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Senior Roast - 2013

Article Index

Tutor Steven Cortright Roasts the Class of 2013

Old Tutor’s Book of Integral Brats

(based on T. S. Eliot, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats [1939])

Select parts 1, 2, or 3 from the list on the right. If you desire a closer scrutiny of the script, you may select the CC (closed captions) option on the video player or just scroll through the text window below.

Part 1

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The Wastrels

(Cf. T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland [1922] . . . only, don't cf. too hard!)

April is the cruelest month, screwing
Essays out of sere minds, mixing
Scriven'ry with despair, racking
Dull wits with Spring pain.
Jan Term did us harm, covering
Dearth in forgetful vice, needing
But little talk with snide tutors.
Fall Term ensnared us: coming over the Berkeley Hills
On a golden eve, rapt; we tripp'd down the colonnade,
And stepp'd out in twilight, in the Fratres' Garden,
And wolfed dolmas, and talked by the hour.
Mach' gar kein Gedicht; bin Aristotelisch; gut Scheiß!
And when we were Freshmen, straying through our ΤΟΥΣ ΒΟΥΣ,
That Riley, he set me down with a chart,
And I was frightened. He said, Alex?
Alex? which Alex are you? And so it went.
In seminar, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, then go sleep in Doval's class.

Who are the psychai that fledge, what are the spirits that thrive
Upon such toney rubbish? Son of Hamm,
You cannot say, for you—as they—know only
A heap of stale mathémata, where Language waits,
And electives give no respite, Seminar no relief,
And the new Math no hint of Euclid. Only . . .May . . . May . . .



Old Tutor's Book of

Integral Brats

(Cf. T. S. Eliot, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats [1939])


The Blaming of Brats

(Old Possum's Book, "The Naming of Cats)

The Blaming of Brats is an intricate matter,
It's more than just one of your Mayfesty games;
A Freshman throws mud for the sake of the splatter
But a Tutor inculpates—with THREE DIFFERENT BLAMES.
First of all, there's the blame of a failure in breeding,
Such as "Slate-ness," "Brad-pshaw," or "A-lexia," names—
That last means, of course, "chronic failure of reading"—
But all unremarkable, work-a-day Blames.
There's a nastier Blame that goes straight for the jugular,
Apt to embarrass 'em, rich in ill-fame:
Such as "Mendoza-tricious" or "Gotti-morphologous,"
Still—unremarkable, work-a-day Blame.
But I tell you, each Brat needs a Blame indefeasible,
Blame irrepeatable—more rarified,
Else how shall the Tutor remain unappeasable,
Vanquish detractors, or wax all-way snide?
Of Blames of this kind Tutors all know the typoi:
Cozzettosmirk, Kriscross, or DiffidentLee;
Again, Rey-no way!-nosis, or Ianalogoi,
Blames that suit just one Brat down to the 't.'
But above and beyond there's still one Blame left over,
And that is the Blame that you never will guess;
The Blame that no Tutor's research can uncover—
But the BRAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a Brat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
Her mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the fault, of the fault, of the fault of her Blame:
Her ineffable, eff-ing
Eff-ing ineffable
Deep and immutable, Integral Blame.


The Spry Gumbie-Brat

(Old Possum's Book, "The Old Gumbie Cat") 

I have a Gumbie-Brat in mind, her name is Sarah-bakes-a-lot;
Her carriage is upright in kind; her record is without a blot.
All class she smiles upon her chair or at the door or at the bench;
She smiles and smiles and smiles and smiles—and that's what
makes a Gumbie-wench! 

But when the lab's hustle and bustle is done,
Then the Gumbie Brat's work is but hardly begun.
And when all her classmates are off to get lunch,
She gathers the fruitflies in one buzzing bunch.
For she's dissatisfied with their bloomin' confusion,
And wants to inculcate some ordered collusion:
So when she has got them in martial formation,
She makes them count off, one-by-one, in rotation.

I have a Gumbie-Brat in mind, her name is Sarah-bakes-a-lot;
Her equal would be hard to find, she'll giggle at nice bon mot.
All class she smiles upon her chair or at the door or at the bench;
She smiles and smiles and smiles and smiles—and that's what
makes a Gumbie-wench!

And before the lab's hustle and bustle's begun,
Then the Gumbie's Brat's work is, at whiles, barely done.
As she finds that her classmates loathe order and quiet,
She's sure it's a function of un-sugary diet,
And believing that God's an ex nihilo baker,
She brings to the lab some sweet tarts or a cake 'er
Fat bearclaws (with raisins) or tiramisu—
For by Gumbie-Brat standards mere doughnuts won't do.

I have a Gumbie-Brat in mind, her name is Sarah-bakes-a-lot;
The demo-bench she likes to shine, and cleanse it from graffiti-spots.
All class she smiles upon her chair or at the door or at the bench;
She smiles and smiles and smiles and smiles—and that's what
makes a Gumbie-wench!

So for spry Gumbie Brats let us now give three cheers—
On whom well-ordered Programs depend, it appears.

A. Gotti's Last Stand

(Old Possum's Book, "Growltiger's Last Stand")

A. Gotti was a Bravo Brat, who liked his livin' large:
In fact, his baser appetites were normally in charge.
And up and down the Program, he magnified his feats,
Rejoicing in his title of "The King of 'Incompletes'."

His manner and appearance were wrought by Fate to please:
His gaze direct and steady, his countenance at ease;
No grace to him seem'd missing, no shadow cross'd his light,
Except, as Tutors muttered, "Goddam Gotti just won't WRITE!"

The Freshmen of the Cobeen race knew something of his fame,
And Soph'mores sweating Riley used to mouth—in class!—his
While bent over their Newton, the Juniors passed a look:
"If Gotti gets away with this, we'll all be off the hook!"

Now in the limpid Spring Term, bright, all nature seemed at play,
But duteous Seniors wrote all night, to keep Jim Smith at bay;
And while his wretched classmates squeez'd out their tortur'd
The Tutors swore this solemn oath: A. Gotti must compose!

Thus from the Tutors' High Command, mandatum stern went out:
Addressed to "Jim, Our trusty Smith: 'Re-forge this laggard
'Inform him that no effort else can win him our release,
'Except an exposition, full, of Tolstoy's War and Peace!'"

Thick darkness closed 'round Gotti: How shalt dire Fate forfend?
Until, reviving strangely: "I'll write it this weekend!"
He gripped his grandpa's pencil (unused before that hour),
And willed that from his fertile brain some thought should come
to flow'r.

And lo! his fingers twitching, the pencil moved apace,
Across the page scratch-scritching—alight was Gotti's face!
And there, emblazoned on the page, A. Gotti's Essay stood,
Proclaiming "War is bad" and then thereafter "Peace is good."

When news of Gotti's triumph fell upon the Juniors' ears,
Their groans of disappointment mingled with the Tutors'
While Gotti modestly observed to those whose hands he shook,
"I might have done much better if I'd only read the book!"