Harvard and Pranks? (Your Views On This, Harvard Alums/Students)

<p>Harvard</a> vs. MIT: Who Has the Better Sense of Humor?
^just for reference</p>

<p>As I read more and more about Harvard and MIT, it seems that in Cambridge, Harvard is like the solemn philosopher while MIT is like the witty techie. MIT is known for the countless pranks that rather seem even official, while Harvard, well, see the link above.</p>

<p>Not trying to diss any school here of course. I'm just curious how Harvard affiliates feel about this "lack of humor" (if it's even remotely true) in Harvard compared to the neighboring MIT.</p>

<p>If Harvard has plenty of evidences to prove its sense of humor, please do post. BUT: please don't mention the "Why I Chose Yale" video. That video's just miserable except for the intro part. Yale does video pranks WAY BETTER than Harvard hands down.</p>

<p>Also, I'm not equating sense of humor with pranks. But if the school is not very fond of big scale pranks, surely the atmosphere would have impact on its students?</p>

<p>Maybe I'm just illustrating the point here, but I don't find the first link very funny. Like, whatever? It's not very clever. That's also not our main entrance. I'd definitely have chuckled and taken a picture if they'd hung "BUILDING OF ALL NOWLEGE" or something slightly better on our main library, Widener, but hanging it on one of the interchangeable smaller gates of Harvard Yard (that doesn't open anywhere near a classroom building) falls flat. Harvard Square's a pretty interesting place--free folkdancing lessons in warm weather, pro-Tibet protestors playing some eight-foot traditional horn instrument a couple times a month--so I'll laugh if you equal or top those things. The link's banner and execution? Pedestrian.</p>

<p>But if you want to know about us pulling pranks and or the jokes we ourselves make about other institutions, there are two things going on. </p>

<p>First, we're not going to go around combatting rumors of our stodginess by putting down MIT (or even just by shouting how great we are). The advantaged (even by a little bit) don't come off well comparing themselves to the disadvantaged. It's the same principle, way way toned down, as if you watched a movie where some rich socialites had Hispanic maids, and the maids joked together about how stupid and out of touch their employers were. You'd probably laugh. If the socialites joked together about how lazy and uneducated their maids were, you'd go "wow, those characters are horrible people." HYPSM are peers, but Harvard's always just a hair ahead in *some*thing, whatever it is. MIT, being a hair behind in that whatever, can feel free to joke that Harvard's stodgy and old hat. Harvard going around telling everybody that MIT was socially awkward and no fun to be around would be rude.</p>

<p>We pull a lot fewer pranks than MIT probably does nowadays, with one exception (The Crimson vs. The Lampoon). I think the general scarcity of pranks is because we now tend to be warier of making messes and headaches for innocent bystanders than more prank-prone student bodies are. E.g. My upperclass House was involved in the "Great Housing War of 2012" quotation marks required. Somebody did get Henry Kissinger to come out in support of Adams, his former house, which was funny. Anyway, my house was thinking about pranking other houses, but we didn't really. Why? Not because we didn't have a sense of humor--because it's very, very difficult to think of a prank that inconveniences all the other students of one house more than their custodians. The students here like the staff here (and vice versa), so we recognize that filling somebody else's dining hall with confetti in our house colors or whatever (hours and hours of work to clean up) would be rude to people we like. When MIT vandalizes the John Harvard statue again (sometimes in not-easily-removable ways) or steals that cow statue they keep in one of their cafeterias (nobody minds now, but taking it was illegal), it is funny. But whether to frame that as MIT kids having stronger backbones and senses of adventure or Harvard kids being more respectful and considerate is up to you. (I see both sides. If I could do math remotely, I don't know whether I would've wanted to go to MIT or Harvard. I was never qualified to make that choice, however.)</p>

<p>The Crimson and the Lampoon, two ancient student publications, are our exceptions. They pull hilarious and semi-legal (or not) pranks on each other on the regular, so it's not like we pull no mischief when we can do it without inconveniencing bystanders. The Lampoon managed to take the Crimson president's symbolic chair this spring. First, it made an appearance on Conan O'Brien's show, where he taped a segment sitting on it. Then the Lampoon found a way, or so they said, to get the Crimson chair all the way to Libya, where they were going to deposit it on a street in Tripoli somewhere. (I was impressed with the threat, at least.) The Crimson regained the chair, however. As far as I heard, which was at a bit of remove, the Lampoon had the chair on their bus in a parade around the square for some event. Again, as far as I heard, that was to be the chair's last triumphal spin around Cambridge before it went to Tripoli. (I'm still dubious it would've made it.) The Crimson then somehow broke on, saw the chair, then "liberated it" (--my Crimson friend) with the help of some people in the crowd. I, as a bystander, thought all this was excellent, so I hope we do have some sense of humor. It's probably less ostentatious than MIT's, but I don't think it's less ostentatious (except in the my-school-rocks-and-yours-sucks dimension) than Yale's. And whether you think lacking an ostentatious sense of humor is a bad thing or not is entirely up to you.</p>

<p>Eh. Pranks doesn't really equal humor in my opinion. Frankly, I wouldn't say Harvard is humorless or lacks a sense of humor. Half of the writers on sitcoms and late night shows (ok, maybe not half, but certainly a sizable chunk) are Lampoon or at least Crimson alum. Maybe we just express humor differently than some other schools. So what? </p>

<p>[humorless post alert...]</p>

<p>I'll admit I am now on the far side of my 25th reunion, but in my day MIT pulled a couple of masterful pranks, including the weather balloon that erupted from midfield during The Game.</p>

<p>The pranks did show a measure of humorous and a great deal of ingenuity on the hackers' part. And I demonstrated my own good humor (and I hope, also Harvard's) by appreciating them.</p>

<p>@Silorsky. Some things never change I guess. Haha</p>

<p>Like the 'experiment'</p>