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The Presidents of Harvard University Vol. 2 – The Next Hundred Years (Very Approximately)

October 20, 2009
America's most prestigious university always reminds its students to sound difficult words out.

America's most prestigious university always reminds its students to sound difficult words out.

In case you’re playing catch-up, you can check out the beginning of this glorious (and fact-free) page in history here in The First Hundred Years.

If you’ve been playing along since the beginning, please mark spot “N-45.” This is your bonus free space.

Without further preamble, Fancy Plans presents Vol. 2 in the remarkable history of Harvard’s presidents, taking you on an aplomb-laden journey through the “Pyrite Age” of Crimson history.

9. Edward Holyoke 1737-1769*
Holyoke brought in a new wave of old school corporal punishment during his unprecedented 33-year deathgrip on the top spot. Underclassmen began to fear for their lives as hazing was not only encouraged, but made mandatory. Many requested transfers to schools with less stringent hazing techniques, like Rutgers and UC-Santa Barbara.

Holyoke’s downfall and eventual lynching was the result of his insistence on bare-bottom paddling, which put Harvard in the sights of another crippling class action lawsuit. The court found in favor of the red-bottomed underclassmen (as it often does) and sentenced Holyoke to “death by angry locals.” “Affectionately” known as “Ed Banger.”
*Official cause of death listed as “waiting to inhale.”

10. Samuel Locke 1770-1773
Four years was all it took for Samuel Locke to leave nary a mark on this hallowed institution, having enacted no major (or minor) reforms, rule changes, raids on Yale or catastrophic scandals. Often attributed hazily with coining the phrases “Don’t rock the boat” and “No, thanks. I’ll just sit quietly here in the back until the board meeting is over, if that’s ok with everybody.” Affectionately known as “Current Occupant.”

11. Samuel Langdon 1774-1780
Langdon is recognized as the first Harvard president to fully take advantage of a dangerously underage Congress, having lobbied his way into its heart and parts beyond shortly after its formation in September of 1774. Once firmly ensconced in the legislative body of the U.S., Langdon took care to have himself and his university “grandfathered” in (but not in a sexual way, of course) before most of the Constitution and Bill of Rights was enacted or amended.

He secured several large donations from various congressional bills and was often seen trumpeting his success by dangling his funding in front of various Yalies and yelling, “That’s right, pretty boys! Who’s well-endowed now?” Known affectionately as “Shaft.”

12. Joseph Willard 1781-1804*
Willard spent 14 fruitless years trying to match the successes of his predecessor, Samuel “Shaft” Langdon, the strain of which caused him to shorten his life drastically through a series of suicide attempts. This fruitless strain was further compounded by Langdon not having the decency to die in office like so many presidents before him. 

Langdon would often show up late in the evening, drunk on his own success and a combination of grain alcohol and horehound extract. These late night visits often ended with Langdon passing out in the elderberry bushes and Willard hitting a non-vital organ with his musket loader. Affectionately known as “Not Well-Endowed at All, Are We JW? Hahahahahaha!!! *vomit*”
*Died in office in an office supply mishap involving a malfunctioning moveable press prototype and perfectly functioning muzzle loader.

13. Samuel Webber 1806-1810*
Although Webber was responsible for several additions to both the student housing and professorial quarters (most notably, a much larger billiards room for the president’s office to complement the 6-lane bowling alley), he is now mainly known for not being “that guy” many people are thinking of, including:

  • the dictionary guy (Webster)
  • the grill guy (Weber)
  • that little guy (Webster)
  • that weird scout rank (Webelos)
  • that composer guy (Andrew Lloyd)
  • that previous president (Willard)

Affectionately known as “Samuel Webster.”
*Died in office due to an obituary misprint in the local paper, which Webber spent several years fighting, often in a “still living” capacity.

