July 17, 2011


Return to Gallery Directory


The New Yorker, September 16, 1985

Achewood, Feb. 10, 2002
(Thanks to Ridgely Schantz for the tip)


The Paul F. Tompkins-hosted improvisation show Spontaneanation features an improvised story each week. This episode, with Jason Mantzoukas, makes a few Vassar jokes.



• Black Water, by John Duffy and Joyce Carol Oates

Based on Oates’s novella about a Senator who is driving a young magazine writer to his hotel for sex but has an accident on the way, putting the car into a marsh. An analogue for the Ted Kennedy / Chappaquiddick incident, the scene here has a black friend of the girl berating the Senator for his liberal position on affirmative action.

• The Last Savage, by Gian Carlo Menotti (English translation by George Mead)

An undeserved flop, this hardly ever performed opera from the 1960s features Kitty, who is an ambitious young anthropologist on the hunt in India for the world’s “last savage.”  Her wealthy father, worrying that capitalism is doomed in a time of increasing taxes, growing union power, and a Democratic administration, is indulging her chase because wants to marry her off to the Crown Prince of the region, to be sure she can be set up for life. Kitty’s not interested in marriage until after her quest has been completed. The Prince, Kodanda, isn’t interested in American women, but is pressured by his father to marry her since the democratic reforms in India threaten to rob his family of their wealth. You can listen to the sections that in the English translation mention Vassar here, and the text is printed below.

Kodanda: All right, I’ll do it. 
Kitty: All right, I’ll do it.  
Kodanda:…but only if Miss Kitty gives up all this talk of anthropology. 
Kitty:…but only after I have completed my scientific mission.  
Kodanda: Oh father, remember how shameful it would be if I, a noble prince, were to marry a girl who’s hunting for an apeman.  
Kitty: Oh father, dear father, are you expecting me to go back to Vassar without a single trophy?  
Kodanda: I know far too many women who have beauty, charm and knowledge.
Who would gladly show how madly they can love me
To be wasting my affection on a pale girl from Vassar College
Who believes herself above me.
If only I could be happy without a wealthy wife
To Sardula, my true love, I would dedicate my life. 

Classical (sort of)
Peter Schickele, Classical Rap
Composer and classical-music parodist Peter Schickele put out this parody of a boastful rap song as performed by an Upper West Side yuppie, written in the style of the late eighteenth century.

You can listen to the whole piece here, and the section of the lyrics that mention Vassar appears below.

Well, I’m doing pretty well
For myself right now
I’m pulling down
About eighty thou’
My wife makes forty
(She’s a Vassar grad)
And, hey, for a woman
That’s not half bad
So we’re talkin’ six figures here
But there’s one thing I want to make
Crystal clear
I have to laugh
And I have to scoff
When I hear people
Calling us well off
Anyone who thinks
That we’re sittin’ pretty
Doesn’t know what it’s like
In the big, bad city.

Clyde Edgerton, a novelist, put out an album to accompany his book Walking Across Egypt. The song, “Quiche Woman in a Barbeque Town” can be heard here and the lyrics of the chorus are printed below:

She’s a quiche woman in a barbeque town
There’s trucks and ticks and tobacco all around
She was Vassar cum laude several years ago
The adjustment will be slow.
Thanks to Virginia A. Smith ’92 for the tip. 


  • Elvis Presley, "Startin' Tonight" (see clip from Girl Happy)
  • Ann-Margret, "My Rival (Is a Baby Blue Racing Car)" (see clip from Viva Las Vegas)
  • Roxy Music, “Street Life”:

The lyrics are:
Back to nature boys—Vassar girls too
Watch what you say, or think, or do
Continental-style strasse girls might
But you know exactly if it´s wrong or right
Education is an important key—yes
But the good life´s never won by degrees—no
Pointless passing through Harvard or Yale
Only window shopping—and strictly no sale
Thanks to Ivor Canning for the tip.

Video Games

Metal Gear Solid—In this highly popular game series, when the player saves his game he has a brief interaction with, according to Wikipedia, a "Chinese-American data analyst [who invented the player's] wireless communication system, the codec radio, as well as the Soliton Radar, which detects the positions and field of vision of nearby enemy soldiers...[She] provides him with advice through Chinese proverbs, as well as quotations from Western authors."  Thanks to Michael Weissbluth for the tip.


