It was no surprise that Brian Hackett began his address to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. by ripping into Barack Obama. “I would just like the president to know,” the fiery TCNJ senior declared, “these teleprompters are not on, and we’re all speaking off-the-cuff because we’re passionate about what we believe in!”
WITH MARTA PACZKOWSKA
Beginning his collegiate career in 2002, Donald Tharp is currently pursuing a double major in philosophy and psychology.
During a four year leave of absence from TCNJ, Tharp found work as a field hand and yard boy for a construction company. The South Jersey native then worked his way “into the office” as a junior estimator, eventually becoming a project manager for small jobs, and finally earning the big bucks as an assistant project manager for multi-million dollar projects. Now 25, he returned to TCNJ in the spring of 2008.
Tharp sat down with The Perspective for five good — nay, great — minutes.
What’s your full name?
Donald Burton Tharp, Jr. — better known as Donny, Don Juan, Old-Timer, and Blue.
If you wanted people to know one thing about you, what would it be?
It’s never too late.
How do you approach living life?
If something bad can happen, it probably will happen, so it’s not about avoiding it, it’s about overcoming it, learning from it, and coming out stronger.
What are your initial thoughts about this last decade?
It’s amazing how relative time is. And though at moments, it seems to creep by — but in retrospect, it’s gone in an instant.
How will the 2000s be remembered?
Two steps forward, one step back… I believe there’s been progress. That’s a net gain of one step. But pessimists will always see the negative — what’s that gonna do for you?
What did you do over winter break?
Finished up working on my loft… should be able to move in shortly after finals. I look forward to living on my own again.
Who did you do over winter break?
My girlfriend of four years, and probably wifey, sooner rather than later.
Where do you see yourself in 2015 or 2020?
By then, hopefully back at this school as either a philosophy or psychology professor. I’d want to create a hybrid of the two.
You’re speaking to the people of the future. What are your most insightful words of wisdom?
What you know as fact now has a good chance of being fiction later. Never stop questioning why and how. Never stop seeking knowledge.
Other than R. Barbara Gitenstein, who is your favorite Lion or Lioness and why?
Any of the faculty in the philosophy department. They’re under-appreciated and seem to not care less about it.
Who is your least favorite Lion or Lioness, and why?
The Sodexo people who charged me $7.80 for a Sunday brunch.
What’s currently spinning in your iTunes?
“Proud to be an American” by Lee Greenwood.
Shout-out time. Go.
To all the interesting characters and brilliant young minds wandering around this campus… this world is ours, shitty as it may seem at times. If change is inevitable, and it is the fruit of our hands, never let anyone tell us that that change cannot or will not be for the better.
Do you yearn to be quipped at cleverly while feeling your self-esteem evaporate? Is your fascination with English Pleasure Gardens undying? Do you long to hear the phrase “things look bleak for you” said with the dulcet tenor of a London accent? If you answered yes to any of these, then you are mad. But you are also a perfect candidate to become a pupil of the enigmatic James Stacey Taylor.
He is ironic, intelligent, and breathtakingly tall. Early American fables claim he carved the Grand Canyon by dragging an axe across the desert – the name was later changed to Paul Bunyan for legal reasons. Now, he enjoys a quiet life of educating young minds in the Philosophy Department of TCNJ.
Dr. Taylor was kind enough to answer several questions for The Perspective – and even suggested a few himself when he discovered the interviewer was woefully incapable. Now sit back, secure tongue firmly in cheek, and enjoy the musings of a delightfully sardonic Brit.
Where did you grow up?
Mainly in the Bedford Park area of London; this was the first planned Garden Suburb, dating from the C19th Arts and Crafts movement in England, and so was a very pleasant place to grow up. Yeats lived a few houses down from the house I grew up in, and wrote several of his major poems there. Not when I was living there, of course—he was dead by then. Or so his biographers would have us believe.
Where did you go to university?
At St. Andrews University, in Scotland, and UC Berkeley, for my undergraduate work and first postgraduate degree; then Bowling Green State University in Ohio for my further graduate studies. And, no, I don’t play golf; it is a silly game. There are far easier ways to get that little white ball into those small holes.
When did you move to America, and why?
I spent a year at UC Berkeley, as part of my undergraduate degree. I moved more permanently in the mid 1990s, to continue graduate work in philosophy. At the time the chances of securing an academic job in America were much higher than in Britain—there were simply more available—and an American degree was considered advantageous. Plus, I was misled—the man who recruited me to study in Ohio claimed that the Midwest was just like California. It isn’t.
