Lindsay (dragonzuela) wrote,
Lindsay
dragonzuela

Stephen Colbert in Dartmouth Alumni Magazine

BEARSThe July/August issue of DAM arrived in the mail on Saturday, and upon seeing the cover, Cara, my housemate, exclaimed, "Stephen Colbert went to Dartmouth?" I explained that he did not really go to Dartmouth, but his fictional persona did.

As for the article, I'm looking forward to reading the letters to the editor in two months. Maybe if we're lucky he'll respond to it on his show. It was a bit strange, especially for a cover article. (Although a few years ago the cover article was a story that was a decade or two old, about an alum who killed his own children. Way to go, DAM.) The author of the article was not able to get any information about Colbert's fictional Dartmouth days from Colbert's office, so the whole article only reports on "memories" that alumni from that period have of him. There are several photoshopped pictures as well. He is implicated in the conservative shenanigans on campus during those four years, as well as being given credit for masterminding the recent attempted takeover of the Board of Trustees by conservative interests. He is portrayed as being lonely, awkward, and a poor student. The cover photo is nice enough that I assume they got it willingly from his office.

The article is sarcastically anti-conservative, so it's odd that is also seems to be anti-Colbert. Is this payback for Colbert's lack of cooperation in fleshing out the story of his time at Dartmouth? Is it trying to match his character, where Colbert would paint himself as a hero, but people who knew him would paint him as a coward and a failure? Or is it in response to the insult that he chose Dartmouth as the alma mater of his character? Any reference to Dartmouth in popular culture is pretty cool, but less so when it is used to represent ideals that most of the Dartmouth community does not believe in. Dartmouth may appear conservative to the outside world because so many students are so rich (although half of the student body is on financial aid, which matches need 100%); because it didn't admit women until the 70's, and those first women were met with a great deal of protest; and because of a very vocal conservative minority who publish The Dartmouth Review. To say that The Dartmouth Review is not well received by the student body would be to put it very politely. During my time there, they delivered The Review to every room in the dorms. Most students just used it to wipe their feet before they entered their rooms. One of my friends was an Undergraduate Advisor (UGA; they call them RAs at other schools), and during his training, one of the hypothetical scenarios they acted out involved a freshman deciding that she wanted to write for The Review, and how to protect her from ridicule from her floormates. There was a lot of anti-war sentiment while I was there, as Bush decided to go into Iraq. Dartmouth probably used to be a conservative institution, but it certainly isn't anymore.
Tags: politics, television
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