Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
The following is an email interview with two of the anonymous grrrls who run Swassip, enjoy!
Why did you decide to start this blog? How much do ya’ll love Gossip Girl?
swassipgrl: Professionally speaking, we started it because there’s clearly a need for multiple forums (including LAL and Swattie Bodies) for students to express themselves (romantically, corporeally, or – here – rancorously) anonymously outside of an academic setting. On the real though, one of our friends was bummed, so we brought Swassip back to cheer them up. Plus, it’s fun to dish out crap. I also don’t like Gossip Girl; whiny wealthy white people on TV generally bore me.
SwassipGrrrl: Why swassip? Because we found ourselves with our eyebrows skyrocketing skyward RE: some perceived shitty situations and wanted to take our grievances public. Because it’s cathartic to shovel crap back at some incongruities in an institution that can sometimes feel like it’s browbeating us. And because this is a place where for better or for worse everyone’s all up in everyone else’s business anyway; at least now (after several theme changes to enable commenting) there’s a forum to interface about our collective gripes. In that sense it’s born of some warped sense of school pride and commitment to (oft-violated) community standards. But yeah. I also hate Gossip Girl as I have no tolerance for TV featuring boring wealthy white people who speak only in horrifically implausible and intolerably whiny dialogue. Also, too much girl hating and slut shaming. Who needs that?
Can you tell us how many people are following you?
swassipgrl: We’ve got a little over 20 followers on Tumblr, but we have a ton of lurkers.
SwassipGrrl: Additionally, if you see something you like, stick it on your friend’s facebook wall or reblog it. Hype us up (or down depending on your feelings on the post). The more people in on this conversation, the more submissions we get, and the more democratized the gossip becomes (lol: democratized gossip. What up Swarthmore!) No but furrrealsies we can’t get a story let alone the other side of a story w/out other Swatties in the know.
What do you do to keep posts interesting but not too revealing? What’s the balance between snark and meanness?
swassipgrl: That’s a difficult thing to manage, to be sure. I try not to write anything that I wouldn’t feel comfortable saying to someone directly. An anonymous contributor got pretty upset with me for using the word “breeder” in a post about the Queer/Trans Party. I would stand by that usage in someone’s everyday vocabulary, though I can see how it can be hurtful, so I was happy to engage in a (brief) dialogue about it. But we’re also not the Justice League, or any delusional version thereof. People submit information to us; we try to handle it carefully and proceed from there. If we ever overstep our boundaries, please contact us.
SwassipGrrrl: That said, we do try to keep things super vague re: identity unless we’re HELLA sure of the sitch and even then, we try and insert the Internet version of a censor bar. The only time we really came at someone we had three separate (and surprisingly detailed) sources going in. And it was a total shit-show. This campus has a mean streak we weren’t prepared to handle. Our post bordered on being unnecessarily mean-spirited, but the comments were a can of worms we were not expecting. Things took a turn for the bullying/slut shaming/generally harassing and we ended up having to take the post down.It was juicy stuff but we handled it inappropriately. From now on, we’re tackling events more than than people. Framing missteps rather than misanthropists. We’re trying to keep unintentional victimization to a minimum. It’s a fine line to walk and we move kinda clumsily from time to time. We really do try and keep in mind that our muses in mortification are actually real students who we like, and who probably have friends who love them. Or at the very least a mom somewhere who loves them. But sometimes that means a policy of “check yourself before you wreck yourself” honesty.
How do you know if the information is true? Do you verify?
SwassipGrrrl: Since people submit anonymously and usually with bunk emails (here’s looking at you firstname.lastname@example.org), we can’t contact them for verification or to ask further questions. As a result we’ve had to sit on a few stories due only to a lack of information. Which brings us back to an important point: we are nothing without submissions that are both plentiful and detailed. We edit asks and submission to include additional information or occlude overly obvious identifiers. But without much info to go on, we just have the little mismatched gossipy tidbits that anyone who regularly eats at Sharples has access to which, while intriguing, make for some solidly yawn-worthy guilty pleasure reading.
What’s your favorite post?
swassipgrl: My favorite post is definitely the Editor’s Note. I learned a lot that day!
