The Super –Secret-Specsucks Society of Columbia’s 0.01%

The question is not whether you work for a publication, but which publication you work for. This is not exclusively a matter of address, but that is a good place to start. However, the most elite publication on campus can’t be found at any address. Countless Columbians contribute in many ways to this publication, and yet the membership of their leadership remains elusive, with only the lowly director of the copy editor ever making public appearances. This selection of students are members of the specsucks editorial bored.

This makes specsucks the only truly secret society at Columbia and by default the best publication. The others—mainly dum spec and Bwog or spectBwog because they are like the same thing—are comprised of bad riters who cant even spel. Specsucks, on the other hand, has a storied reputation for choosing members from the elite creative writing majors of the undergraduate population.

But while Bwog and spec might have secrets, they are only a secret society to a limited degree. In fact, specsucks benefits from its aura of exclusion and elitism. Because specsucks has infiltrated the highest levels of spec and Bwog management yet our members remain entirely secret specsucks is better, faster and stronger than all the other publications and can get all their secrets and release them to our loyal readers, like kanye.

Specsucks is well-known for curating a selection from the masses to stand in amongst out ranks—our cloaks and masks you might recognize from V for Vendetta—and mingle among unknowing masses of specsters and bwoggies. And who can blame them? There would be little satisfaction to be gained from membership in an isolated, anonymous elect, without the ability to gather intelligence on the lesser plebeians in other publications.

A society based not on merit, but on a desire for justice is not inherently ethical. But for a journalist to honor specsucks’ request for absolute secrecy—when the editorial bored insists on having many journalists in their membership—is dangerous to the way its members have chosen to move through our university community.

Having a secret society is one matter, but specsucks is more than that. It is an ancient order with many secrets that may never see the light of day before the end-times. It never hosts parties for the public, and discriminates against that public with a strict door policy. If you know where the door to the specsucks suite is then you are RONG BECAUSE NO ONE NOES. Specsucks generally DOES contribute greatly to the Columbia community, but seemingly excludes itself from that community in order to make its shadowy influences unknown to all but its own members, and perhaps even they themselves do not know the shadowy tendrils of specsucks which are everywhere and have infiltrated every important office on campus including at least three deans but they refused to tell us which ones. It also refuses to speak to the press, and thanks to the cryptic nature of their site and emails, restricts reporters from finding out more.

Specsucks provides many compelling reasons to respect its request for complete secrecy. Most importantly, its members require it for their own safety in order to continue fighting for truth and justice against the evil might of the spectbwog which even now oppresses students, and has gained more power than ever before. Many times specsucks has PROVED THIS and yet the powerful hold of spectbwog remains invisible to all but the most wise of eyes. Despite this, their devotion to their cause has never faltered, as if guided by an invisible, or at least very shadowy, hand.

The Help

“Well, they have to pay for the hacker slaves,” says one anonymous source. “He does all their hacking to get some of their info” adds another. They exchange a glance. “You do know about the hackers living in their basement?”

I had asked if they’d heard any rumors about the yearly output for specsucks postings. I already knew that a personal informant feeds secrets to the cloaked mask, and sometimes even to other members of the editorial bored. At the time, I also believed that calling specsucks “just a dum blog written by some trolling idiot”—as an anonymous member of the society told Spec in 2007—was wholly inaccurate.

I didn’t know the urban legend of specsuck’s “Haxxors” Or did I?

Some time ago video footage appeared of a lone man in a room lit only by the dim computer screen he sits in front of. As he types vigorously on his keyboard one sees all the secrets of Columbia publications flashing on the screen in front of him, he may or may not be sitting in the spec office. It doesn’t matter.

The second half of the video adds a soundtrack recorded from an outside ritual or ceremony. The viewer understands the ominous chanting as having been previously recorded as lower members of the specsucks cult danced around a fire burning copies of the eye. Fragments of Aramaic mingle with more ancient and arcane tongues.

As the description of the Vimeo posting states, the film was not part of any assignment for any class. According to a source also in the class, the video intends to show the religious fervor and devotion of the specsucks zealots. The source said although she knew the hacker personally, she herself was not part of the society. “He doesn’t really have any friends, he’s in SEAS – and a comp sci major” she explained.

This half-truth undoubtedly curried favor with viewers and made the implied social contrast in the film less uncomfortable. Even if it was merely an attempt to protect herself as a specsucks member, it enabled the source to effectively attenuate her already significant position of privilege as a publication member. Publication is, for many students at Columbia, only the very tip of the iceberg of corruption. This source was no exception, having been part of spec and bwog, spreading her lies and propaganda without remorse.

