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Senior Roast - 2014

Article Index

Tutor Cortright Roasts the Class of 2014

Select parts 1 or 2 from the list on the right. If you desire a closer scrutiny of the script,  just scroll through the text window below the video.

Part 1

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To the

Integral Class of 2014

Certain Master Spirits
Anglophone Poetry
Traditional Melody
proffer these
Anatomies Versical;

In which their persons are offered up
as Cautionary Tales for the edification
of lowerclassmen.

Why is it that men strive for folly,
'Neath inauspices ne'er too jolly?
"Too brief our lives," we often say,
"To spend our days in idle play."
Yet gaze we must at things
At distant stars, divine begotten.
So in love these gifts we give thee,
All for naught,
And peace we bid thee.

 G. C., S. A. C., M. S. et alii
(Integral Class of 1975)


Shane Blunk . . .
who was Good . . . and suffered for it!


The chief defect of student Blunk
Was not that he would do a bunk,
On Paper Day, Hernandez-wise,
Or make Shimizu count his flies;
Nor readings did he Sumner-ize
'Till tutors groan'd and roll'd their eyes:
He always did just as he should;
He was intolerably good.

More: quite beyond the Program's bourne,
And friendly as a summer's morn,
All robed in his felicity,
He'd sell the rubes on SMC.
So unexampled ran his fame,
Administrators knew his name,
And wondered, musing inwardly,
"Could this kid be a threat to me!?"

Our hero, innocent of guile,
Continued to excel and smile,
As forces of unseemly bent,
Assembled with malign intent.
The crisis fell upon the day
That Joe Zepeda rose to say:
"This Blunk's a splinter in my eye;

The tutors' oligarchic three,
Known by their acronym, "IC,"
Assembled with assorted deans,
To meditate on ways and means.
Up spoke the craftiest of all,
The Bane of Juniors, Lex Doval:
"Zepeda lusts for SB's head;
I say: Exile the schmuck, instead."

"On plea that there's a school of note,
Uproot him to someplace remote,
Where Winter fastens on the land
With unrelenting, icy hand,
Where pancakes masquerade as crepes
And wine is made from CONCORD GRAPES . . .!
We'll show no mercy to this one:
Let's pack him off to Bennington!"

(With apologies to Hillaire Belloc, Bard; and with reference to
Cautionary Verses, "Henry King: Who chewed bits of String,
and was early cut off in Dreadful Agonies")


Jean-Marie Garcia . . .
who failed as fruit-fly procuress . . . and was scarred for life!


Garcia raised such sickly flies,
They marched in troops to paradise;
In ranks her blighted vials stood,
(Detroit boasts better neighborhoods)
Ten "mansions" almost fruit-fly-free,
And each one labeled "JMG;"
It seemed her presence in the room
Could seal the little creatures' Doom.

Or so she thought, as late one day,
She sought the Tutor out, to say:
"Beshrew my heart!"—such was her style—
"I've labored over ev'ry vial,
And still I cannot make out why
My 'whites' and 'wilds' live but to die;
O! Tell me: why is Heaven bent
On scutt'ling my experiment!"

The Tutor heaved a single sigh,
And gestured to a workbench nigh,
Where Mickey Sumner, dutif'ly
Addressed a superfluity
Of 'whites' and 'wilds'; his enterprise
Had left them breeding—well—like flies.
The Tutor murmured, "Jean-Marie,
They hump for him, but not for thee!"

Ah! Heavy in the air, they hung,
Dire words; Garcia's heart they wrung!
"Drosophi-prophylactic, me?"
So rang the knell, for Jean-Marie.
O Fate Unnatural! Unkind!
How dis-entuning to the mind!
To wonder, "Am I such a prude
As leaves a fly, 'Not in the mood'?"

(With apologies to Hillaire Belloc, Bard; and with reference to
Cautionary Verses, "Matilda, Who told Lies, and was Burned
to Death ")



Dolan Kay . . .
who was given to conflicting Muses . . . and undone by them!

Two Muses fell on Dolan Kay,
From Lennon and the Bard.
They battened on his brain one day,
And shook it good and hard!
Exclaiming to his inward heart:
"Take this! O mortal voice!
For 'tween us two thou wouldst not choose,
henceforth hast thou no choice!"