Have you seen much of America?
I’ve lived in the Midwest, the Deep South (Louisiana), the Shallow South (Virginia), and on both West and East Coasts, so I’ve experienced quite a wide variety of American life. Including line dancing and tractor pulling, both of which I observed from a safe distance.
What do you like about America?
The general friendliness of people, and gas station hotdogs. These are probably the most important contribution America has made to the culinary arts. (The hot dogs, that is.) They’re absolutely wonderful, and so cheap! Plus, you can load up on vegetable-based condiments, and so they’re healthy, too.
Do you like horror movies?
Why does this question follow questions about America?
Of course! I used to live in a town that was the set of a recent horror film, whose working title was Backwater. (It was released as Venom, and is terrible.) When you’re living in a town that’s being filmed as the backdrop to a horror film called Backwater things look bleak. Especially if the film crew have to spruce the place up so it doesn’t look too creepy. I recommend Spoorlos and Anatomie as terrific horror movies—although stop watching Anatomie after the first scene. It goes downhill rapidly. And is mean to utilitarians.
How did you get interested in philosophy?
The school I went to (i.e., for the equivalent of high school) had a very good Sixth Form Library, and subscribed to academic journals in philosophy and classics, among others. I was browsing through the philosophy journals, and found the articles in them fascinating, especially those to do with theoretical ethics. Unfortunately, this happened after I’d been accepted to read for a Law degree at an English university. So, I gave up my place there, took a year off, and applied to read philosophy at St Andrews.
What are your interests in philosophy?
I’m interested in medical ethics, especially the morality of using markets to procure human transplant organs. I’m also interested in the related questions of whether death is a harm to the person who dies, whether the dead can be wronged, and whether the dead can be harmed. (The answers are no, no, and no. The dead would be very lucky indeed, were they to exist to instantiate such a property.) I also work on theories of personal autonomy—what it is for an action or a desire to be correctly attributable to one as one’s own. And I have interests in the work of Descrates, Berkeley, and nineteenth century utilitarianism.
Do you have any other academic interests?
Yes—history (especially medieval English history), and classics (especially the Epicurean school). I’m also keenly interested in plagues, especially the Great Mortality of the C14th. That was a real disease—not like the weak-kneed stuff that’s around now.
Do you have any pets?
Three Catahoula hunting dogs, and an embarrassingly large number of cats. An embarrassingly large number of cats is any number above zero.
SHOULD WE HERALD EICKHOFF?
On average, college presidents spend about eight years in office. The figure was even lower – hovering around six – when Harold W. Eickhoff took over the reins of Trenton State College in 1980. By the time his not-so-voluntary retirement came into effect, the seminal figure had been at the helm of what is now known as TCNJ for nineteen years. Continue reading “Eickhoff: Hero or Tyrant?”
Dr. Nagesh Rao is a professor of literature at the College. Nagesh, as he prefers to be called, is a proud member of the International Socialist Organization, and encourages his activist students to follow suit.
By KYLE TOMALIN
So what made you pick those glasses?
This may sound ironic, but I got them out of irony. I also want to look as punchable as I can – and I think I’m succeeding.
I think you’re failing. People seem to like you. Why do you go by Nat and not Natalie?
I’m not sure. That’s how it’s always been.
Can you give a funnier answer than that?
Nat sounds manlier.
So you’re intentionally manly?
Ever since I asked for GI Joes and bacon for Christmas when I was five. True story.
To make things even, does your boyfriend try to keep it girly?
My boyfriend IS the girly one. We balance each other out.
Boxers or briefs?
His boxers are the manliest thing about him. Then again, I’ve known some pretty manly men who wore briefs.
I was asking about you.
Boxers. Boxers with bacon on them.
Sen. Loretta Weinberg, Gov. Jon Corzine’s running mate and Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor of New Jersey, personally voiced concerns to her running mate over their campaign’s use of negative advertising.
Though his protruding dreadlocks are instantly recognizable, little is truly understood about Marlowe Hans Pessolano Boettcher. Derided by critics as belligerent, crude, and stuck in a time warp, yet lauded by proponents as judicious and cuddly, Continue reading “A Few Good Minutes with Marlowe Boettcher”