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“He was making a comment both about culture at Wash U. and the representation of Wash U. by the PR department.”
September 14, 2011 10:21 AM   Subscribe

"Wash U Photo Captions" back online after copyright challenge. Washington University in St Louis redesigned their website, and senior Alex Christensen found the photos kinda cheesy. So he started the Wash U Photo Captions Tumblr to poke fun. ("On Thursday mornings, the nerds are allowed to leave the lab.") But Tumblr shut it down, citing copyright violations, until Christensen got legal help. Now it's back, with gems like this and this.

Bonus material: Jared Spool on "Girls Under Trees." (If there isn't a Tumblr for this, there really should be.)
posted by epersonae (35 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wonderful.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:26 AM on September 14, 2011




This one is the best.
posted by NoMich at 10:34 AM on September 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


This makes me simultaneously proud and ashamed of my alma mater.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 10:39 AM on September 14, 2011


The captions aren't very funny, but I'm glad he prevailed. Seems like clear fair use.

This one is the best.

Not getting it. It's the sort of thing I'd laugh at to be nice if it were my nephew's site or something, but not really.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:48 AM on September 14, 2011


Funny!

Because of his nearsightedness, this opthomologist needs special equipment to see the fear in children’s eyes.

But funnier if the spelling works out a little better.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:49 AM on September 14, 2011


Not as funny as I was expecting, I loves me a good bit of captioning fun, but good for him for standing up for himself at least.
posted by antifuse at 10:52 AM on September 14, 2011


Oh my god Wash U., change the carpet in the bookstore already. I graduated almost 20 years ago!
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:57 AM on September 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


They just remodeled the bookstore. It's even more corporate.

(Engineering school, BSME '98, haven't given them a dime since they gave Phyllis Fuckin' Schlafly an honorary doctorate.)
posted by notsnot at 11:00 AM on September 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


I like a man with persistence and moderately funny and often charming sense of humor.
posted by longsleeves at 11:03 AM on September 14, 2011


Engineering school, BSME '98, haven't given them a dime since they gave Phyllis Fuckin' Schlafly an honorary doctorate

Liberal Arts, BA '91, AMEN.
posted by scody at 11:07 AM on September 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


This makes me almost miss Wash U's quest to look like Disney's version of a Real College Campus!
posted by ChuraChura at 11:08 AM on September 14, 2011


Apparently, men with zero computer monitors have a girlfriend...
posted by bessel functions seem unnecessarily complicated at 11:11 AM on September 14, 2011


The ones I found funny were those that not only mocked the blatant posing like these three (drama, awards, and research), but also managed to convey a slice of true college experience common to many universities.
posted by CancerMan at 11:11 AM on September 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I graduated in 2009, so I don't even really have enough distance from the whole affair to not find some of the excesses documented above embarrassing. They haven't asked me to send money yet, thankfully, but in light of what I still owe for having gone there, in light of things like the Phyllis Schlafly bullshit, and in light of the fact that any money I might give would go to building ridiculous shit like this, I don't think the motivation will strike me any time soon.
posted by invitapriore at 11:17 AM on September 14, 2011


The South 40 is hilarious. When I was in grad school and would walk to Health Services for medical care (yay grad school health insurance!), I would walk through that. It was like EPCOT. A little fake city so the undergrads didn't have to go to the Loop to do anything fun, or heaven forbid the CWE. Not that Wash. U.'s undergrads are unique in that regard.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 11:21 AM on September 14, 2011


The problem is too many words.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:21 AM on September 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Apparently, men with zero computer monitors have a girlfriend...

If I'm seeing things right it looks like he's writing music notation on staff paper. That plus the fact that the fancy graphics on the screen behind are just part of the desktop background kind of makes it seem as though the picture was subverting itself pretty well even before anyone added a caption.
posted by invitapriore at 11:23 AM on September 14, 2011


in light of the fact that any money I might give would go to building ridiculous shit like this, I don't think the motivation will strike me any time soon.

Oh how I hate the design of the new 40. It reminds me of a generic hotel, like a Fairfield Inn, Candlewood Suites, or a Hampton Inn. And it clashes horribly with other recent 40 buildings like Liggett-Koenig, not to mention the rest of campus. I predict it will age terribly.

You'd think after Eliot they would have learned something about getting creative with architecture.
posted by jedicus at 11:30 AM on September 14, 2011 [1 favorite]




[B.A. Russian, '94]
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 11:37 AM on September 14, 2011


Needs more "ethnically diverse students (hot one in foreground) enjoying themselves beside a fountain".

