MANY OF America's richest men began as self-important obnoxious bastards, so I would never knock the lifestyle. All I'm saying is that there are too many self-absorbed people in my classes.
Many Harvard students are intrigued by classmates who insist on breaking into worthwhile discussion in order to excitedly point out the most unarguable, obvious aspects of the subject. Furthermore, there is general confusion on why a large group of Harvard undergraduates tend to reflect on their own accomplishments with the same reverence that is normally reserved for octogenarians remembering the "good old days."
Many scholars are also studying why members of this same group of students rarely are quiet long enough during any given hour of class discussion to hear any one else speak. Through this research, scientists uncovered the existence of a secret ritualistic club, "The Bullshitters of Harvard." After many years of freelancing, the individuals apparently decided to organize in order to accomplish their mutual objective of worldwide annoyance. I attended a recent meeting during which an alumnus returned to give a speech on techniques of Harvard section behavior.
"AND REMEMBER, it is important to loudly feign intellectual ecstasy at moments when the rest of the class is patiently hearing the teacher out. For instance, one should cry 'oh, wow' or 'hey, how neat' at least every 10 minutes."
"Furthermore, when someone other than yourself speaks you must act quickly to recapture the floor. Say anything--you can always argue whatever anyone says with qualifications such as, "but is that always true? Certainly I see what you are saying, but it's not true always, right?..."
"Of course, all rhetorical questions should be quickly responded to before the speaker has time to continue. For instance, if the teacher says '...one must wonder just what is the nature of art and its relationship to life?...' You must quickly jump to action with some obvious truism such as, 'Well, isn't art, in a way, an imitation of life? I mean in a sense isn't it true that in a symbolic sense we can see ourselves in art? You can continue in this vain until someone threatens you."
In conclusion, I just want to offer encouragement. If you can maintain the pace for an entire section--complete with smiling whenever the teacher ends a sentence--soon everyone in the class will think that you are sucking-up to the teacher for a good grade, and a general annoyance will be virtually ensured for all. Thank you."
He left the podium to a standing ovation. Although much can be inferred about their methods from section tapes and transcripts of B.S.O.H. meetings, until recently little was known about the actual motivation behind this peculiar lifestyle. It was not until the invention of the "Pulier Motivation Seeker" that extensive information could be accurately compiled.
NOW I just snap this little diddy onto the neck of potential offenders before the class begins, and presto: the motivation for each thing that they say appears over them in a little puffy bubble that comes complete with a line of circles leading to their head. Here is a small excerpt of the results from a recent class:
Section Leader. "As the professor said in lecture, we must once again remember what we determined last week..."
Bubble Text: Yea! A perfect time to say something with a thick affected enthusiasm that will reek of artifice! Tee Hee, I have no shame!
B.S.O.H member. (loudly interrupting) "WOW! That's really cool! But, hey, doesn't that somehow relate to what the professor said in lecture the other day...let me just check my extensive notes here (shuffles a tome of blank notebook paper cleverly disguised with a page of notes on top and bottom)...ah, yes, here it is...what this reminds me of is just how neat all the information seems to fit together! This is really a very cohesive course!"
Section Leader. "Uh, yes, thank you...and now, as I was saying...it is vital to consider just how much symbolic material can really be attributed to the author..."
Bubble Text: Perfect! Now I can allude to my illustrious past and impress everyone while still saying things obvious and irrelevant!
B.S.O.H member. (loudly interrupting) "Ah, yes, I see what you are saying, and in fact I have found in my experience in writing literature and plays, many of which have garnered me quite a slew of honors, that my symbolic insight--though often intended--sometimes evolves independent of me as an artist. In a way this relates to the experience of artistry as a whole, as I have found in my experience as a well-known director."
As regular students sit in classes and painfully grind their teeth in frustration, the B.S.O.H. has virtually taken over the humanities classes. Varied attempts have been made to "deprogram" B.S.O.H members in order to make classes safe again for education--everything from hefty fines for pseudo-intellectual statements to my personal favorite, decapitation. But nothing seems to work.
When it comes right down to it, it looks like the B.S.O.H may be here to stay. At Harvard, sadly, money talks and bullshit gets an `A'.