U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) (left) shakes hands with Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) as the House of Representatives holds an election for a new Speaker of the House on October 25, 2023. (Win McNamee via Getty Images)

TGIF: It Got Worse

The Hamas spa has shampoo. The House gets a new Speaker. A Maoist cult collapses. Victoria’s Secret has sex appeal. And much, much more.

Welcome back. Have you Googled ‘knife fighting class near me’ lately? I have. We’re still Hamas-heavy but hopefully that dissipates soon.

→ Campus has fallen: Normally TGIF feels like whack-a-mole, in a fun way. The truly crazy things that the left and right do are rare enough, and we can visit them, laugh, and move along to the weekend. These days? It feels like walking through the aftermath of an earthquake. That’s especially true when it comes to American college campuses, which are now just smoking piles of rubble. Like, here’s where the library used to be and oh my god, we’ve lost the entire field of sociology. Which we have. Read on:

Nearly 2,000 sociologists signed a letter that Israel was committing “genocide” and anything Hamas does is justified by the “context.” The University of California, Berkeley Ethnic Studies Faculty Council released a statement condemning anyone who describes what Hamas did as “terrorism,” which is offensive. The student leader of a Wellesley residential house wrote to the entire dorm she oversees: “We firmly believe that there should be no space, no consideration, and no support for Zionism within the Wellesley College community.” Harvard launched a task force to help ensure the pro-Hamas protesters feel safe and can get jobs while also berating any Jews they might find. At George Washington University, students projected onto the side of the school library: GLORY TO OUR MARTYRS and FREE PALESTINE FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA. At Stanford, students are asking the school to pay for round-trip tickets for Muslim students to visit home: “Full round trip covered by University upon the signing of a ceasefire for students to visit their family and friends and grieve properly.” (Okay, fine, that one’s funny; just think of the Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine president calmly trying to explain preferred pronouns to a jihadi upon arrival. On second thought: TGIF will personally sponsor any queer activist who wants to fly to Iran. Honestly, I’m curious what would happen.)

At Cooper Union, pro-Hamas protesters chased a clutch of Jewish students into the library. Video from inside shows the young Jews standing, frightened, as the protesters pound on the doors. What exactly would they have done if they got in? Librarians reportedly offered to hide the students in the attic. The joke writes itself. 

The protesters trying to ram through those doors to beat up the Jewish students might even be up for some extra credit. Professors are starting to offer it to anyone who joins a pro-Hamas protest. 

Here’s Berkeley professor Victoria Huynh: “Hi everyone, We’re offering a field trip and/or extra credit opportunity: (1) Students can attend the national student walkout tomorrow against the settler-colonial occupation of Gaza (info attached below) OR (2) Students can watch a short documentary on Palestine and call/email your local California representative using this linktree. Doing so will either count as a field trip or an extra 5 points on the field trip category of your grade.” First of all: Who talks to college students about “field trips?” Anyway, UCLA professors are also offering extra credit for students who go to pro-Hamas rallies. 

And after graduation, the future that awaits these students trying to ram through the doors also looks golden: here are some of the hundreds of academic job postings for roles in various normal-sounding departments that say they’re only looking for people who want to push for “decolonization.”

Sensing the vibes weren’t right, Columbia postponed its annual Giving Day, which usually raises tens of millions for the school. It’s really hard to shake down Jewish alumni when your faculty and students are also trying to do a pogrom. The list of donors who are pulling their gifts keeps growing: the latest is billionaire Leon Cooperman, who declared on television: “I think these kids at the colleges have shit for brains.”

Hats off to Marc Rowan and everyone who has finally realized that the only response here is to stop funding the Ivy Intifada. Write to if you know of more. And to college students reading this: campus has fallen, you’re on your own, good luck!

→ Now that’s a Republican: The new Speaker of the House is Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana. And in the time of stress when the earth is shifting and alliances are falling apart, it’s nice to find a good old fashioned wack-a-doo Republican to help orient ourselves. Johnson argued to criminalize gay sex (I agree). He wants to effectively ban IVF, since discarding an embryo would be considered murder (excuse me while I have seven babies now, by law). He used to lobby for the Noah’s Ark theme park, which believes there were exactly 85 pairs of dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark along with humans (correct). Gotta say, this guy’s takes are working for me. Reading his old arguments on how young the earth is or how the Bible should be taught as literal history, I’m soothed. These are a California liberal’s natural enemies. I learned what evolution is so that I might take on a real-life creationist one day. This is the man I should be protesting in a familiar tit-for-tat that is the pitter-patter of our national conversation. 

As I type, there are protesters at New York University who are screaming: “We don’t want no two-states, we want all of it!” I’m not built to fight Hamas, guys. I don’t want to do sharia. I have great legs. This isn’t right. I’m built to be getting a little too heated about a bike lane. I’m supposed to be waiting my turn to give a PowerPoint about plastic waste at a city council meeting. I was perfectly crafted to argue with Mike Johnson about dinosaur bones. And so, Mike, thank you. As soon as professors stop trying to globalize the intifada in my living room, I’m coming for you. Give me five minutes to help some Jewish students escape through these tunnels, and then you and I are going to have some tough conversations about abortion and a women’s right to bodily autonomy. I genuinely can’t wait. 

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