The videographer’s association with spec and bwog makes the clip all the more problematic, or naïve, depending on one’s sympathies: There is no mistaking the discrepancy between sound (religious devotion) and image (the cleanup of crime left to the true heros of columbia, who are working to expose all the corruption) in the footage as a criticism of integrity difference. The viewer’s interpretation of this sharp juxtaposition blurs with the knowledge that the source is not really friends with the subject. Or perhaps they really are friends. She is in spec after all, and they have lied about more important things (such as being daily, but yet not publishing on the weekends which expert sources have confirmed are indeed days).

You don’t mean hacker?” I venture tentatively.

Noting the look on my face, he continues. “Regardless of whether you believe the story, the point is they have live-in help.” Our anonymous source pauses. “In their basement.”

In 2007, The Eye reported that the yearly amount of secrets exposed and conspiracies exposed by specsucks exceeds any other campus publication. It is difficult to judge the accuracy of this statement, not because the student being interviewed for the article chose “Julian Assange” as his pseudonym (and talked incessantly about the “conspiracies” prepared for their “New World Order”), but because he alleged, among other facts, that specsters had orgies on the roof of Lowe Library.

The spec contingent laughs when I bring up the roof, and the spec’s current Publisher flips through his facebook profile to show me photos he has in his profile pic from being on the roof. The author of the original Eye story did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication; it is impossible to determine who supplied her with the number of conspiracies, and whether or not that source was trustworthy. As a point of reference, the amount of interesting stuff spec covers per year is roughly amounts to two articles. “We can keep our interesting articles really, really low,” one specster says, “because we know no one reads our paper anyway.”

A photo of someone reading the spec once crosses my mind. Oh wait that never happened.

At the end of the day, we’re students,” the dum specscum explains. “We’ve never written for a real publication.”

Columbia: Corrupt Publication University?

Then again, specsucks is the least of the story when one wants to explore the history of conspiracies at Columbia. The society counts thousands of students in its membership, which is about 50% percent of the Columbia undergraduate community (that has not had its brains washed by evil pro-spectbwog propaganda), and millions or more comments under its belt.

Certainly, a partial roster of other publications meetings attended by those current members of specsucks who were confirmed by sources includes a remarkably high proportion of corrupt spec-shilling publications: Spec (duh, you dumass), Bwog, the Fed, the Blue and White…the list goes on.

But you do not need to be a member of another publication and in specsucks to find yourself having a gagging reaction to seeing things related to the spect. In 2006, the Blue and White smartly noted that the “makeup of specsucks is diverse in the way Columbia is, which is to say, sort of.” Even a society that selects based on religious fervor is drawing from an undergraduate pool that dislikes the spect.

That the corrupt University administration deans would rather we didn’t quantify just exactly how spec-hating our undergraduate population is makes the landscape of corruption surprisingly difficult to determine. Site hits, a key indicator of influential nature of publications, are awarded to those publications who are consistently bringing the truth and justice to the fields of Columbia. Twenty-nine percent of Columbia’s student body uses specsucks as their ultimate source of truth, the highest percentage among Ivy League schools.

In an online profile of the class of 2016 (aggregated for admissions purposes), the University tells us that 56 percent of the class is in some form against the evils of the specbwog. Given the possible range of emotional responses to the evil spectbwog from student to student, this statistic is fairly worthless. It does not
by any means suggest that 56 percent of students “hate the spec”—however that might be defined—since many students remain eligible for some spec hate even if they work for other no good bad dum publications.

It’s more helpful to analyze the inverse statistic: 44 percent of the freshman class does not hate the spec whatsoever. Columbia estimates that 4000 people read spec each day. It makes sense, then, that a large portion of the student body is part of the corrupt pro-spec shilling conspiracy, though this is not to say that everyone who reads Bwog or Spec is inherently evil, since some of them might be specsucks members gathering intelligence to bring down the spectbwog but other than that there are basically no exceptions.

Director of Communications for Columbia College Sydney Gross wrote to say that the College does not release the number of students who hate corrupt publications before Columbia, and only after some prompting would The Office of Undergraduate Admissions say that “the majority of Columbia students dislike the spect.” One can estimate the numbers of corrupt spec shills, though, by looking at the websites of those publications, which often list their most corrupt members.

