Thursday, December 10, 2009

Altman '11 responds to 'Confidential USG campaign memo'

Yesterday, The Prox posted excerpts from a USG campaign memo that was found in a Little Hall printing cluster. While we did not attach any candidate's name to the document, USG presidential candidate Jack Altman '11 sent in a response, posted below.


If you read the Prox last night, you probably got a good laugh at how big of an idiot I am. To be honest, I would laugh at me too. Who wouldn't love to know someone else's most absurd, private thoughts? It's the same reason diaries are stolen and creepy middle school teachers make their students read love notes aloud to the class. Still, it hurts when it's me.

Obviously, my campaign was aided by the efforts of a lot of people, and this document was no exception. That said, this is ultimately my campaign and I take full responsibility for everything in here. I know the voting is over, and I know no one looks foolish here but me, but I'm going to have trouble sleeping if I don't at least try to explain myself.

Here are my reactions to our newspaper's "favorites:"

1. "Not sure what to use these people for, but..."
Following the ellipsis was basically a list of my friends. I guess the verb "use" could have been chosen more thoughtfully but these were rushed notes I jotted to myself. Special apology to Astrid's Boyfriend Mike and Astrid, you guys are the best.

2. "CJL - TOWER"
I also want to apologize to my eating club and my religion (yes, I had a bar mitzvah) for hyphenating CJL and Tower. I just love these organizations so much that I always feel the need to write them in caps.

3. "Black vote? -- black forbes friends -- ...what about the black sorority?" many times can I say the word black in one sentence? I must have thought there was some sort of competition. One of my greatest intentions is addressing racial concerns on the street. Still, I understand how ridiculous this makes me look. I guess there's nothing I can do here but laugh at myself.

4. Kappa -- "girl from my precept"
I definitely wrote this. No explanation, just embarrassed.

5. "Weirdo groups yaro/Trevor will get" - "chess club, math club, ping pong club, Juggling Club
, Tae Kwon Do, Ballroom dancing"
Here's the one I am most upset about. Like I said, this is my campaign and I take full responsibility. But I want these groups to know that I would never call them weirdoes. I have no idea where this came from -- like I said, this was compiled by a group of people helping my campaign. All I have to say is I have participated in chess club and ping pong club and these are my favorite games alongside poker and Warcraft. One of the coolest people I have met at Princeton is the president of the chess club, and I play at least 20 games of speed chess online a day. I was the captain of math club in high school, and I don't even know what Tae Kwon Do is. These are the people I feel most sorry to, and I hope more than anything that you will believe me when I tell you -- I would never say this.

6. "softer toiler paper"
Apparently toiler is a word, so spell check didn't help me out. But come on, Prince, give me a break! There are other hard words to spell besides toilet, like the last name of the guy who wrote "Crime and Funishment."

7. "the usg's first and only objective is to set things done for students. We can't run it like a business or take ourselves too seriously"
Yeah, that's true.

Look, I don't think anyone was shocked that campaigns have things like this, but knowing it exists is worlds apart from actually reading it. I hate to be crude, but for lack of a better analogy, it's kind of like the difference between knowing how your parents made you and seeing how your parents made you. I wish no one had taken my most unfiltered thoughts out of a printer and dropped it off at the Prince, but, hey, was it really all that bad? I don't have anything to hide.

Princeton is the greatest place I have ever been, and I would love to be USG president. I hope more than anything that I didn't hurt anyone I care about, and I Hope that people will be understanding and cut me some much-needed slack. If you have anything to say to me, please e-mail me. Support, hatred, ridicule, advice, whatever. My number one priority is to listen to the student body. I may as well start now.

- Jack Altman '11


Anonymous said...

Ahhh Jack I think I love you.

Anonymous said...

Of course you have to try to explain something like this. It doesn't change my opinion of the unadulterated douchebaggery that must compose your soul (and that of your friends) for outputting this in the first place.

