Scene Magazine: Because We Can’t All Be Born Rich

Good evening, ladies and gents. My name is Chadwick P. Worthington IV, and I am an undergraduate at this fine institution, Harvard University. Some of you may not quite know who I am; you’re probably not white if that’s the case, but that’s alright – there’s nothing a little money can’t fix. Anyways, on a recent yacht trip to the British Virgin Islands, my friends and associates suggested to me that I start new magazine about my social scene. After all, none of us could conceive of a group more important and relevant than the collected scions of the world’s corporate malfeasance. Terrifying as it may seem, there are those who do not know which blazers are worth spending $1000 on or whom they should go drinking with in hopes of being taken advantage of. These Joe and Jane Ordinaries have nobody to look up to, because they have no conception of how to live the high life. It distresses me to the utmost.

I am proud to announce we have managed to rectify this problem: Today, I present to you Scene magazine. The product of dozens of trust funds and at least ten hours of work, this fine magazine – nay, journal – embodies the principles my friends and I hold most dear.

1. Whiteness. Whether it be due to genetic perfection or cultural superiority, anybody with a modicum of breeding can tell that White culture (especially of the Anglo-Saxon, Protestant variety) epitomizes the ideals of civility and superiority. As wealthy, upper-class Harvard students, we embody that culture and need to pay constant tribute to it. Thus, our articles feature White people to the almost-complete exclusion of anybody else (with perhaps the sole exception being a belaboredly multi-cultural “10 most important people at Harvard”). We pay homage in fashion to nothing less than that most supremely White of clothing institutions, Brooks Brothers, and proudly display our final-club ties while smirking casually in blazers. The message? It’s hard to be White, but we pull it off with ease.
2. Wealth. While not an explicit prerequisite, having parents who are wealthy enough to fly you down to New York for weekend photoshoots and indiscriminate enough to finance the coke binges that probably follow them certainly makes it easier for you to join our lovely coterie. Features on phenomenally indulgent apartments and $40-a-plate restaurants are de rigeur. Of course, the magazine isn’t assuming that all of its readers can afford these delights; instead, it’s telling them that they shouldn’t even be perusing these glossy pages if they lack the funds to live this life.
3. Self-indulgence. Here at Scene, we have a little motto: “Here, by the grace of God, go we.” By virtue of our tony private schools and echo-chamber social circles, our opinions have become inherently more valuable. We deem worthy of publication our iTunes playlists, resplendent with cutting-edge artists like M.I.A. Annie, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and other names that show we’ve given an extremely cursory glance to Similarly, we’ve appropriated the most insipid elements of blogs – esoteric, self-important rants by people with no qualifications – and shown that they can waste ink as easily as they waste bandwidth. Most importantly, we only write about people we know: After all, if we didn’t know them, they wouldn’t really be Important People, would they?
4. Insincerity. Us Scene-sters follow in a storied tradition that goes all the way back to Marie Antoinette and the Duchess of Windsor. We are not just white and rich – we also like to show just how out-of-touch we are with the rest of society. We show just how street tough we are by posing, opposite the “staff” page, in front of a graffiti-ed up wall. That’s right, we stood on the same ground once trod upon by dangerous minorities – and in broad daylight, no less! Yes, we’re white and stuffy, but we can be plenty gritty and urban. We pose together in our Brooks Brothers clothing, giving looks that scream “my dad will SUE YOUR ASS if you even DARE to fuck with me.” We’re street, and we’re fucking tough.
5. Unprofessionalism. Whether it be through the photography – which looks like an eight-year-old attempted to copy the New York Times’s Sunday Styles section – or the writing, we want to convey the impression that one day our parents will land us jobs at the world’s leading newspapers and magazines, but that we’ve still got a ways to go before we get there. Inconsistent editing, overused phrases (“it would be an understatement to say,”), and an obvious contempt for grammar (after all, could anything be more proletarian?) remind our readers that the legacy tradition is still strong in Harvard admissions. Our articles are written to minimize facts and maximize fawning – who cares about actual information when Jack McCambridge has taken Harvard by storm? Moreover, the mere thought of research horrifies us: Interesting people are only interesting by virtue of leading a campus organization, restaurants selected for review by a thirty-second glean of Zagat’s, and heaven forfend any article be written about something that wasn’t already covered in FM.
6. Ignorance. We’re especially proud of the tradition of ignorance we’re establishing, as it’s equal parts deliberate and accidental. Like any publication of real worth, we play fast and loose with facts, claiming that Harvard lost to Yale in Clifton Dawson’s freshman year. We proudly pretend that final clubs aren’t really a problem for anybody and reduce issues about women’s equality on campus to narcissistic rants about the difficulties that uptight wealthy women provide for uptight wealthy men.

