A couple of weeks ago came the moment for which every admirer of American popular culture, every avid watcher of American Pie, had been waiting throughout the year: The YLS Prom Dance.
It was a curious event: Despite being held in the mighty pseudo-gothic halls of the Yale Commons, the party couldn’t quite shake off its high school-ish origins. This was all the more surprising, given that the music, supported by relentless bass line, most insistently urged the Hogwartesque walls to swiftly “shake it off”. The walls, however, unforgivingly remained unmoved and preserved the entertaining contrast to their high school-ish surroundings.
Not only the music, but most other items (photo booth, decoration, plastic cups, prom royal couple) matched the ideal type of a high school prom.
(It seems as if life at YLS is so busy that no one can afford to devote any time to develop a more sophisticated and somewhat articulate taste in music. Instead, the evening’s playlist was indistinguishable from the kind of music that would be fueling an actual high school prom. Over distinguishing cases we seem to have lost the sense for distinguished music. Being the most avid admirer of Taylor Swift I, of course, have nothing to complain about. However, it deserves to be noticed that Yale’s ORIGINALISM is shamefully lacking with regard to musical taste. This may have to do with YLS’s party culture to be, by European standards, overall rather poorly developed (see Yale WATERGATE). This holds true despite the many and considerable efforts that our LLM class has heroically invested into establishing the BRAZILIAN PALACE (the humble temporary home of our two Brazilian LLMs) as the city’s prime party location.
An alternative, more optimistic, take on the issue would, of course, be to claim that high-school-prom-styled music must be understood as being even more ORIGINAL than any more distinguished playlist could ever hope to be. For, such high-school-styled music would naturally be in a more undeveloped, more embryonic, and thus more ORIGINAL state. According to this standard of ORIGINALISM the most ORIGINAL sound of them all would be the very charming initial cries of a baby after it leaves the womb. If YLS is, as it tends to be, at the avant-garde of things, we thus have reached a promising hypothesis as to where pop music will be heading in the years and decades to come. This standard of ORIGINALITY would moreover lend itself very well to being most beneficially applied to the papers that exhausted LLMs still have to write at the end of this second semester. After ten months of MEERCATINESS there is little energy left for thoughtfulness and sophistication. I therefore most humbly propose that for grading purposes “maximal proximity to embryonic states of development” be defined as the official measure of what it means to have an ORIGINAL IDEA. This would have the added benefit of bringing the YLS interpretation of ORIGINALISM back into tune with its interpretation by leading ORIGINALISTS in the politico-legal arena.