14. John Thornton Kirkland 1810-1828
J.T., as he was affectionately known, led the Harvard Crimson to several sports titles, including  battlechess, coxswaining, motocross, skullboning, contract bridge, narwhal hunting, Yale frosh-knifing, strip badminton and quarters. His willingness to take a “hands on” approach to coaching led to unparalleled success and several parental lawsuits. “Coach Knight” (as he was affectionately known) gave the once pasty face of Harvard Athletics the black eye it needed to “toughen up” and “take it one game at a time.”

As the new-look athletics department drew heavy coverage from the local papers, “The Ragin’ Cajun'” (affectionately a.k.a.) insisted on handling every post-game interview and is credited with the invention of the non-sensical character string which is used to denote horrendous, paint-peeling obscenities. Here’s one of its earliest usages:

Captain Kirk, as he is affectionately known, responded to this journalist’s query of “Dost thou think your coxswaining crew is yearning for the rough caress of the playoffs?” with a string of profanities, the likes of which I will try to reproduce here:

JK: Did you watch the same %^&$ race I did?? Did you?? You need to have your %^&#@ing head examined and your #@#%ing eyes as well, you piece of pen-scratching $#$%! Ask something else! Any of you %^##suckers have something even partially %^^#$ing relevant to ask? Anyone! Jesus !$@#.

Affectionately known as “Thornton ‘Van’ Wilder.”

15. Josiah Quincy 1829-1845
Quincy became known for his outlandish behavior as head of Harvard, insisting on hours-long meals every evening consisting of several courses and accompanied by his hand-picked musicians, who would often wander off somewhere deep into the E chord for 20-30 minutes at a time. Though many were impressed with the breadth of his culinary tastes and the skilfulness of the musicians, others were “turned off” by the lack of restraint and endless jamming exhibited.

Quincy would often track down those who “lacked proper taste” and lecture them endlessly on the inspiration that results when big ideas meet virtuoso musicians. This was also accompanied by his talented and meandering musicians, whose improvisations often were hailed as “breathtaking” and “grandly masturbatorial.”

Sadly, Quincy’s theatrical ideas failed to carry on once he left Harvard and he gradually became a balding lead singer/drummer in a terrible soft-rocking pop ensemble that outlived its usefulness by several years. Affectionately known as either “King Crimson” or “The Broadway Lamb.”
*If only he had died in office…

-CLT

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9 comments

  1. I love my history like I love my women; very approximate and fact-free. That’s why I enjoy Neville, Brown, and even Clive fucking Cussler.

    Having done my Wiki-research I came to find that all of these presidents were also extremely connected to the church. The more I read, the more I realized that this was indeed bigger than all of us. I’ve also noted that both Langdon and Locke share names with fictional characters of a conspiratorial nature. Also Locke died of apoplexy…APOPLEXY!! Could all of this be coincidence? Maybe; but my gut is telling me that I’m getting far too much fiber in my diet lately. I’m actually frightened that if I search anymore, it will put me and my family at risk of something or other. Possibly apoplexy. Two quick questions before I let out a ‘banger’…..

    Where can I find some (w?)horehound extract?

    What is coxwaining and skullboning, and do they have an intramural league?


    • As a really half-assed way to deflect your wild conspiracy theories, I submit this following link to you, which comes highly recommended by a family member I no longer talk to:

      http://lasttrumpetnewsletter.org/1994/index.html

      Start in January, which gives us some much needed information on “The Unclean Spirit of NAFTA.” Continue immediately to November and right about the middle of the page, you’ll find out just how evil the Apollo 6 mission was. (Hint: there’s a lot of sixes involved.)

      Great comment, Scott. As for the horehound, ask Don Mills. Apparently it was quite popular back in his younger days.

      Skullboning and coxwaining are both fine Harvard traditions that combine the best elements of secretive societies and rowing teams into one indescribably fun 3-5 year stint in the local pen.


  2. CLT, how is it that you’ve never once published a “dumbed-down” post?

    Every time I come here I’m forced to pull out my Horatio-approved sunglasses and CSI Kit, wrap “Crime Scene Do Not Cross” tape around my computer screen, and inspect each and every word of your ingenious, wit-infused paragraphs for fear of missing a guffaw here or a chortle there.