And thus, poor Dolan, dual-possessed,
Played out a blasted youth:
The sum of his sagacity,
Was one chord and half-truths!


If music be the food of love, play on
Ah! in Strawberry fields, forever!
Give me excess of it, that surfeiting
The appetite may sicken and so die,
As Maxwell's hammer falls upon its head!
That strain agen! It had a dying fall—
Like Rocky Raccoon, back into his room;
O! It came o'er my ear like the sweet sound
Of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,
That marches o'er a bank of violets,
Tramp'ling and stif'ling ardor. Enough, no more:
Hath not the beat now that it had before:
Y' know, it's three weeks—I'm goin' insane!
Y' know I'd give you ev'ry thing I've got
To possess a single mind . . .


From Dolan Kay's misfortune, learn:
Allot your leisure hours,
To song Zepeda wouldn't spurn,
And lyric that empow'rs,
A taste for all things excellent.
But on the other hand,
For dancing try KSMC
(it's on the FM band).

(With apologies to Hilaire Belloc, Bard; and with reference to
Cautionary Verses, "Franklin Hyde, Who caroused in the Dirt
and was corrected by His Uncle")



Omar Hernandez . . .
who enjoyed premature success . . . and reaped its consequence!

Hernandez no one could advise:
He didn't seem to realize
     He'd struck his colors, nearly.

Whichever tutor took in hand
To guide this wayward gentleman
     Was self-rewarded, merely.

No fact for Omar's close review
Could overcome "1-7-2"
     Which had debauched him, clearly.

For t'was his stellar L-SAT score
And marked him pre-inheritor
  Of satisfactions high;
But nemesis lurks in that "pre,"
Which signifies but "what may be,"
  If nothing goes awry.


Hernandez' confidence reposed
In triumphs that might be supposed
     Securely in his way;
Assuming that he'd paid his dues:
How if that same 1-7-2's
     His program GPA?

(With apologies to Hilaire Belloc, Bard; and with reference to
More Beasts for Worse Children, The Python")



Natalie Franzini . . .
who aspired to be a leader . . . and became a footnote!


The nicest girl the tutors knew
Was Natalie Franzini, who
Never lost her cool, or swore
Whilst demonstrating at the board;
Who never showed the signs of wrath,
Protested she was fond of math
(To which, however, she preferred
The parsing of Hellenic verbs);
And sought, because she thought it nice,
To visit every reading twice.
And as for finding paradigms
     Unappetizing, au contraire!
She often, of the tutors grace,
Would beg them, with a quite-straight face,
For extras, if they did not mind,
and of the most recondite kind.

In seminar she always tried
To take a viewpoint broad and wide,
And in her inventions be
The watchword of grave courtesy.

Her written work was always fine,
And in Don Rags she took the time
To thank her tutors in addition
For wise and helpful admonition.

She never did a thing 'twas rotten,
And in six months, was quite forgotten.

(With apologies to Hilaire Belloc, Bard; and with reference to
Cautionary Verses, "Charles Augustus Fortescue, Who always Did
What was Right, and so accumulated an Immense Fortune")



Shannon O'Leary . . .
who read voraciously . . . but spoke oracularly

The Tutor muses . . .

Ms. O'Leary, shedding light
In the seminar this night,
What prelucent thoughts or dreams
Inform thy startling enthymemes?

What deep matter, by what art,
Hath been fashion'd in thine heart,
That we, whose fortè is swift surmise,
Are all disarméd with surprise?

Does the impress of the text
Stir a vision in thy breast?
By what means shall we approach
To the argument you broach?

What the manner? which the words?
In what genus fall thy terms?
What the figure? How essay
To grasp it in a formal way?

Ms. O'Leary shedding heat,
By thine incandescent speech,
What prelucent thoughts or dreams
Inform thy startling enthymemes?

(With apologies to William Blake, Bard; and with reference
to "The Tyger")



Jacquelyn Antonini . . .
Who took up politics . . . and blasphemed!

