At 8 p.m. last Friday night, students piled into Paresky Auditorium for the Perennial Amateur Convention’s (PAC) fall comedy show, Raising Hell, which consisted of a few introductory stand-up acts followed by sketches written by the group’s members. Julia Cochran ’19, PAC president, greeted the audience, giving a nod to the show’s director Abby Lloyd ’20, and introduced head writers Evelyn Elgart ’19 and Benjamin Stanley ’19, the latter of whom she jokingly said was only there “to not alienate the men in the audience.” She acknowledged PAC’s female leadership in a genre of entertainment that has historically been male dominated.
“Look, I’m not gonna get my humanity from Bill f*cking Clinton,” Hasan Minhaj said. “He’s just not gonna understand where I’m coming from, my point of view, the things my community has had to go through – we have to claim that shit on our terms.” Minhaj recalled this specific moment at the 2016 Democratic National Convention as being that which inspired the creation of his new weekly Netflix comedy series, Patriot Act.
On Thursday night, Steven Pinker, cognitive psychologist and author of Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress, gave a lecture of the same title in Chapin Hall. The event was sponsored by the Gaudino Fund and the College’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, which has lined up a set of speakers throughout the academic year who are meant “to encourage dialogue around human knowledge and reason.”
In his lecture, which acted as an overview of the more in-depth studies examined in his book, Pinker laid out his central argument: despite the growing sentiment that society is in some kind of downward spiral, civilization is currently in a positive state and has been progressing for centuries thanks to the ideals of the 18th century Enlightenment.