    Then after about an hour or so, satisfied that I’ve gathered as much information as both my somewhat puerile-mind and medium-sized Ziploc baggie can handle, I stand, making sure to consistently lift with my knees and keep my gaze at “slightly above” ground-level.

    And just when you think my life can’t get any more exciting…it does.

    Slowly (like I’m talking molasses slow here), and oh so deliberately, I look up, carefully remove my anti-glare sun-blocking protective eyewear (what can I say, they were expensive), and say out loud to no one in particular-

    “I think we’re going to need…a bigger body bag.”

    Seriously, CLT, what do you have against posts consisting of random fat kids wearing “Fuck” t-shirts?


    • Bschooled,

      I appreciate the fact that you call these posts “not dumbed down” rather than “bloated” or “overlong.” That means a lot to me.

      You paint an incredible word picture (with words) of the intense scrutiny my posts are required to hold up to. Sometimes they fail (remember that one will all the unneeded info about wood?) and other times they succeed (all the rest).

      As for your the fat kids with the “FUCK” shirts? I honestly don’t know. I’ve read that the best blog posts run about 300-350 words. My theory seems to be to hold it near 1 Picture (1,000 words or less).

      I figure if 9/10ths of it falls flat, the last tenth will save the day.

      Thanks, bschooled. Always great to have you in here, dusting for prints and hauling off bodies.


  3. As you know, I’m not only a gadfly, backslider, Satanist, and ne’er-do-well millionaire butcher, but I also know how to raise the dead.

    That said, last night I decided it would be super keen to summon up these tormented spirits and have a pleasant chinwag with Harvard’s damned souls. You know, hear their side of the story. I was hoping the atmosphere would be as casually informal as a Marxist AA Meeting. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be…

    INT. ALPO’S MOTEL 6 ROOM – NIGHT

    Alan has just summoned up the spirits of Edward Holyoke, Samuel Locke, Samuel Langdon, Samuel Webber, Joseph Willard, John Thornton Kirkland and Josiah Quincy. The men eye each other with uncertainty as they as they take their seats. Quincy, however jumps up and down on the bed while giggling like a schoolgirl. Holyoke eyes him with contempt while stroking his truncheon.

    Alan: Okay, a good looking group of damned souls! Before we get started, I’d just like to say “To Hell with poverty, we’ll get drunk on cheap wine” ha, ha, ha!

    Beat. The men look perplexed. Kirkland looks about for a rowboat but to no avail.

    Alan: Sorry. So, I suppose you’re wondering why I asked you all here…

    The men nod their heads. Locke tries to remain looking innocuous.

    Alan: You’ve all had your reputations besmirched by a certain blogger who shall remain nameless and I felt that by raising you from the dead this would be an opportunity for you dudes to present your sides of the stories.

    The men mumble happily. Quincy, still bouncing on the bed, does a double flip.

    Alan: So, I think we should get some dialogue going here and—

    Willard springs up from his chair, raises his hand and gyrates.

    Joseph Willard: Oooh! Oooh! Me! Me! Me! Pick me!

    Alan: –Like I was saying, get some dialogue going and—

    Joseph Willard: Oooh! Oooh! Me! Me! Me! Me! Me! I want to dialogue! Pick me!

    Alan: …Yes, Joseph. You have something to say?

    Joseph Willard: No. I mean, yes! I need to go to the washroom.

    Alan: Really? I didn’t think spirits had to do that. Well, um, okay. Go ahead.

    Joseph Willard: Thanks.

    Willard pees himself as the others look on in revulsion, amusement and outright disgust.

    Alan: Okay, I think that will be enough from you. I’m sure you all have lots of things you want to—

    Edward Holyoke: Those kids deserved to have their asses paddled!

    Kirkland (looks suddenly interested): Did someone mention paddles?