Tutors, let's salute the Fates!
Antonini graduates!
Libertarian she be,
Foe to evr'y tyranny.
Tutors, all intolerant,
Of mere superficial cant,
And offended ev'ry week,
By some wretched Über-Geek,
Favor candor and forgive,
Everyone in whom it lives;
Pardon fallacies, conceits,
Lay high honors at their feet.
Tutors who, on this excuse,
Pardon Sumner (and his views),
Freely pardon Jackie, too—
Even though she's led to think
Honest Abe might be a fink!
And democracy's a stew
In which wretched tyrants brew.

Focus, Jackie, mildly vexed,
On the crucial, telling text;
With your unconstrainèd voice,
Pose the exegetic choice;
Settle on the thing to say,
Speak your true mind, come what may!

(With apologies to W. H. Auden, Bard; and with reference
"Ode on the Death of William Butler Yeats")


Part 2

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Mickey Sumner . . .
who set up as a regular guy . . . but became an Integral gang-banger!

I real cool. I
Be school. I

Fake Greek. I
No Geek. I

Translate. I
Draw      shape.
Up late. I

Drink wine. I
Feel fine. I

Stiff Ted. I
Spend bread. I

Talk deep. I
No sleep. I

Breed flies. I
Wise-guy. I

Watch bird. I

(With apologies to Gwendolyn Brooks, Bard; and with
reference to "We Real Cool")


Austin Bruer . . .
who was cursed with Intellectual Modesty . . .

And Austin Bruer's chief defect?
He had no agent intellect,
The passive one was all he got,
When souls were handed out by lot
(As Plato tells us in Book X,
Republic, at the bitter end).
Ah! bitter, too, was Austin's fate,
But edifying to relate.

Be it a Common Notion, or
A demonstration from Book 4,
Of Euclid's Elements, or yet
The formal theory of a set;
Or be it Descartes' cogito,
The farthest Austin's mind would go,
Was to the limit reached in dreams:
His affirmations went, "It seems."

Thus Austin, 'though a pleasant lad,
Was apt to drive his tutors mad;
And drove his classmates to despair,
At each attempt to locate where
Exactly his opinions lay
For, Austin really couldn't say:
The sum of his sagacity
Was ever one—"It seems to me."

So Austin's whole career was spent,
Until, at last, the Rumor went
Abroad that Austin's Essay might
At last bring Austin to indict
A categorical "Just so,"
As something everyone should know;
BECAUSE (and here all hope went weary)
"He's writing it on number theory."

The day of Austin's seminar
Brought auditors from near and far,
And members of a betting pool
(The largest ever seen at school).
A score of hearts stopped beating when
Zepeda asked, "Conclusion, then?"
And Austin's voice rang clear and clean:

(With apologies to Hilaire Belloc, Bard; and with reference to
Cautionary Verses, "Henry King: Who chewed bits of String,
and was early cut off in Dreadful Agonies")


Gabriela Michel . . .
who strove for comprehension . . . but drove at least one Sophomore to despair!

A unnamed sophomore reviews Gabby Michel's Essay:

O Gabby! Sage Gabby! Your chariot-race, is done.
Your horses crossed the finish line at page five-sixty-one.
Your prose is clear, it's all right here,
But what's the right conclusion?
It's just that ev'ry word I read increases my confusion.

But O Pain! Pain! Pain!
O The pounding in my head!
She's pursuing THE BIG QUESTION,
But I can't grasp what she's said!

O Gabby! Glib Gabby! I don't know what to do.
My chariot is in the shop—and all because of you.
Am I Atman or the Logos or the reigns in Logos' hand?
Or am I all three together . . . or just a horse's ass?

There's no Gain! Gain! Gain!
From this pounding in my head!
Could it be the Watchman's warning?
Did my ego bite my id?

Reflection yields no answers; its utterances are dim
(And Sigmund is no friend in this—look what it did to him!);
Aristotle's failed me, and neurosis seems my fate,
But if human souls crave questions, mine's been fed, at any rate!

(With apologies to Walt Whitman, Bard; and with reference to
"Oh Captain! My Captain!")


Lucas Nemeth . . .
who showed early promise . . . but succumbed to Romanticism!