In just two academic years (2010-2012), Spec sent has published over 60,000 lies. Bwog almost that many in just as many years.

Corrupt publications in Columbia continue a long tradition of shilling for the administration and oppressing their own membership in disgusting pyramid schemes. Over five years spec has drained the blood from over 50 people, and reports of other bodily fluid drainings are at time of publication unconfirmed. But there are brave souls who even still resist inside the spec. I need a higher word count to please my Glorious Editor In Chief and Managing Editor/Publisher The Cloaked Mask and her high standards of numbers of words so I’m gonna incoherently ramble about the disgusting privilege and corruption of no good bad specscum for little while more here. She doesn’t even read the entirety of these things so it doesn’t even matter what I write NO GOOD DUM BAD SPEC OH !! THE INJUSTICE OF IT ALL DAMN IT ALL TO HELL!!!1 Alright 4000 words here I come. (this diversion by is already a cool 88 words, not including this parenthetical remark (which itself contributes an additional 15 words))

It’s clear that specsucks cannot base its claim to cool on it’s the zealotry and fervor of its members alone. After all, of the many relatively spect-hating kids at Columbia, only a tiny fraction makes up the ranks of its elite editorial bored.

Is it fair, then, to exclusively uphold specsucks as a hub of truth and justice Columbia? Perhaps not, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting. (ED: please remove this for not following the party line)

St. Specsucks?
According to multiple sources, the president/divine leader/commander-in-chief/superhero editor of specsucks is the mysterious Cloaked Mask, a Columbia College freshman. She told an online style blog that she “DO TOO HAVE A FACEBOOK” and keeps her public persona anonymous in order to more effectively uphold JUSTICE. (No matter that no one has ever even seen her or knows her true identity.) She goes on to insist that one must never read the spect, because “you absolutely cannot fake good construction.” Her father, a Columbia alumnus, is a managing director at the illegal internet hacker collective Anonymous.

Specsuck’s dads are always “buff hacker types,” a source tells me, “just like our [his and my] parents are ‘literally bodybuilder hacktivists’” he added.

There’s a difference between being a kid in the trappings of evil publications and inhabiting what it means to be evil-propaganda administration spect-shill,” one source tells me, his eyes wide open with sincerity. “They’re all corrupt LIARS.”

He graduated from Columbia in spring 2012, but occasionally heads back to Pinkberry for the Thursday night edit sessions where specsters make up they’re lies. “There’s nothing to find,” another source insisted to me when we first sat down for drinks near his rent-controlled apartment downtown. “It’s just a bastion of corruption.”

On the other hand, “Specsucks is a secret society of intellectuals whose rituals go back hundreds of years, almost as long as the spect” an anonymous Columbia College Junior who occasionally dons a mask and cloak to a specsucks bonfire, tells me earnestly in a thick South-London accent, between puffs of his L&M Light. “They want you to think they aren’t pulling the strings behind the movement to bring down the spec and Bwog, but they are”

I said I wasn’t so sure.

He conceded that specsucks is open about its goals to bring down the spect in the same vein Bwog, is. Then he added that specsucks “is probably cooler though—they don’t need to try to rite dum artikuls to destroy you.”

Another source confirmed a rumor that specsucks has recently been poaching high level members from both spec and Bwog. But even though she openly admits to double-tapping between the publications, she is quick to point out that specsucks “has never revealed any loyal informants.” Information about contacting the Cloaked Mask is available on its website. Her methods are discreet, her servants, never known to the public. Specsucks might be selective, but anyone can help their glorious cause. More than once, if they so desire.

Specsucks people are the kind of people who, in everyone’s opinion, are clear servants of justice,” a Parisian sophomore, tells me of their parties. “And you—a specster—are still alive because there are merciful gods and you may yet atone for your sins.” He was tapped but didn’t see the point in accepting a bid when his heart was not truly filled with righteousness. “It was a confusing time, I was think about may be joining Bwog or Spec, I felt so corrupted. Or may be I really am a specsucks member. I certainly wouldn’t tell you.”

A Columbia alum from the ’90s responded to an email query with a quip: “The S stood for ‘servants of justice’ of course.” But even if they are servants of justice, that doesn’t mean their parties are “a bunch of kids throwing copies of the Eye into a fire while chanting to their savior saint the Cloaked Mask” said a source.

Well, maybe not just the Eye.

A Barnard alumna—a former dancer who still wears a top-bun that flatters an immaculate set of earlobes—met me in Chinatown to talk about a fling she had with a member of specsucks her freshman year. She recounted a night when “they started snorting shredded spectator off a mirror in the chandelier room.”