Friends, there are many reasons why people like you should look up to people like me: It is by no accident that I have wound up as Ozymandias, king of kings, here at the finest of universities. With the publication of Scene magazine, it’s finally possible for the huddled masses of Harvard University to look up to their social beacons without requiring us to abase ourselves to commonality. I bid you all good night.



22 responses to “Scene Magazine: Because We Can’t All Be Born Rich

  1. please send this to the crimson…

    and on another note…you can’t forget the overpriveleged black man who found his way into these pages. providing strong black role models is another important role of scene.

  2. What the hell??? I have never read such an offensive, even racist post. Trying to reinforce hurtful stereotypes about white people is just as racist as in other cases. I happen to be white, anglo-saxon, and protestant, but that doesn’t make me a stuck up, rich, racist snob. “we were just trying to make a point” you might say, “it’s parody!” Well that doesn’t make it right. If a similar post were written about a african americans, making such offensive and broad generalizations that could not possible hold true across a broad racial specturm, everyone would be up in arms about how offensive and hurtful such comments can be – well it works both ways. I think you owe everyone an apology.

    This isn’t about the UC so you better not delete the post.

  3. Chadwick G. Worthington IV

    Dear Anonymous #2:

    You’re certainly correct that most white people are not this way.
    The real question, I should dare say, is: Shouldn’t they be?


  4. seems like this blog has taken a sudden turn to somewhere between insulting and cartoonish

  5. I’m #2:
    Congratulations Mr. Swift – we’re all impressed with your cute mockeries.

    look, obviously you’re “trying to make a point” or whatever. All I’m saying is that you are trying to do it through broad strokes that are irresponsibly misleading and would be considered horrendously offensive if it were “trying to make a point” about black people instead of white people. There is a unmistakable double-standard and I for one find it offensive.

  6. Chad, you really up to your name with this post. Please don’t make fun of my scene blog. or at least read my proper blog and then i give you carte blanche to make fun of that.

    Theodore B. Bressman

  7. Thank you, Mr. Worthington, for your excellent comments. They were exactly akin to the kind of email I was hoping to write to You do a much better job than I, however. It really amazes me that a group of what–20 students–thinks the entire Harvard population of 6000 would care enough about their lovely little lives. The full color Neiman Marcus ad on the inside front cover blatantly says that the only way these people put together their magazine was through their well-placed connections. Also, with their kind of money to which they have access, they should have at least hired a professional to do their magazine. The design is crap.

  8. McCambridge is the #1 person you want to know at Harvard, though. If you want to lose $30,000.

  9. Funny comments all around…

  10. This is really weird. Is this supposed to refer to any actual magazine? Or is it just a general swipe at rich white people?

    Just when CambridgeCommon was getting a lot of credibility for its UC coverage…

  11. Anonymous above–it’s an actual campus publication that was handed out on Wednesday (or that’s how I got it) in front of the Science Center. I’m sure this post could most definitely be considered massively offensive…except for the fact that it’s in response to something that was actually printed, worked on and as far as I can tell, presented in all seriousness, by which I am still floored.

  12. “What did one poor person say to the other?”

    “Who cares!?”

  13. To give credit where credit is due to Mr. Worthington: the review of Aspasia and its wine list, the Brooks Brothers photo spread and the full-page add for (need a lackey to clean, or design, your room? how about “Beauty/Spa Exercise Appointments” or the always helpful “Suspension/Expulsion Assistance”?) is balanced, in a certain way, by one page on STOP, Students Taking on Poverty. He’s doing his part.

  14. “McCambridge is the #1 person you want to know at Harvard, though. If you want to lose $30,000.”

    I take great umbrage after reading this falseness–nay, rudeness. The 10 coolest people you want to know for life were chosen at random. RANDOM. #7 was no less cool than #1.

