "eastern".

The level of narcissism here is simply astonishing. I've seen the observation made more than once that our recent financial scandals ahve been produced largely by products of the Ivy League, either undergrads or the business and law schools. Not least among whom is Hank Paulson, he of the bullet head and pouty expression.

What I read here is the automatic assumption (though by people who, even if they feel Dartmouth makes them special, won't identify themselves) that they're entitled, as Paulson, Bernanke, et al also are, to scam their less "sophisticated" fellow citizens and not feel bad about it.

Normally, by the way, Dartlog announces the posting of a new TDR issue. The one with the Hart interview has been up for several days, but with no announcement here -- this makes it hard for folks to comment, and I would very much like to comment on the Hart interview. Is Dartlog too embarrassed to invite comments?

Anonymous said...

God I hope you're not astonished by the New Yorker's implication that Wasilla is west of Hanover and less sophisticated than New York ... only someone without a college education would be so culturally unaware.

You can't be saying Palin is "sophisticated" by any conventional definition. Then why bristle at the article's accurate suggestion that she is not? Doesn't she trade on her rural roots almost entirely? Didn't her son describe himself as a redneck before the RNC got to his Myspace page?

Anonymous said...

Did the Review report on Bob Barr's visit to campus?

John said...

Er, 3:24? It was The New Republic, not The New Yorker. Who's unsophisticated?

4:38, I think you may be on to something. As far as I can see, the folks at The Dartmouth Review these days see it as just a standard part of the Dartmouth/Ivy privilege thing: you get to Dartmouth, and of course you can be the next Dinesh D'Souza or Benjamin Wallace-Wells, without doing any noticeable work. Just kiss Hart's ass and he'll make those calls for you!

John said...

I checked based on 4:38's comment, and Barr was at Dartmouth on October 21. This wasn't mentioned on Dartlog - though Dartlog certainly covered candidates' appearances on campus earlier this year.

A commenter on that Barr blog says he/she hoped Barr talked to The Dartmouth Review! Well, I guess some of us hope so, too!

I had an e-mail exchange with Emily Esfahani-Smith some weeks ago which was disappointing, at least from my perspective. This sort of confirms further the impressions I've had.

DartBored said...

John said: "The level of narcissism here is simply astonishing."

Unexpected candor.

And what an education I'm receiving. Where can I send my tuition check?

tired said...

Dear Dartmouth Review: regarding your Homecoming article, please stop repeating the myth that "the young Winston Churchill" was the "companion" of the Earl of Dartmouth at the 1904 Dartmouth Night.

There was a person named Winston Churchill at that event. He was a New Hampshireman, the novelist, and he was running for the state legislature. He had never met the earl.

Dartmouth Night does not go back any further than 1895. The earlier bonfires (1888 and earlier) were just that, bonfires.

The "football" Bartlett was talking about was a lunchtime soccer in no way related to intercollegiate football or Memorial Field and simply creates a distraction in an article on Homecoming.

Thank you.

DartBored said...

I'm tuning out over here too, RWP. This is way too much history for me. I forgot to look. How is the football team doing this year?

My word verification is "gatio". Must be a typo.

Anonymous said...

"How is the football team doing this year?"

And why are alumni not up in arms over it as they have been in the past? They are, and have been, subdued.

Buddy said...

DartBored, it is harder than you think recruiting the best players to a school with a now-long-established reputation as a football loser.

From the D:

This illustrates the essential difference between Dartmouth football of years past and this year’s team. Although it may not have won many games, the 2007 Big Green was at least a threat, a competitive team that had a realistic chance of beating a team like Harvard, who finished second in the league last season.

So far this season, with the possible exception of the Penn game, Dartmouth football has not even realistically threatened any opponent.

The Big Green has been out-gained in nearly every major statistical category in every single game they have played thus far.

It’s a sure sign of a tough season when Dartmouth football leaves fans nostalgic about a campaign that culminated in a 3-7 record.

Even sadder is the fact that this season has been highlighted by great individual performances in almost every area of play.

John said...

Also remember that Jeffrey Hart, who at one time might have been expected to be on the side of a winning football program, has gone over to James Wright.

Anonymous said...

What winning football program. Yesterday the only victory was beating Columbia in the race for the cellar and undisputed ownership of the 0-fer crown. Freedman's legacy continues.

Anonymous said...

Dartmouth still has the highest win percentage in the league and the most titles won or shared, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

What is the RPF?

(Record post-Freedman)

Anonymous said...

Isn't RPF a bit opportunistic? I mean, the team went 44-15-1 from 1992 to 96 and won or shared two or three titles under Friedman, who was not known as a big supporter of athletics.

Then Wright comes in, expands athletic facilities, brings back Teevens, and the team doesn't do that well. Don't these things take time?

Anonymous said...

Don't these things take time?

Absolutely. That is why RPF is more interesting than RPW, which has not yet begun.

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