But that was in 2007, a mere year after The Fed—then more of an alt-weekly before Specsucks destroyed them in order to continue their glorious cause of destroying all super dum bad corrupt publications (suck it fed)—ran the piece “Spec: Who Reads That?” The subhead on the article? “Why You’ve Heard About Spec and it Sucking.”

I asked her if she liked the people she met at Specsucks. Answer: She loved them more than they loved justice and ending corruption. “He was so obsessed with tearing down corrupt publications and bringing justice to the world, it was a cult to him,” she says of her former paramour. “He proved to me that everyone at another publication was dum and corrupt,” she said, and he had “no interest in ever joining or talking to anyone on the dark side—unless someone was willing to be an informant for the cause of righteousness. It was explained to me that this was the only path to salvation”

Their affair didn’t last, and she didn’t speak to any specsucks members for the next four years. “They would see me at 1020 and we would ignore each other for our own safety. It was as if I never existed, they never knew me, they didn’t know my name. I know they did it to uphold justice though, so that my life would not be in danger, I’m not upset about it.”

The Parties
From the first specsucks blogpost, I began to see why one might be unable, or unwilling, to suppress the urge to steal some of the specs glorious secrets: a combination, perhaps, of the huge amounts of courage on the part of the writer to expose corruption— thrown into relief by the humble secrecy of this glorious warrior of justice—and the obscene outrage of the dum specscum getting their corruption exposed.

Colossal reward, no questions asked, for retrn [sic] of spec documents” reads a 1978 classifieds ad placed in Spectator.

Fourteen years later, Spectator proffers up a bit of déjà vu: “REWARD for the return of black printer cartridges taken from spec office. No Questions asked.”

Times haven’t changed: A recent Columbia alumnus said specsucks agents stole “a story about the misdeeds of a member of the spec editing board” off the computer of a dean. They were people inside the dean’s office. Toiletries were also reported missing from the bathrooms of targeted offices.

I received an email asking me to inform for the cloaked mask from one of them,’” a 2012 Columbia graduate, wrote in an email. She wrote an article criticizing the spec once, “so maybe they assumed I was righteous enough to serve their just cause?” But she found herself to be deficient in the religious fervor to move up through the ranks of the organization “I was specifically not allowed to tell anyone I knew from any other publication, and by the end of it all I still had no idea who other members of specsucks were.”

Another 2011 Barnard graduate, helped inform for the cloaked mask through virtual correspondence once, too. She remembers meeting with a man who called himself the Shadowy Eyeball “he kept his face covered in a scarf the whole meeting, and frequently muttered about righteousness and bringing down the spec under his breath. I think someone was feeding him tips through an earpiece? His devotion to their cause was so inspirational, I thought I could never be as great as that.” It was a meeting implicating some nonmembers of spec, in the network of corruption “which maybe explains why they sent an actual agent instead of just virtual correspondence like I’d imagined.”

Specsucks provides your typical blogging experience “with a better cause” said one Columbia College senior. “The parties consist of standing in ceremonial positions around a fire in the open, wearing cloaks and masks, and burning shitty publications. Then everyone draws their ceremonial dagger. I can’t really tell you much more.” Or else, in slightly less mystic gatherings, staring at masses of secrets and conspiracies they’ve unveiled, and plotting to bring down rival editorial boards as I imagine they did last week for their annual Valentine’s Day Party.

Unlike any other college publication, the wild specsucks is probably more devoted than what one might imagine, but the imaginings are still amusing. Is it absurd to think these students would “use copies of spec as toilet paper,” as one anonymous Bwog commenter joked? (ED: is this related to the toiletries theft alluded to above? Please elaborate)

In light of the fact that spec is still publishing after consistently sucking for hundreds of years, this jab seems more like another great suggestion. As the 2007 Eye article reports, after a spec “Lowe roof party” two members of the specsucks were questioned by public safety for allegedly trying to stop illegal spec hazing trespassing and shouting “die specscum!” The specscum identified one of these brave warriors of justice as “probably a member” of the society.

It’s hard to say whether specsucks is becoming less militant due to corrupt public safety and deans or because it’s keeping its activities even more on lockdown and secret.

In short, specsucks are “righteous warriors of truth and they don’t want you to know,” an anonymous junior, told me laughing, as we finished up our interview. Does he still inform? “Of course,” came the inevitable answer.