    The anon. poster coming out against Chadwick: you must be kidding.

    “I have never read such an offensive, even racist post.”

    It’s been a long time since I’ve read such a sophomoric, reactionary post.


  15. I think it’s fine if a group of people wants to make a magazine tailored exclusively to that group’s interests. It’s debateable whether it is a smart business move on Scene’s part to exclusively target its definition of the “elite” (people who think its normal to live in the Ritz Carlton, wear Brooks Brothers, and write horrendously), or whether Scene’s content is a little embarrassing, but what is not up for debate is whether anyone has a right to be offended by it. It’s just a vapid magazine that, at its worst, will propogate negative stereotypes about the demographic it covers. If anything, this is more embarrassing for those people than for everyone who is getting up in arms about how Scene is racist, elitist, etc…

  16. To be clear, Chadwick is not in the least up in arms. He is quite pleased that he has contributed to our understanding of the social elites and given us role models for the future.

  17. I hate to be a critic here (well maybe not but if I don’t say that I’ll sound like a jerk), but I have been really unimpressed with most of the 17 comments to this piece. Are people afraid to discuss the existence of this alternate Harvard? Obviously all the stereotypes in the post don’t apply to every white Anglo-Saxon Protestant, but they clearly apply to most people covered in Scene magazine. Simply saying how Chadwick is “reinforcing hurtful stereotypes” will get us nowhere in understanding sub-populations of Harvard students. Nobody has yet critiqued the veracity of Chadwick’s words in relation to the magazine and in relation to dynamics between types of students — only when that happens will this conversation be even close to productive.

  18. wintour of our discontent

    i don’t understand what the fuss is…. i mean it’s poorly written, a little self-important, and the editors’ connections probably could have been better used on hiring a graphic designer than scoring a neiman ad.

    but why are people so taken aback that they delivered their little glossy– which covers a small subset of the harvard population– to the entire campus? loads of magazines we don’t care about get doordropped to us daily, and, unlike most of them, we actually read this one. we all got to feel smugly superior as we saw the painfully self-aware writing and laughably cliched arts picks (which, chadwick is right, are clearly the product of a cursory scroll through pitchfork) that they decided to share with the campus.

    that said, it gave me a bit of faith that the journalistic world isn’t completely built on connections and trust funds. liz is no mario testino, emily and rebecca are no graydon and anna, and ‘scene’ is certainly nothing that people would ever actually pay for. it’s nothing more than an expensive, poorly executed, vanity project.

  19. I am a little bit disappointed that we were able to spend more time to a commentary on 1 new, specific student magazine than on nearly all of the UC candidate questions combined.

    Where are our priorities?

    As noted earlier, mine are directed towards losing $30,000.

    – Jack

  20. Shouldn’t bringing up a publication that reinforces certain class distinctions be a priority regardless of UC elections or not?

    I don’t think Chad’s post is racist. Allow me to remind folks that racism only works with a history of oppression and institutions that support and uphold that oppression.

  21. jack who?

  22. jack,
    I find very unclear your assertion that “our priorities” should value discussion of the UC presidential race more than discussion of issues of class privilege, racial marginalization, or poor digital picture quality.

    In my opinion, (and apparently those of these other misguided posters), it remains morally acceptable to be interested in discussing topics other than the UC, even during UC campaign season. Furthermore, I also opine that Scene magazine provides a fresh jumping off point for valuable discussion of how our campus and society define what it is to “live well” … it’s related how much you could possibly pay for one item of clothing or one martini, right? Even more interestingly, we can remark as Chad has done on how a magazine targeted towards wealthy students considers them to be happily ignorant of their small numbers, their homogeneity, or any sort of obligation to use their wealth in pursuit of public rather than personal interest. Is this indeed true of wealthy students on campus? It is also puzzling how they failed to use any of their money on good imaging software, and I would not disparage anyone else for wondering this aloud.

    The UC is certainly somewhat interesting and important, but there is no justification for presuming it to be a worthier topic for discussion than the social implications of a magazine made by and for “specific students”: students who base their identities upon their being rich and elite. the behavior and values of elite rich people have important implications for the rest of society … i would find it disappointing if many readers of this blog did not agree.

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