Two weeks ago, the Record released a pseudo-satirical opinion piece, a bullet point list of what are being called “Hot takes from a white guy with an annoying mix of confidence and insecurity” written by Nate Munson-Palomba ’21. The list, touching on a wide range of Williams social issues, has caused quite a stir to say the least, because it isn’t perfectly clear which points are jokes and which are serious opinions of the author. Conversations about the piece have gone around on Facebook, Instagram, and in dining halls across Williams. The full list can be seen below:
● The athlete-nonner divide is driven by nonners (insecurity).
● “The Williams Swivel” says the most about Williams social life.
● Attractive white female athletes run this school.
● White guys should try to wear clothes when they’re going out that aren’t checkered button-downs, basketball jerseys or Hawaiian shirts.
● Endurance athletes are essentially nonners.
● The lack of bars has made social life better and more inclusive.
● CC will be the comeback story of 2022.
● Comedy is the clout of nonners.
● 66 is underrated.
● About half of Williams’ problems are intractable because of geography.
● You haven’t seen Williams until you’ve been exercising in Lower Lasell when the entire football team is there.
● The phantoms are having more fun a ton of the time.
● A refrigerator door could be a housing coordinator.
● Class defines Williams.
● Adams Falk’s I am Williams poster that says, “Don’t look back, something might be gaining on you” actually defines Williams.
● If you’re doing all your reading, most Div. II majors are as hard as Div. III; the only thing is almost nobody is doing that.
● OSL is the shadow government of Williams.
● The only enemy that will unite humanity is non-human.
● Rugby is the last frat.
● Male helmet sport athletes are smarter than everyone else thinks they are and less attractive than they think they are.
● One of the worst social places to be at Williams is a short, unattractive guy who likes sports but isn’t good at them.
● Juul culture is the most communitarian Williams gets.
● The only true protest act of Williams is to unenroll.
● There’s no better way to torpedo your social clout at Williams than to write a sendy op-ed.
The following week, the Record included a second list written in response, called “Confessions from a Black Lesbian with a powerful mix of Confidence and Security” written by Rachel Porter ’21. It is a roughly line-by-line response to the points made in the earlier article:
● The athlete-nonner divide is driven by athletes who like to shout at parties something along the lines of, “If you aren’t on one of these three sports teams, or I can’t sexually objectify you because of my toxic masculinity and my inability to see women as people, then get out of this space that was formerly used as a social meeting place for a variety of people because I am insecure, sexist and enjoy bigotry.”
● “The Williams Swivel” isn’t limited to Williams. It’s called having situational awareness.
● Women/Femme-identifying people of color do the most for this miserable school and look absolutely fierce while doing so. Whether or not they fit the confining and limiting criteria of “attractive” is irrelevant to me. Because I don’t value people solely based on their physical appearance.
● Haouxsey is overrated.
● Sometimes you have to wear your worst clothes to parties when there’s a good chance of mysterious filth being spilled on you at any moment.
● My brief foray into syndicated athleticism has led me to believe that running is one of the most intellectually and physically challenging sports to participate in. You know, because it actually requires concentration and tenacity. Weird.
● The lack of bars in this town is the reason why there is a dispensary down the street. Trends follow the money.
● The College’s many bureaucratic groups fight over the definition of inclusion every day. Because apparently not being complicit in structures of oppression isn’t an easy task.
● The Williams Record will be the comeback story of never.
● Shoutout to College Council for giving us the take the money and run option.
● Houcksey is overrated.
● The Williams Record is officially the Pastiche of Williams. (If you know, you know).
● Try to lock me up for being funny. I’ll film you. You better Mirandize me first.
● Black people are underrated. Period.
● We go to school in the middle of some mountains. Ahem.
● You haven’t seen Williams until it’s 3 a.m. at “X dorm close to Mission” and “INSERT BLANK HERE” team is ready to blast Mo Bamba and scream the N-word until they get tired (they don’t really emphasize cardio at this school).
● The world and even sad little Williams can be a fun place when you have friends that you aren’t forced to hang out with. There are many people at this college that value the happiness and the pleasure of building platonic relationships that aren’t solely transactional or based on doing some particular thing. Crazy right?
● Houckxsoeuy is overrated.
● But can a refrigerator door provide emotional and even physical labor to adult children? I don’t think so.
● The definition of inclusion might also lead you to a definition of intersectionality. Take note.
● There are a lot of things that define Williams. That’s why they have those cute little posters in Schow.
● The only thing almost no one is talking about is which major is harder than the other. Because there’s a good chance they’re doing their work.
● Hockeysee is overrated.
● The gay agenda is the shadow government of Williams.
● I respect people who believe in aliens. Takes a lot of courage to admit that.
● How do you quantify being attractive, and how do you quantify being smart? Can you be both, or is it one or the other? Will I get the answers on reddit?
● One of the worst social places to be at Williams is a tall “athletic” male that is decent at sports but can’t pursue them after college because he’s not actually that good. Road ends here pal (insecurity).
● Sometimes people read books to learn how to make the world a better place.
● Sometimes they don’t have the opportunity to read as many books as they want and they still make the world a better place.
● Hiouuxseauy is overrated.
● So is poorly disguised satire that merely acts as a way for certain people to say the strangely nefarious, coded thoughts in their head they are too afraid to say out loud. Yes it’s okay to not know everything, but if you can read and you have access to the internet, you should know that there is a powerful tool called an internet search engine. Yes, you can use it to find the definition of satire AND what constitutes as offensive.
● Yes, people deserve to have their own opinion, but know some people cannot be silenced when attempting to express theirs (security). Trivializing serious matters related to race, gender, class and sexuality can result in some pushback. Know that.
Both lists provide an interesting window into the kinds of discussions taking place at Williams College in 2019.
Alumni of all ages, how many of these “hot takes” were true in your days at Williams? If at all, to what degree have things changed?