#WhenInEmerson, the jokes are on you

by Christina Jedra / Beacon Staff • September 6, 2012

Before Emerson students graduate, it is almost certain that they will encounter overenthusiastic orientation leaders, a negative experience in Allston, and loud, late night conversations outside of Gypsy Bar.

There is finally place for all to relate to these unique Emerson experiences: the #WHENINEMERSON Tumblr page. This latest Emerson viral sensation emerged in May. Students, alumni, and incoming freshman have been viewing and sharing short animations portraying the Emerson experience.

“Emerson people are really comfortable with who we are. We have a lot of quirks,” said sophomore marketing communication major Samantha Stringfellow. “You can tell it’s all in good fun.”

While the blog is maintained anonymously, and attempts to reach the administrator were not returned at press time, it is evident that the blogger knows Emerson well. Posts present college-related situations and match them with animated pop culture references, poking fun at the attitudes and actions of anything connected to Emerson. The blog has cited topics including the “arrogance” of visual and media arts majors, the calorie count of dining hall food, and the frequency of female students crushing on their gay acquaintances.  

The blog mimics the style of self-deprecating humor seen in the “Shit Emerson Girls Say” videos and Emerson Lion memes of last year. Michelle Kwong, a sophomore visual and media arts major and director of “Shit Emerson Girls REALLY Say,” explained that such expressions of humor portray a unified Emerson identity, one that isn’t afraid to make fun of itself.  

“I think all Emersonians recognize their own flaws, and they’re very accepting of that. That’s why we can make fun of ourselves,” Kwong said. “The main difference is the videos were more of a dialogue, and the blog is more of a commentary.” 

The page has done more than entertain current students.. It has also helped incoming Emerson students gain an understanding of what Emerson is all about. 

One anonymous reader of the blog wrote, “Honestly, this Tumblr has taught me more about life at Emerson as an incoming freshman then [sic] anything Emerson has told us.”  

Tim Riley, Emerson College Assistant Professor of The Digital Journalist and Music Journalism classes, recommends the blog for young people looking to familiarize themselves with the college. 

“We’re eccentric and creative, and we know it. We’re lampoon-able,” he said. “I think for incoming freshman, it’s very funny.” 

The blog also acts as a portal back to college life for Emerson alumni. One Tumblr user wrote, “This made me nostalgic far too soon after graduation.”  

But, not all Emerson students are on board with the blog. 

“I think it’s mildly humorous. It’s not the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life, but it’s a pretty good representation of all our attitudes,” said sophomore sceenwriting major Vernon Lickfeld  “I think its goals are collecting and anthologizing all the inside jokes we have here, and I think it does a good job of that. It’s just that some of those jokes aren’t that funny.”

Despite the range of reactions to the blog itself, Riley emphasized that the Emerson identity lends itself to this sort of humor.

“We all understand what’s included in that Emerson package, and a lot of that is ripe for satire.”