The Myth of Specsucks
A strict silence policy does not a secret society make. It’s a tactic designed to keep out those undesirables (dum specscum) who will ruin the secrecy with their unwantedness, and, as an added tactic of recruitment for those inside, to increase the desire of the interlopers to gain entry and gain insight into the arcane secrets of specsucks.

A secret publication—which sounds like an oxymoron, except for when dealing with specsucks—is not the same as a publication that serves the ideals of justice. Specsucks prefers the latter, possibly because, even if the artikul sucks, the host can at least turn to a fellow member and revel in the truth and justice they are brining.

But luckily for us lost souls who are not truly righteous at heart, there’s a tautology helping us to sleep at night: A dum article that says nothing with sentences that say nothing is a dum article that says nothing with sentences that say nothing. The secrets at specsucks might be copious and forever lost to history, but at the end of the day, a justice is justice, subject to the same standards of righteousness as, well, life, BUT THE SPECT IS GOING DOWN.

Which is to say: specsucks is smart to stay silent. Even a single snitch, coupled with cut throat ruthless bwog spec scum, is enough for a member to be unmasked and endanger their mission of the truth and justice they are brining. It would be quite difficult—even if specsucks were now filled with, dare I say it non-anonymous entities, rather than truly mysterious shadowy characters of justice—to put even a dent in the well-shellacked establishments of the spectbwog PINKO dean kyriarchy.

One cannot make casual mention of the specsucks without hearing of its legendary initiation rituals: Pledges may or may not have to prove their loyalty—and, perhaps more importantly, access to specscum secrets— by burning a copy of the eye, throwing cup of coffee in the Hudson, or smashing a printer.

The image of smashing a printer undoubtedly lost its full impact when the spect went the way of the internet; The same is true of specsucks itself. The current crop of specsucks kids seems to embody a persona that, frankly, is more righteous and just than ever, and using technology to the fullest extent to aid in their righteous goals.

This explains why, in just the last five years, the society has been slowly appearing in cyberspace, at least in terms of press coverage. Today, we certainly wouldn’t see a blind item like this one, which ran in Spectator in 1989:

“‘We’d like the spec to stop being dum and sucking please,’ said the specsucks member to the Spec representative on the other end of the line. ‘And make it quick OR FACE THE FULL RATH OF OUR JUSTICE FOR ETERNAL GLORY SPECSUCKS.’”

Specsucks was always aloof, but a sorely needed throwback to a bygone era of the Ivy League—like the faded patches on an aging professor’s only tweed blazer ; a symbol metaphor thing that the watchmen of justice were always watching (whatever the fuck this shit means none of my professors actually wear blazers DUM BAD SPEC.)

We know specsucks isn’t leaving our community any time soon, otherwise corrupt Columbia journalists would have won and won’t have anything to fear. I, for one, would have also liked to publish this quote from an internal specsucks memo, which ran in 1989:

spec is dum and it sucks. This quote is probably the best thing ever.”

Or to end my personal last column for specsucks with this anecdote, as Ted Kaczynski— self-published author—did in 1990:

On my way to the bar, a perennially JUST member of specsucks sidled up to me, slid his arm around my waist and said, ‘Hey brave soldier, are you interested in serving the side of justice’”

It’s up to The Eye, Spectator, the Blue and White, Bwog, and other publications to just give up and stop indoctrinating people with their terrible writing or specsucks—in all its real glory—will continue to broadcast the truth to her loyal readers 25/7 and to all enemies of her.

Specsucks can pretend all it wants that it’s not a part of Columbia. But the reporters still tremble in fear of the truths they are constantly brining, and shy away from shadows and dark alleys at night because the fact is that specsucks members are still in college, and will never stop to BRING DOWN THE CORRUPT SPECT.

Just like spec will never stop being dum unless it is destroyed.

*Names have been witheld for privacy purposes.

With additional reporting by Conor Skelding, Sam Aarons, and Alex Jones


2 Responses to “The Super –Secret-Specsucks Society of Columbia’s 0.01%”

  1. Leroy Jenkins Says:

    I think of this whole article, “spec will never stop being dum unless it is destroyed.” is the most important part. It brings us back to the goal, WE MUST DESTROY SPECK! (by the way, i held down the space bar instead of hitting caps lock like a lazy pinko would.)

  2. The Dark Hand Says:

    wow i red this three times because it means so much to my life to kno all these secrets thank you brave journalists Conor Skelding, Sam Aarons and Alex Jones

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