Columns

Simon ’16: This side of Thayerdise

By
Opinions Editor
Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Unless you have been living under a slab of granite these past few weeks, I do not need to tell you about the fresh hell that opened its doors this fall to America’s gravy-train-riding darlings.  Having displaced many during construction and angered many more, 257 Thayer is a glittering new luxury student apartment complex that presides over prime Thayer Street real estate like the barnacle of supremacy it’s come to royally epitomize. It’s unabashedly grotesque, remarkably oppressive, municipally destructive and focused on a wealthier demographic. It shamelessly invites the stratification of the haves from the have-nots.

It’s this very culture-eroding, money-magnet monstrosity that deserves zero place on a college campus, especially one that stresses the importance of dismantling social barriers. And because its very existence runs antithetical to the culture of Brown — forgive me, runs antithetical to the constructed farce of social progressivism that we apparently mistake for Brown’s culture — I take particular umbrage with any social activist who signed a lease. More on that later. For now, it’s just plain tacky. Oh Lord, is it tacky! When was the last time you’ve heard of a post-millennium mercantile revival ever being applauded for its immediate timelessness? The answer is never. And that’s also the answer I have for when I plan to move in.

If I wanted to live in a building equipped with all the sensibilities of Persian opulence and Trump arrogance, I’d move to a high rise condominium in Westwood. But if I want to live with integrity because I’m a 21-year-old, socially aware college student who understands the value of class heterogeneity, I’ll sit pretty in my modest third-floor walk-up with all the satisfactory accoutrements it came with. Your boy’s pad is replete with emerald green linoleum, exposed cinder block walls and its very own rooftop view. Or more precisely, a view of rooftops! If I didn’t sell that very well, that’s because I’m not trying to. Being at Brown is a privilege enough, and it should be for you, too.

I don’t want to lambaste the aesthetic of 257 Thayer any more than necessary. There are more constructive conversations about classism that I should be addressing. Stemming from that are productive discussions on gentrification, elitism and even racism. That said, 257 Thayer is an organized pile of anachronistic garbage, and I for one refuse to take seriously anyone who attributes any of the following adjectives to this beehive of new-money tastelessness: chic, swanky, ornate or posh. As a matter of fact, I refuse to take seriously anyone who uses any of those adjectives in any context at any time. Unless, of course, you’re mocking someone who just used them unironically, in which case I will be unstoppably supportive. Extra points if you do so to that person’s face.

Once again, I just want to make very clear that I, on principle, refuse to criticize 257 Thayer’s utter lack of grace and style any more than is properly required. Its lackluster everything is not meant to be the focus of this piece, and I think I have conveyed everything I wanted to say about its horrendous exterior, callow interior, canyon-like patio and tawdry three-star Holiday Inn decor. Oops, I guess I hadn’t! But I am curious, was the city of Providence struck by an architect and interior designer shortage when the plans were unveiled? And were the developers high on peyote when they set the rent at $1,100 per month?

I don’t care who you are or who you will be; no college students should ever be allowed to live in that kind of excess unless they have cancer. For $1,100 a month, I’d sooner live inside Chris Christie’s laden colostomy bag. Let me put it this way: If 257 Thayer were a person, I’d tell that person to kiss the fattest part of my boorish, uncultivated derriere.

I’m tired of blaming the parents and the administration, and I’m growing tired of regularly blaming Jesus when I wake up to subarctic temperatures (though I suppose my Judaism makes committing such indictments marginally more permissible). It’s high time I blame the students for this one. After all, was it not the students who chose to hang up their hats in a complex that’s not only inherently exclusive, but was also actually marketed as such? They chose to reinforce the already damning wealth gap that pervades this campus. And most tragically of all, at least on a personal level, they chose to trade in proximity to their proletariat friends for the most invalid of reasons: amenities.

I’m not done hating yet. As I have mentioned, any social activists who dare to call this shining symbol of decadence home are hypocritical to the core and should have whatever power they have, or think they have, revoked immediately without due process. And though asking that their right to free speech be curtailed may ring a tinge melodramatic and wholly unpatriotic, I really don’t think I’m reaching for the stars here after the unforgivable miscarriage of justice they and their mushroom-plumed ego have wrought upon the commendable foregone efforts already made to blur class divisions on campus. Plus, I think we can all agree that it would just be really swell not having to hear another walking billboard for pumpkin spice squeal the word “problematic” ever again.

If it wasn’t against the code of opinions column etiquette, I would take personal liberty in simply writing, “$1,100 per month!” over and over and over again ad nauseum and then sign off with enough expletives to render an entire penthouse suite of heiresses comatose. And you know something? I’d do so joyously and without a soupcon that it would compromise the salience of this message. Wait a second, I just used a French word! Am I fancy enough for 257 Thayer?

Jeeves, warm the car! I’m moving out!

Chad Simon ’16 loves receiving fan mail. He’s especially fond of the “check enclosed” variety.

Clarification: A previous version of this article stated that rent for 257 Thayer is $3,300 per month. That number referred to a combined total for a suite of three rooms. 257 Thayer leases bedrooms individually.

  • Embarrassed Brown Student

    You take classism and elitism to a whole new level.

  • 257 Thayer Resident

    This really rustled my imported French jimmies.

  • A Student

    I thought this campus was one where we didn’t judge people by their background or upbringing, but one where we respected individuals based on the merit of their ideas and their influence in creating change for good?

    • shhh

      it’s actually a business…

  • John
  • David

    guys don’t get too mad at Chad, he’s a comedically successful method-acting troll and unfortunately the BDH is cheap enough to sell out to sensationalism

    • lol

      The BDH is really a tabloid guys, don’t take it too seriously!

  • Greek Alum

    Definitely think way less of you for writing this piece than anyone who chooses to spend their money on 257 Thayer.

  • Disciple of the Porcelain God

    Hey man, I’m just in it for the personal toilet.

  • Homan

    Wow. Chad, how much did that Starbucks coffee cost you this morning? I bet if you saved that money every day for the entire week, you might be able to save a a child in a third world from starvation. This sort of self-righteous dialogue is hypocrisy at the highest level. Your rhetoric is over-the-top and divisive.

  • yes

    Someone had to say it. Good job, Chad!

  • Brown ’17

    Wow, you epitomize everything I am embarrassed about at Brown. You claim to be socially aware and socially progressive and yet you are the most judgmental, elitist, and frankly just mean-sounding person on the BDH that I’ve read.

    You say on the subject of mocking these people – “Extra points if you do so to that person’s face”. I have never been so ashamed to call myself a Brown student after reading this article. You twist the ideals of social progressivism and liberalism to make fun of others for their personal choices, to judge others for their use of language, to promote mockery of those that you do not know. Shame on you, and shame on the BDH for giving this person a platform.

    I do hope that you find some peace in your life so that you are not so filled with hate toward those that you disagree with.

  • phewhomustnotbenamed

    I think u lambaste the aesthetic of 257 Thayer more than necessary m8.

  • ovit14

    This monstrosity was just starting to go up when I graduated. I don’t think the author is overreacting about the horrific specter of 257 Thayer. However, he’s way in the wrong and too heavy-handed with the finger-pointing and judginess of students signing a lease on these apartments. This is completely on the developers and admin. Brown students don’t have the time for organized protest about an apartment building near campus. There are way more important issues that Brown students are devoted to, starting with REAL WORLD social inequality and stratification – not which Brown student is living in 257 Thayer and who’s relegated to a 5-bedroom on Ives. C’mon, man.