SwassipGrrl: I loved Overheard at Pubnite; it’s something we’ve talked about making a more regular installment. Pubnite is such a Swat tradition through and through that Swatties get hilariously unselfconscious (read crazy, happy, [beer]drunk) and say adorable, hilarious things. You just have to keep your ear to the ground. But not actually because it’s gross in there.
Swatties want more gossip! Why don’t you post more often? Is there not enough shit going down?
swassipgrl: We’d love to be able to post more often, but until now we only could expect submissions maybe once every two weeks. Sometimes we have to investigate a little, so our responses are a little delayed. But otherwise, you’d just be reading “Shit SwassipGurlz Say,” which wasn’t the point of the blog. When we’re in a dry spell, we try to round up our gossip sources and get what we can… which usually isn’t fascinating. But we sure try!
What do you think of Swat Memes? Lame? Funny? Super Swat Nerdy?
swassipgrl: Um, they’re fine. When I’m on facebook, I’ll check and see if there’s a new one. I’ve clicked through all of them more than once, but that might be more of a personal problem than a mark of how clever they are. But I’d say they’re about on par with all other college/university memes that I’ve seen around. Except it took us like three tries to use the Fry meme correctly.
SwassipGrrrl: This seems like one of those Swarthmore things that is going to seem a lot more charming as an alum with limited and bumblesome ties to campus, much like sporting a “Swarthmore Academics” t-shirt. Maybe this accounts for the bizarre number of alums haunting the Swat Memes Facebook page?
This is a long shot but, who are you? What can you tell us about your identity?! (You can take this question in a Swattie way and just tell us why you exist as a blog).
We are firm believers in shameless self-promotion. As such, we offer you our own website’s blurb in answer to your question.
***P.S. We found your questions a little on the safe (read: boring) side, so we’ve supplied some of our own and answered them accordingly. Hope you don’t mind!***
Bang, befriend, ban: Sharples Bars edition? [Racy, we know.]
Bang: Caribbean Bar; so spicy… for Sharples. I’m sure if I had IBS, I’d have a few different feelings about it, but so far I love to celebrate and revel in my intestinal health. OH WAIT, crap, can I pick whenever they serve salmon?
Befriend: Indian Bar! I love it, I love it so much. Yeah, it’s not really Indian food, or even a realistic approximation of British food, but I love curries and paneer in any condition I can find them in.
Ban: We’ve only had it a few times, but every time it comes back it makes me mad. PB&J bar? Maybe I’d like it better if it came along with complimentary EpiPens. But, meanwhile, I’d rather not tempt fate. And believe me, I loooove peanut butter. Just can’t enjoy myself while my friend is going into anaphylactic shock.
Bang: Fish Taco Bar, DUH. And not for squicky euphemistic reasons, you fucking pervs. Simply because it so delicious and so maddeningly infrequent that I’d like to make sweet, sweet appreciative love to this bright spot on our culinary lives while it lasts.
Befriend: Mac and Cheese bar feels like it always rolls around on the shittiest days when all you really need is some obscenely delicious combo of tomato, bacon, cheese, and pasta. (Scallions optional). It’s just solidly there for you. In a lot of ways, Mac ‘N Cheese Bar and I are already pretty serious pals. Like, matching BFF necklace level pals.
Ban: Caribbean bar. Since when is okay for fake ethnic food to take over literally every bar?! So weirdly agressive. Except you, Indian Bar; we’re biffles!!!. Love, ya gurlie. (Don’t tell Mac ‘N Cheese about us yet. She seems like the jealous type.)
Our take on other swatblogs? (bodies, between two chairs, LAL, memes)?
Between Two Chairs: Meh. Ooh, is that slut-shaming? Bad job.
LAL: So much self-pity, so little flirting.
Swatmemes: Is there a new one up? Oh. Haha, yeah. Pass the napkins?
What are you wearing?
swassipgrl: I just stepped out of the shower, and I am dripping wet. But I guess my towel might be big enough for two…
SwassipGrrrl: I am a full time student at this school tapping away at my laptop in my dorm room. What the fuck do you think I’m wearing? Hint: My socks don’t match and this flannel was maybe clean two weeks ago. But if one of the guys I’ve been banging asks, um, yeah. Totally what swassipgrl said.