Anonymous said...

And this is why you're not ready to be president. Racism and general dickishness aren't qualifications for the USG presidency in my book.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as one of the weirdos, I can tell you he's right -- Yaro did get my vote.

A rando who didn't vote said...

I don't see how it was douchebaggish or racist at all. Why is calling black people black racist?

Anonymous said...

Just be quiet already! Can't you read, the only reason he is taking blame for these comments is because he doesn't want to call out his friends. Jack is the sweetest person ever and one of my best friends, he isn't racist he freaking volunteers at inner-city St. Louis preschools. You don't know him so just shut up and stop hiding behind anonymous comments. If you have something negative to say put your name on it and stop being a coward. UGH!

Anonymous said...

This makes me like you more. From here we can go to a better understanding of group v. individual voting behavior ("the black vote"), but tough break.

Anonymous said...

I was pretty disappointed by the toolishness of the 'memo' (though I found it hilarious because I know a lot of the people on the list) I have to say, this explanation was pretty classy.

Good for you.

CG said...

Nice job jack for responding so well to that

it was funny and elegant.

I honestly didn't think you had actually written this though

and i don't find it racist at all????

Mr. Hat said...

"But I want these groups to know that I would never call them weirdoes. I have no idea where this came from -- like I said, this was compiled by a group of people helping my campaign"

I don't buy this.

However, the rest of this response is actually really good (especially the analogy about our parents). You have a future in PR.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised he didn't try just deny it was his. He could have claimed someone had set him up

Anonymous said...

A noble explanation in response to a merely human mistake. C'mon people--haven't you ever written yourselves short-hand notes meant for nobody's eyes but your own? Classification is what we do: it allows us to keep our own thoughts organized, especially when approaching complicated subjects and tasks. Whoever denies ever using similar techniques of classification needs to go back and take PSY 101. Although extreme cases of classification may be associated with racism, evidence of classification does not necessarily indicate racism. The document that was found neither contains nor reveals any more "racism" and/or "douchebaggery" than that which is naturally present within the circuitry of EVERY human brain.

True, some people are more "racist" and/or "douchebaggey" than others; but Jack Altman is assuredly NOT one of those people. Besides, if Jack's recent comportment in face of such a scandal and the honest and candid explanation he has provided above do not confirm his preparedness to be our next USG president, then I don't know what will.

jason '10 said...

This is from someone with no connections to Jack in any way--I actually voted for Yaro the first time around. That said:

I was inclined to dismiss this all as silly excuses at first--it does, after all, come off that way.

But I think that most of this is genuine. There's no way that Jack would dismiss chess club as a "weirdo group." Why's that? I just checked my emails, and the president of the chess club actually sent an email endorsing Altman for president. The beginning of the email, in fact, reads:
"Voting for USG positions is now open, and my friend Jack Altman is running for student body president.

Besides being a friend of the Chess Club and the most pro-chess candidate..."

So at least part of his response is likely true--in fact, one of the parts that's most likely to be made up (at least I think so--and so I'm inclined to believe most of his reply.

Anonymous said...

"These are the people I feel most sorry to, and I hope more than anything that you will believe me when I tell you -- I would never say this."

Like, honestly? "I would never say this"? Lies.

Anonymous said...

The thing is, a campaign memo is not comparable to a diary in any sense. In a diary, you're writing about what you think about and in a memo, I can only assume that you're writing about what you're planning to do. I mean, "I would never say this?" You just said it!

That's pretty ridiculous. This is why USG has the reputation of being a toolshed.

Anonymous said...

If you read it, the read he says he didn't say it is because there were people helping him. I actually thought this was a pretty great response, and it's pretty cool that he didn't call out his friends. You really think Yaro doesn't have something like this but way crazier? No question.

Girl from Precept said...

Seriously, Jack? Playing it off like a cool cat is cute, but it doesn't make up for viewing others only as a means to your personal ambitions.