Column: ‘The U’ view of NU, new and improved

Column: ‘The U’ view of NU, new and improved

The WB once aired a show titled “Dawson’s Creek.” The times were dark then, when James Van Der Beek and his massive head threatened to conquer the planet. This fact alone should disqualify them from ever doing anything again. Now, the WB people think they can grade our fine institution of learning? Sorry, guys, but you should have left it to the expert. By expert I’m referring to myself, of course.

As was detailed in last week’s issue of The News, The WB produced a DVD called “The U,” which grades popular universities in four regions of the country and, separately, the Ivy League schools. They dared to call our academics “mediocre” and said “you don’t have to be Harvard material to get in,” among other critiques and jabs.

I have this to say to those WB people: You can make fun of my family. You can make fun of my dog. You can even make fun of Jack Bauer from “24,” but you can’t make fun of Northeastern. Only I can do that.

Those folks at “Smallville” have to understand college-bound high school seniors around the country might see it and be unduly influenced by its nuance and fairness. This is unacceptable. It should be pure propaganda. Considering this column is a valued and essential part of this school’s social fabric, I am volunteering my services as Head Propagandist for the Ministry of Truth. Someone has to sell this university, and we certainly can’t rely on a network that produced “One Tree Hill” to do it effectively.

Compounding this drought of effective propaganda is our own school’s ineffectiveness. Last week, I was watching “Law and Order” – coach Jack McCoy and the men’s basketball squad were taking care of Virginia Commonwealth – when a Northeastern commercial came on. Let’s just say it was outdated. They showed the InfoCommons circa 1980 with those computers run by mice on spinning wheels. There wasn’t an iPod in sight. The horror! They might as well have had kids playing with pogs or listening to cassette tapes. All five people watching that game would not have been impressed by the advertisement.

The commercial I have in mind trumps this one and would run something like this: The first shot would show a squirrel merrily chewing on a nut. Then a deer would enter the frame to take a sip from a glittering creek with soft, classical music playing in the background. Then a bulldozer drives through crushing the cute animals. A second later a 15-story building shoots up from out of the ground as an American flag waves in the background. I would then cut to some monster trucks crushing residents’ cars and scantily-clad women passing out condoms and free alcohol in the Student Center. The commercial would end with Vince McMahon hitting Stone Cold Steve Austin with a metal chair.

As for the DVD, I would go in a different direction. It would be called “Beanpot Titles Are Overrated, Anyhow. What is a Beanpot, Anyway? Sounds Dumb.” In the world of this DVD, the NU shuffle is a dance move. Boston winters are only a few weeks long. The Cabot Cage is Cameron Indoor. The line for printouts at InfoCommons does not resemble the masses at St. Peter’s Square awaiting the new Pope. It’s a place where Lennie Briscoe is still alive, Grady Little never managed the Red Sox and Felicity never cut her hair. It’s a place worth lifelong debt.

I would refuse to include any student recommendations that weren’t glowing.

“NU puts the ‘U’ in fun,” one student would say.

“Co-op is awesome,” another would say. “I get to play Snood in a dank suburban office building and get paid for it.”

In grading the place, I would hand out A’s like a Harvard professor. For example, can a student watch “Judge Judy” on nine TV screens while eating at Stetson West? Yes, so that’s an A right there. Do you feel lonely in your dorm or on-campus apartment? Need some visitors? Well, golly gee, NU provides a plentiful supply of cute mice to keep you company. Sounds like A- work to me.

This DVD would take the viewer on a virtual tour of one of the West Village buildings and pretend it’s a freshmen dorm. Economy triples? Leave them to BU. The tour guide will flip through the summer course book, which is bigger than “War and Peace.” Then the guide leads the viewer down the “Expensive Brick Road” as students play Frisbee and sit Indian-style on patches of grass to discuss philosophy and laugh for the camera. After this, they all run to the beach and break out into a musical number. Oh, and Bobcat Goldthwaite is the tour guide.

In the world of marketing, there is no room for waffling. If you don’t have anything nice to say about Northeastern, then go to France. As a great American thinker – I’m talking about George W. Bush here – once said, “You are either with us or against us.” The only time you need to know what’s wrong with Northeastern is when you’ve already paid the bill.

– Stephen Sears can be reached at [email protected]

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