The Cyrus Infection: Miley Crashes Math 21a


To quote the wise poet Jay-Z, "Somewhere in America, Miley Cyrus is still twerking." To be even more specific, somewhere in Harvard, Miley Cyrus is not only twerking but is also taking over any and all aspects of college life. Current "Disney-stars-gone-rogue" concentrators have been grappling with properly classifying and labeling this recent cultural trend and have attempted to chronicle its existence with titles like "The Miley Plague," "The Cyrus Infection," "The Apocalypse," and "The Life and Death of Hannah Montana." But haters cannot deny that from the incessant appearance of "We Can't Stop" on seemingly every final club's playlist (we all see your ploy to get girls to twerk) to Miley references in, dare we say, the classroom itself, we at Harvard really just can't stop.

Dining hall conversations overheard even as early as breakfast go something like this:

"My entire entryway watched Miley on 'SNL' last night."

"In Philosophy 3, it's not the id or the ego, but the Hannah or the Miley."

"No, you can't be Miley Cyrus for Halloween. I already bought my slutty teddy bear outfit."

It all culminated in this week's Math 21a midterm review session in Science Center B. Tired students milled about the room, looking for seats as preceptor Oliver R. Knill set up his presentation. The review session began, equations and formulas lit up the giant projector screen, and students settled in for the next 90 minutes.

At T-45 minutes, the booming sound of "Wrecking Ball" blasted throughout the lecture hall as Miley Cyrus—presented in her entirety by using the functions and tools of the calculus program "Mathematica"—swung dramatically on a spherical gray mass. Miley reappeared two more times in the session, sans clothing and sans explanation.

Sula B. Ndousse-Fetter '17, who observed the incident, wrote in an email, "The Miley Cyrus appearance was definitely unexpected. I know she's pretty big right now, but I'm not sure how I feel about seeing a parametrized 3D Miley Cyrus swinging over campus. I can say it lightened up the mood in the Math 21a review session though!"

In conclusion, it seems that what had previously been considered a transitory fad is now all too legitimate: MC no longer stands for Multivariable Calculus, but for Miley Cyrus.

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