    Edward Holyoke: And they loved it. Every second of it. Ha, ha! “No means yes.” Why? Because I say so. Corporal punishment gives men erections. Erections are healthy, as long as one is careful not to spill the seed of their ripe fruit. That weakens the soul. It’s not homosexual if you don’t ejaculate. It says so in the bible.

    Alan: Where?

    Edward Holyoke: Shut up, that’s where! Hey, John! Pull ‘em down. You’re due for a spanking.

    John Thornton: Okay.

    Thornton drops his pants

    Alan: Jesus, John! Pull them up.

    John Thornton: Okay.

    Edward Holyoke: No! Don’t listen to him. He’s not the boss of you. I am!

    Alan: Everybody settle down! Samuel… Do you have something you’d like to say?

    Samuel Locke/ Samuel Langdon/ Samuel Webber: Yes!!!

    Alan: Oh, right. There are three Sams.

    Quincy (still bouncing on the bed) Ha, ha! You said “threesomes!”

    Alan: No, I said “three Sams!”

    Quincy (still bouncing on the bed) Ha, ha! You said “threesomes” again!

    Alan rubs his temples.

    Alan: Okay, let’s start with Locke.

    Samuel Locke: Yes! I win! (to Samuel Langdon and Samuel Webber): Fuck you, losers!

    Samuel Langdon and Samuel Webber nod at each other, pounce on Samuel Locke and begin to pummel him.

    Edward Holyoke/ Joseph Willard/ John Thornton Kirkland/ Josiah Quincy: (chant) Fight! Fight! Fight!

    Joseph Willard: Who wants to fight me?

    Edward Holyoke: Trust me, Willard, no one wants to fight a guy with freshly urine stained pants. You’re a disgrace.

    Joseph Willard: Those are fighting words!

    Alan: Okay, everybody, calm down! You three Sams, stop it!

    Quincy (still bouncing on the bed) Ha, ha! You said “threesomes” again!

    Alan: Shut up, Quincy!

    John Thornton Kirkland: You’re the real disgrace, Holyoke. You never were and never will be Harvard material. You’re Yale scum.

    Edward Holyoke: Kiss my ripe dick, Kirkland, you freaking twat smoker!

    John Thornton Kirkland: Spare me your argumentum ad ignorantiam, you filthy hunk of donkey shit.

    Joseph Willard: I made the intellectual choice to soil myself. I live by free will. And Now I want to fight.

    Quincy (still bouncing on the bed) Hey everybody, look at me! I’m gonna do a triple flip.

    Quincy bounces high on the bed but springs off to the right of it. He flies through the air and crashes through the motel window.

    Beat.

    Everyone rushes to the shattered window and looks out.

    Edward Holyoke: Oh my God! He’s dead.

    John Thornton Kirkland: You fucking idiot, Holyoke. He was dead when he arrived. We’re all dead. (to everyone else.) What a douche.

    Edward Holyoke: Fuck you, you perfidious scrotum!

    Holyoke pounces on Kirkland and bites his ear. The three Sams attack each other. Joseph Willard pees himself.

    Alan leaves the room. The meeting is officially over.


    • And now you know what happens when you fool around with the dark arts, kids. Put the Ouija boards and magic 8-balls away.

      I think the first hilarious error you made, Alan, was assuming that they would gain wisdom simply by dying and remaining dead for over a century. True, they did once run a prestigious university but you give someone tenure and they feel free to do whatever the hell they want for the next 30 years, including running a prestigious university.

      Anyway, if I take some time off would you be available to write some posts? I’d reliquish creative control under the condition that I can go in and alter any compliments you receive to appear to be written by one of your many alter egos.

      Thanks again for the brain blistering comment, Alan. I see you suffer from the same disease I do: worditis. Some day those kids with their weight problems and “FUCK” shirts will free us from the pain, but until then…


  4. “America’s most prestigious university always reminds its students to sound difficult words out.”

    That’s good stuff…


    • Some of my best work goes into photo captions, which makes it popular with the kids. Especially the illiterate ones.


  5. Thanks for pandering to my demographic.



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