A New Cambridge Taxonomy

Diversity has triumphed! We Harvard students are in fact so diverse that we have actually evolved into several different species.

The situation demands an easy and effective system of classification. For the prefrosh who are visiting this weekend, a guide to Harvard's taxonomy is especially crucial. No explorer entering the virgin forest ever had to cope with such bewildering biodiversity.

I. Discipulus Felix--In common parlance, this species is sometimes known as the "a-capella-Science-Center-type." They spend their leisure time watching movies at the science center and attending a capella concerts where they laugh with true glee at the onstage antics. The DF can be easily identified by the sheer number of pieces of Harvard paraphernalia he or she owns. DFs wear Harvard sweatshirts and Harvard sweatpants over Harvard Boxers, carrying John Harvard mugs in their left hands with Harvard knapsacks slung over their right shoulders.

One of the greatest flaws of other taxonomic systems is that they consider pre-meds a group unto themselves. Most pre-meds are DF's. Specifically, they are the ones who carry the multi-colored clicker pens (an outgrowth of their general fastidiousness), and who say that they want to become doctors "to help people." They'll tell you that they don't mind the idea of socialized medicine, and they might even mean it.

II. Semidoctus Gloriosus--also known as the "Artfart" or "Pseudointellectual." For habitat, the artfart prefers the Advocate Building. WHRE, the Signet Society and Adams House, but the majority never get this far and are forced to subsist in dining halls and common rooms across campus. They are the only species that can refer to anything from rhyme scheme to melody as an "issue."


Though a vague ennui normally renders artfarts harmless, they will become fierce at any suggestion that their form of narrow scholarship is actually leisure. Most people would be hard pressed to find any practical value in studying "the representation of sexnality in 9th Century Monastic Poetry." But the artfart never misses an opportunity to mention how hard he or she is working, and what difficult, pressing work it is. Although most members of this species subscribe to near-socialistic liberalism, that doesn't stop them from leading a lifestyle prodigal enough to make Thorstein Veblen blush

III. Alpha Males--Another error of previous taxonomies has been to preserve the outmoded category of the "jock." The Alpha Male embodies most of the same characteristics: he is loud, blockheaded, ill-mannered, boorish, rude, undereducated and dipsomaniacal. Not all "jocks" (that is, recruited athletes) are Alpha Males, and though most Alpha Males are recruited athletes, this is not always the case. The term Alpha Male refers to the species' mating prerogative; despite his simian qualities, the Alpha Male is a woman magnet. In any case, the rest of the herd is consigned to the status of beta-male by the Alpha's curious power.

IV. Homo Querulosus--This species is also known as the Protester. A common misconception is that for each cause, there is a different species. But all protesters, from the Old Fogeys-to-be of AALARM to the myriad of screechy hyperactivists of the left are cut from the same cloth. They are blowfish inflated with self-righteousness--never upset but "shocked" and "outraged." A profoundly masochistic breed, they are never so gleeful as when they are aggrieved. Conversely, they are never so lost, dejected, and confused as when they get what they want. Rather than suffer from such a fate, the Protesters will increase their demands, or impute ulterior motives to those who have capitulated to them.

V. Christian Uplifter--A highly gregarious species, the Christian Uplifter in many ways resembles the DF. Yet it can easily be distinguished by its curious migratory patterns. Christian Uplifters often disappear over weekends and can sometimes be spotted as vans spirit them away to mysterious locales in Western Massachussets. In addition to their extroverted manner, they exhibit a peculiar compulsion to take up guitar and singing as a hobby. And of course, the Christian Uplifter species did not evolve, but was created.

V. Candidatus Perpetuus--This species has a chameleon-like power to blend in almost anywhere. These creatures have adapted a mandibular structure similar to that of the remora--they have lips able to get a tenacious grip on the rear-end of any authority figure in an instant. The Undergraduate Council is a favorite habitat of this species, as is any slow-moving committee with an impressive name. Members can be spotted preening resumes for days on end. After college, the Candidatus pupates for three years before emerging as a lawyer.

VI. The Gnome--As the name implies, the Gnome spends a great deal of time underground. Gnomes often burrow into the Science Center terminal room where they frantically send and receive E-mail and devise new ways to make smiley faces by typing punctuation marks. When Gnomes do come out of the Science Center, they don't stay in the light for long. They quickly burrow into their House Grills and TV Rooms, where they critique Star Trek the Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. Though any Gnome will happily tell you why these shows are inconsistent and sloppily conceived, a Gnome will never miss an episode.

VII. Crimeds--The only evidence of this mythical species is a nest on Plympton street. There have only been few reported sightings of Crimeds, mainly by other species who claim to have entered the nest. Though rumored to be the most highly adapted breed, you'll probably never meet one.

For the prefrosh, just a quick word about the flora. Perhaps its true that God went to Harvard, or maybe Harvard has just figured out a way to control the weather, but the sunkissed blossoms that bedeck the campus are hardly the norm. Most of the time, Cambridge is soaked by a bone-chilling wetness that makes London look like a tropical paradise. And don't let any Discipulus Felix from Crimson Key tell you any different.

Listen, prefrosh. Harvard isn't just diverse. It's an ecosystem unto itself.