Never choose a school that doesn't have any minorities in their advertising photographs.

Because who wants a degree from some school where no one knows how to use Photoshop?
posted by straight at 11:39 AM on September 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


You'd think after Eliot they would have learned something about getting creative with architecture.

Yes, although there's a charm to Eliot's assertive ugliness, as opposed to the sniveling sycophantry of all of that faux-lite-Euro-revival-lite nonsense.
posted by invitapriore at 12:00 PM on September 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


So this has nothing to do with messages on the backs of dirty vans?
posted by yerfatma at 12:16 PM on September 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some gems, some rocks but a nice victory for fair use.
posted by tommasz at 12:23 PM on September 14, 2011


So this has nothing to do with messages on the backs of dirty vans?

No, obviously that blog would be called "Wash Me" Photo Captions.

Which reminds me, I remember watching that post-Night Court John Larroquette show that was supposed to be set in the St. Louis bus station, and noting that they knew so little about St. Louis that someone referred to Wash. U. as WU (pronounced "woo"). Also the bus station is far scuzzier and more depressing than depicted in the show.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:27 PM on September 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Every time I get a request for money from Wash U, I laugh. Then I look at the perfectly good shit that they tear down to rebuild for no reason other than they have too much money, and I cry.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 12:33 PM on September 14, 2011


1)When I was a junior, I asked the new Chancellor why the rate of increase of tuition seemed to suddenly bump. Was there some new costs? Some capital program? He responded with unusual candor: it was to make our tuition in line with the next school in the US News and World Report ranking, thus increasing our prestige. Even as an engineering student, I though his economics were a little screwy - cart, horse, etc.

2)Every time I see thewumpusisdead's username, I hear the little tone-generated bugle call from the TI 99/4a version of the game.
posted by notsnot at 12:45 PM on September 14, 2011


I think my alma mater had a similar sense of striving to be IMPORTANT and ELITE when I was there. (UPS '96) To the point where the phrase "Harvard of the West" caused my friends & I to burst out in giggles. Plus similar green lawns! and gothic buildings! (Of which they too are building lots more and tearing down old stuff.) As well as a strong sense of distance from the rest of the working-class town.

All of which make the happy-shiny, sometimes forced-diversity, photos feel particularly irksome...or ripe for comedy.

Or maybe it's just that I'm embarrassed that the viewbook photos were part of what attracted me to the place, so that I moved to the Pac NW sight unseen? Naw, couldn't be that.

Or that I applied for a job there a few years ago, went through a phone interview and FOUR HOURS of in-person interviews, including with a VP whose office I'd protested in front of (no, that's not awkward at all), and got turned down in favor of a non-alum?

posted by epersonae at 1:22 PM on September 14, 2011


Nice! My little sister just started her freshman year at Wash U I sent her the link
posted by Del Far at 3:52 PM on September 14, 2011


The thing that makes this not as funny as it might be is the fact that I don't know that I've ever seen promotional photos for a university that weren't painfully cheesy.

As for Wash U itself. On the one hand, what Jedicus said.

On the other hand, I run into the wustl domain a lot when I'm trying to do SCIENCE! (like getting R extensions) so there's more going on there than people in white coats being asked to hold up beakers of water with food color in it as if they were making an offering to Quetzalcoatl.

On the other other hand, I know it doesn't really matter but I like to pretend that the server being about a mile a way means my 30 second download is even faster!
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:15 PM on September 14, 2011


Interdepartmental collaboration!
posted by squalor at 5:48 PM on September 14, 2011


I run into the wustl domain a lot when I'm trying to do SCIENCE! (like getting R extensions)

Yeah, there's some serious science going on here (recently 4th in NIH funding dollars, and home to one of the three big genome centers). Much of it happens at the school of medicine, which is about a mile away from the main campus. I joke that it's just far enough to keep the undergrads from disturbing us.
posted by chrisamiller at 10:03 PM on September 14, 2011


Interdepartmental collaboration!

I keep waiting for it to hit bizarro levels of funny, but instead it just gets unfunnier and unfunnier...
posted by mrgrimm at 10:31 AM on September 15, 2011


For what's it worth, I work at the med school myself, and it's refreshing to see the University actually spending money on functional, useful things, at least for the most part. Not having access to the huge, shiny Institute for Health building, I'll have to withhold my judgment as to its flashiness to value ratio. In any case, it's a totally different culture and I'm glad for it.

(Though I wish some of their copious dollars could go towards making the thermostat in my lab work...)
posted by invitapriore at 7:50 PM on September 15, 2011


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