Stephen Colbert's book America Again throws a Vassar joke into a section on acing an interview question.

Plays and Stage Musicals

Maxwell Anderson, The Star Wagon
Jon Robin Baitz, The Substance of Fire*
Courney Barron, Sure Thing*
Nora Ephron, Imaginary Friends*
Marvin Hamlisch/John Guare/Craig Carnelia, The Sweet Smell of Success*
Joshua Harmon, Bad Jews
David Ives, All in the Timing*
Ira Levin, Deathtrap*
Frank Loesser, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Wendy Wasserstein, Isn’t It Romantic?*
Wendy Wasserstein, The Heidi Chronicles*
Wendy Wasserstein, Uncommon Women and Others
Kurt Weill/Ira Gershwin, Lady in the Dark (song: “The Saga of Jenny”)
Craig Wright, Grace 
Brian Yorkey, if/then

Novels and Short Stories

Woody Allen, The Whore of Mensa
Woody Allen, Mr. Big
Lisa Alther, Politics of Paradise*
Julia Alvarez, In the Name of Salome*
Julia Alvarez, The Secret Footprints*0
Lauren Belfer, City of Light*
Lawrence Block, Hit List*
T. Corraghesan Boyle, World’s End*
William S. Burroughs, Western Lands*
Meg Cabot, Princess Diaries
Elizabeth Champney, Three Vassar Girls Abroad (1883)
Elizabeth Champney, Three Vassar Girls in England (1884)
Elizabeth Champney, Three Vassar Girls in South America (1885)
Elizabeth Champney, Three Vassar Girls in Italy (1886)
Elizabeth Champney, Three Vassar Girls on the Rhine (1887)
Elizabeth Champney, Three Vassar Girls at Home (1887)
Elizabeth Champney, Three Vassar Girls in France (1888)
Elizabeth Champney, Three Vassar Girls in Russia and Turkey (1889)
Elizabeth Champney, Three Vassar Girls in Switzerland (1890)
Elizabeth Champney, Three Vassar Girls in the Tyrol (1891)
Elizabeth Champney, Three Vassar Girls in the Holy Land (1892)
Tom Clancy, The Sum of All Fears
Michael Crichton, Disclosure
Amanda Cross, Question of Max*
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho*
Bret Easton Ellis, Rules of Attraction*
Rosario Ferre, The House on the Lagoon*
Sara Fitzgerald, Rumors*
Esther Friesner, Unicorn U.
Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies
Brooks Hansen/Nick Davis, Boone*
Shelby Hearon, Group Therapy*
Spencer Holst, Language of the Cats*
Jon Katz, Death by Station Wagon*
Stephen King, Dolores Claiborne
Stephen King, Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands
Stephen King, Doctor Sleep
Stephen King, Needful Things (characters named after dorms)
Stephen King, Hearts in Atlantis
Stephen King, Under the Dome
Reif Larsen, Selected Works of TS Spivet
Robin Lippincott, Our Arcadia*
Bruce Makous, Riding the Brand*
Robert R. McCammon, A Life in the Day of...

Emma McLaughlin / Nicola Kraus, Nanny Diaries*
Terrence McNally, Some Men*
James Michener, The Novel*
Anton Myrer, The Last Convertible*
Naomi Neale, I Went to Vassar for This?
Ann Patchett, State of Wonder
Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Call Me Irresistible
Philip Roth, The Great American Novel
J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey
Beth Saulnier, The Bernier mystery series*
David Schickler, Fourth Angry Mouse*
Catherine Schine, Evolution of Jane*
Jane Smiley, Moo
Karin Tanabe, The Gilded Years 
Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
Donna Tartt, Secret History*
Elizabeth Atwood Taylor, Murder at Vassar
Melissa Thorndyke, My Family and I*
Lucian K. Truscott, Dress Grey
Scott Turow, Ordinary Heroes
Jennifer Weiner, Then Came You*
Jennifer Weiner, Fly Away Home*
Lauren Weisberger, Devil Wears Prada*
Connie Willis, Blackout
F. Paul Wilson, Nightkill
Tom Wolfe, Bonfire of the Vanities
Tom Wolfe, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test*
Laura Zigman, Her*

*Not personally verified

No comments: