Live Sketches from the Big Climate March

How One of America’s Best Colleges Is Destroying Itself

Whitman College, the gem of a small private liberal arts school in Walla Walla, Washington, has long been a mainstay of the Colleges That Change Lives lineup, along with schools like Antioch, Cornell and Marlboro. Whitman is an excellent, beautiful, and fairly safe college that students are lucky to attend. If you are applying there now, it just might be the right fit for you.

The school is also now in the middle of a search for a new president. At the same time, the college is being strangled by a long-serving, insular and controlling board of trustees, a weak and poorly rated president who inspired a faculty revolt, and an intentionally toothless board of overseers, mostly alumni. The school has turned its back on needs-blind admissions and on any reasonable commitment to diversity. Because of this, the school has gotten its comeuppance in a New York Times analysis of private schools that places the college absolutely dead last in terms of economic diversity.

This ranking was no accident. This was Whitman’s goal. An analysis of the school’s common data set from 2001 to 2013 shows how they did it.

You can see two things here. In blue is the number of incoming freshmen that applied for need-based financial aid and were also judged to be in need each year. Back in the previous decade, the school was attempting to join the club of colleges that practiced “need-blind” admissions. In 2010, the school moved to describe itself as “need-sensitive.” The number of students who required financial aid was, on the whole, steadily growing. In 2011 and 2012, the school admitted fewer students who needed financial aid to attend college—and increased aid to students without need.

In red is the number of those students who had their need met at 100 percent. (The other students had their need met partially—often substantially.) In 2007, 81 percent of students with financial need had their need fully met. In 2013, only 53 percent did.

August Never Ends


In the gleaming, unblemished offices of an internet media company, located in a revitalized industrial district now home to seed-funded start-ups, dozens of young people sit in front of computers. The computers seem angry; the office looks like the inside of a soda can. A calendar reads “August 15.”

DEREK sits in front of one of these computers. He’s wearing a collared shirt and jeans. He tried to wear a denim jacket once, but he felt like a cowboy, in a bad way.

Derek is talking to GWYN, who he would like to sleep with, but also respects, as a person.

DEREK: It’s horrible. GWYN: Yeah. DEREK: It’s all so horrible. GWYN: Yeah. DEREK: The Internet is like a garbage can. GWYN: I guess so. DEREK: I feel like I’m always putting garbage in a garbage can. GWYN: I’m going to go get Sun Chips. DEREK: Can you grab me a seltzer? GWYN: Sure.

Gwyn leaves. Derek turns to face his computer. TweetDeck blinks back at him.

What Killed the Metrosexual?

When was the last time you considered the metrosexual? If you are a reasonable person—not this guy—it’s been about ten years. Or at least I thought so, until, after a decade of silence, three people mentioned metrosexuals to me in the same week. Perhaps because it’s the twentieth anniversary of its coining and the tenth(ish) anniversary of Queer Eye.

In reconsidering the metrosexual, we must first distinguish between the metrosexual’s imagined and actual properties. Like hipsterism, metrosexuality is an insult more readily slung than substantiated. According to canon, David Beckham is the ur-metro. Although Beckham initially goes unmentioned in the word’s first printing (in 1994), the word’s progenitor, Mark Simpson, introduced American readers to metrosexuality through the British football star in 2002, when he called Beckham a “screaming, shrieking, flaming, freaking metrosexual…famous for wearing sarongs and pink nail polish and panties…and posing naked and oiled up on the cover of Esquire.” Other icons of metrosexuality of the time included Mark Wahlberg and P. Diddy. This was somewhat shocking to me, since I associate metrosexuality with men who resemble heterosexual twinks—your Zac Efrons, your Ryan Seacrests. Hair that swoops, cheeks that apple.

How to Freeze Summer and Use It to Make Things Taste Fresh All Winter

“Pesto is the quiche of the eighties.” Haha, that’s a line from a movie I just saw for the first time. The pesto of this decade is…other kinds of pesto.

Pesto originally comes from Genoa, in northern Italy, where the specific ingredients and preparation were codified sometime in the sixteenth century. That kind of pesto—made with basil leaves, garlic cloves, pine nuts, Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino sardo, along with a fair amount of olive oil—is still by far the most popular, though its proper name now, in a world of many types of pesto, would be pesto alla genovese.

Most Italian dishes have, like, four ingredients max, but if one of them is even the tiniest bit different from the way Caesar liked his, it is no longer correct. For example, the Pecorino sardo in pesto alla genovese is not the same as Pecorino Romano, and only a fool would use Romano in place of sardo *shakes fingers as if trying to fling drops of water onto whoever is in front of me*. Anyway, pesto is made in a mortar and pestle, traditionally. (“Pesto” comes from the same root as pestle, as does the word “paste.”) The Italian mortar and pestle, like the French, is typically marble, and the ingredients are crushed in a circular grinding pattern, unlike, say, the “pok pok” smashing method of Thailand.

