NYU Journalism Student Teaches College Grads How to Look Smart, Live Without HopeS

GradSpot.com, a new "web portal" launched last month, bills itself as "the survival guide to life after college." And while some of their materials seem pretty handy—articles on how to use your student ID to get cheap stuff after graduation, etc.; a roommate-hunter function—the site as a whole makes us wonder whether survival is really the best plan.

Read GradSpot, in other words, and the future starts looking pretty fucking bleak.

Filed under "Play" there's a piece on "drinking classy." Under "Health," a list of easy ways to avoid depression and anxiety. And worst of all, under "Apartment,"—we're surprised they didn't call it "Pad"—we find a devastating guide to "building a sexy library" by a graduate of the NYU journalism school entitled "25 Books That Look Good and Read Even Better." Click past the jump for a read-through, but be warned that this is some soul-crushing shit: among other things, the author enthusiastically recommends Malcolm Gladwell's Blink and suggests we subscribe to "an altgeek periodical like The Believer" if we want to "[gear] up the old culture quotient."

The round-up goes in clumsy categories, most of which take the form of remarks a person might make make if someone asked them about a book on their shelf.

First up, in what the GradSpot kids call "Best 'Time to Revisit It Now That It's Off the Reading List' Books," we learn all about The Great Gatsby, which gets top billing for being "an incredibly erudite episode of Days of Our Lives" that will "make us feel a little better about our own drinking and carousing." Other entries in this category: Huck Finn, The Fountainhead.

Next up: the best "Yes, I am an intellectual. What tipped you off?" book, featuring Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco, a.k.a. "sort of like High Fidelity."

Best 'In My Spare Time I Like to Ponder the Human Condition' book"? The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat. Also some books by Steven Pinker and Stephen Hawking.

Speaking of Pinker! According to her bio, the author of this terrorism grew up "in the Communist Party," attended an all-girls college, and worked "as a domestic servant in the fashionable suburbs of Milan, Italy." She also knows some things about psychology, because she grew up in "the California" and underwent "several years of high-priced analysis." Now, fresh out of NYU, she's doing the journalism thing in New York.

Moving on to the last two categories: best "Why, Yes, I Do Follow the New York Times Bestseller List' Book," and "Best 'Has Anyone Ever Really Finished This" book. Gravity's Rainbow takes the last one (along with Ulysses and Infinite Jest), while Malcolm Gladwell, naturally, wins the first. Also: Freakonomics.

The article closes out with a list of quick tips for surviving in culture:

  • "Shortcut to looking well read: Stock bookshelves with the lesser-known works of famous authors. Examples: East of Eden, by John Steinbeck, and Pale Fire, by Nabokov. Special bonus points if you actually read them!"
  • Win major sensitivity points with chicks ("chicks dig poetry") by reading Rainer Maria Rilke, William Carlos Williams, Walt Whitman, and Robert Frost.
  • "Subscribe to an altgeek periodical like The Believer or a PoliSci-savvy publication like The Economist."
  • Learn big words: "Soon we'll be replacing prevent with preclude, protract, proscribe and earning a swift kick in the ass from our friends." (If you haven't heard of those, the point is that all the 'p' words mean prevent).
  • "No matter how learned we become, it's important to remember the Golden Rule: No one likes a showoff. Never forget the purpose of conversation is to exchange information."

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why we need to make sure that the newspaper industry does not kill the Sunday book review. Also: growing up sounds like it is the worst thing.—LEON