At first, when Lucas Nemeth spoke a word,
We tutors at the table smiled on him:
He was a student richly self-assured,
Well-mannered, with a boyish, winning grin.

And he seemed always palpably prepared,
And never unappealing were his thoughts;
He was a force in Integral affairs,
And freshmen took to quoting his bon mots.

Yes, he seemed likely—likelier than most,
Seemed admirably suited to the case:
In fine, not a tutor but supposed,
That one day he might make, with us, his place.

So on we worked, and strove to win his mind,
Set lamps about his feat and blessed his head,
And Lucas Nemeth true to student-kind,
Set up a course romantical, instead!

He made himself the Werther of his year,
Accumulating Sorrows on the way,
Too soon, as yet, to dedicate a tear . . .
Perhaps he'll turn up with an MBA!

(With apologies to Edward Arlington Robinson, Bard;
and with reference to "Richard Cory")


Lucas Shimizu . . .
who took "always distinguish" to excess . . . and was hoist on his own petard!

Shimizu, from his early youth,
Found nice distinctions über-couth.
For instance, if his mother said,
"Come, Lucas! Time to go to bed!"
He thought this counter nowise cheap:
"Distinguo! Is it time to sleep?"
(Such sallies did not rile his mom—
They like this sort of thing in Guam!)
And if his father should intone,
"Hey! Lucas! Leave that cat alone!"
He'd answer back, sub-acidly,
"Have I the cat, or has she me?"

And so his school years passed apace,
Shimizu adding grace on grace,
And found to be precocious by
Dint of his gift for parsed replies.
Then on towards his 18th year,
His parents queried, "Lucas, dear,
Have any thoughts occurred of late
Re: whence you'd like to graduate?'"
Shimizu, quite decisively,
Responded, "Make it SMC—
A chop-text nest of argument—
It's Fate! It's Me! It's Heaven-sent!"

How differ'ntly things may turn out
Is illustrated by the rout
Shimizu suffered at the hand
Of Riley, tutor to that band,
Whose task, at best fantabulous,
Was reading Plato's Cratylus.
Whereto had Riley drawn a guide,
(Distinctions posed from every side)
With overlayed transparencies
And arrows grouped in two's and three's.

Shimizu, in his usual way,
Showed where further distinctions lay
And every time he drew one more
The tutor countered with a score,
Then beamed, at last, "Superbly done:
Shimizu blenched, and slunk away
(but lived to—er—distinguish himself another day).

(With apologies to Hilaire Belloc, Bard; and with reference to
Cautionary Verses, "Lord Lundy: Who was too Freely Moved to
Tears, and thereby ruined his Political Career")


Onna-Lisa Kyom . . .
who looked Eros in the face . . . and found a can of worms!

To be sung, after the fashion of Nat King Cole's "Mona Lisa" . . .

Onna-Lisa, Onna-Lisa, men have blamed you
For the way you deconstructed Kierkegaard!
Is it 'cause they're all seducers, they have blamed you,
And they fear to face Diana on her guard?

"For real" or just "for-other," Onna Lisa?
Or a work of sheer erotic irony?
There's a panting dialectic on your doorstep:
Will it lie there and just die there?

Is your essay for real, Onna Lisa?
Or should we file it under "Paglia, Camille"?

"For real" or just "for-other," Onna Lisa?
Or a work of sheer erotic irony?
There's a panting dialectic on your doorstep:
Will it lie there and just die there?

Is your essay for real, Onna Lisa?
Or should we file it under "Paglia, Camille"?

Onna-Lisa, Onna-Lisa!?

(With apologies to Ray Evans and Jay Livingston; and with reference to "Mona Lisa")


Somel Jammu . . .
who spoke only through her pen . . . and nibbed herself in the bud!

Somel selects her own Society—
Then—shuts the Door—
Except to Antonini—
Present no more –

Unmoved---she notes the arguments—pressing
At her low Gate—
Unmoved—tutors be kneeling
Upon her Mat.

I've known her—from an ample nation—
Choose One Mite—
Then—close the Valves of her attention—

And Write.

(With apologies to Emily Dickinson, Bard; and with
reference to "The Soul selects her own Society . . .")