Now that you’re up to date on the true history of authentic pesto, let’s cheerfully cast that all aside. Pesto, to my modern, non-Italian mind, means nothing more than a paste of herbs and oil, sometimes with other things added, and I always have at least three or four kinds in my freezer; I rarely cook anything without some form of it. Right now, as the summer turns to fall, we are in the dying throes of herb season. Herbs are summer to me, and their aromatic compounds are most potent when they are fresh—not grown in a greenhouse in Argentina, not after a few days of wilting in your fridge. Raw leaves do not normally freeze well (they become soggy and gross when defrosted). But, when mashed into a pesto, they freeze SPECTACULARLY. So now is the time to get out the food processor (or mortar and pestle if you want, but I certainly don’t) and make enormous batches of several kinds of pesto, which you can use to add a hit of summer freshness to food all through the shitty awful nigh-endless winter we’re sure to have, again.

A Complete Guide to Today’s Apple Event

Brooklyn’s New Colonial Frontier

Colony 1209 is a luxury apartment complex located at 1209 Dekalb Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Located one block from a public library and a smattering of ninety-nine-cent shops, the five-story property’s geometric, shiny blue and gray façade, which makes it look like a fortress built by a first-grader in Minecraft, sticks out in a largely residential neighborhood packed with brick or vinyl-sided two- and three-family buildings. Through the windows, you can peer into the ultra-modern lobby, which is furnished with items like a plastic bubble chair hanging from the ceiling. It seems like a colony on the moon, but the idea behind it is less space jam than manifest destiny.

According to the website of, the brokerage firm renting units at Colony 1209, only fourteen units remain available in Colony 1209. The rest are occupied by renters settling what the luxury building’s website calls “Brooklyn’s new frontier.” That “new frontier” is “bohemian Bushwick, a vibrant industrial setting reimagined through artful eyes.” The area—where there are just as many empty lots overgrown with weeds and buildings with boarded-up windows as there are tree-lined streets, Puerto Rican flags, and yards with colorful lawn ornaments—might unnerve some potential settlers if Colony 1209′s website didn’t reassure them, “we already surveyed the territory for you.” Once settlers arrive, they’ll “find a group of like-minded settlers, mixing the customs of their original homeland with those of one of NYC’s most historic neighborhoods to create art, community, and a new lifestyle.”

The Time I Worked at That Celebrity Bakery

People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask. In this edition, Becca Laurie tells us more about some famous people who enjoy eating cupcakes.

@katespencer i worked at a bakery that a lot of celebs liked. i still remember who treated me well (and tipped more than a few pennies)

— Becca Laurie (@imbeccable) August 12, 2014

Becca! So what happened here?

A decade ago, I applied for a bakery job on a whim. I had no experience, and I’d never been to this specific bakery before. I was out to dinner with friends, and we stopped in for dessert. I filled out an application and started training the next week. 

The bakery was having a moment: It was featured on a TV show, and that meant a ton of tourists and a handful of celebrities. I worked there for two consecutive summers. By the end of the second year, the hype started to die down, and so did the frequency of famous customers. My memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be, but here’s who I remember:

Objects Uncovered During the Excavation of Your Childhood Bedroom

The Problem With Relying on a Machine to Eat All Your Garbage

People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask. In this edition, New York Times technology writer Farhad Manjoo tells us more about what happens when you have a hi-tech electronic garbage can that keeps breaking.

Almost everything in my house is automatic/electronic in some way. But after three infrared-enabled automatic kitchen trash cans I’m done.

— Farhad Manjoo (@fmanjoo) August 25, 2014

Farhad! So what happened here?

I use machines for everything. I’m that kind of guy. I cook sous vide, I’ve got a Japanese bidet toilet with heated seats, my soap dispenser is automatic, and my plants are watered on a very precise timer. So when I have some garbage to throw away, you can bet I’m not going to bother with jamming on a pedal to open up some dirty, germ-laden trash vessel, like the way they used to do in medieval times. Nope, no manual labor for me, no sir. When I get home after a long day of typing words, my hands laden with trash, I want a machine to react to my very proximate presence, to open up like Ali Baba’s cave, a gaping, infrared-enabled maw just begging for my trash.

The Most Correct Way to Grill Vegetables on a Stick

In a few days, grills will be ceremonially set ablaze for Labor Day (“it’s the end of summer,” we’ll say, even though the first three weeks of September are still summer, technically and temperamentally). Many of those grills will be piled high with vegetables. Good: Direct heat and smoke can do lovely things to plant matter. But the most common technique for grilling vegetables, the kebab, is performed incorrectly by the vast majority of American grillmasters of the universe—even though most other countries mastered the technique sometime around the time it was discovered that fire hurts when you touch it.

Stabbing things with a skewer and putting them over open flame is just about as primitive as it gets, and we still do it because it’s 1) a convenient way to grill bite-sized pieces of food 2) fun and 3) delicious. Pretty much every culture has independently invented some version of the kebab, whether it’s brochette or yakitori or pinchos or satay or döner. For some reason, we Americans have chosen to ignore all of these kebab styles in favor of just one: shish kebab, a mutant version of Turkish şiş kebab that is a fairly simple riff on skewered grilling. If one had to pick a single way to grill vegetables until the end of civilization, it’s not a bad choice at all, with dominant flavors of lemon, oregano, mint, and olive oil.