Jesse Blumenthal's satire on American defense policy won him 78% of the audience's vote for Best Idea.

On Thursday night, the Forum hosted its second annual Idea Night at the Athenaeum.  Idea Night features twelve minute presentations by CMC students about various serious or semi-serious suggestions they have to improve the world or the College.  This year attendees heard about the flaws with financial modeling, the need for a J (January) Term, the importance of fine tailoring, and a radical rethinking of defense policy.  After all four had given their presentations an instant vote via text message was conducted to determine the winner.

Jesse Blumenthal ’11 won Best Idea with 78% of the vote.  Blumenthal presented a less-than-serious case for why the America needs finally to fight a war that is profitable by invading the most logical target: Canada. His hilarious, though semi-serious presentation of the pros and cons of the invasion had most of the crowd laughing from the very beginning.

Zac Robin's proposal was for CMC to adopt a "J-Term."

At the height of his presentation, Blumenthal argued we have a moral obligation to liberate Canada from a foreign despotic ruler, as a picture of Queen Elizabeth flashed across the screen.

While other speakers had good ideas, none combined humor with their argument as well as Blumenthal did. Kevin Burke ’11 gave a solid presentation on the ridiculousness of financial modeling, but likely would have faired better facing an audience with more Finance majors in it. Zac Robin ’13 offered an interesting idea for creating a J-Term during winter break that would make a more productive use of students’ time rather than simply sitting at home and doing nothing. While he had prepared a detailed powerpoint for his proposal, it was perhaps a little too detailed, and he occasionally got lost in it.  Connor Barclay ’13 discussed the importance of fashion and the fashion of people around CMC, but probably lost many people after making numerous disparaging comments about people wearing athletic shorts around North Quad.

The Athenaeum provided a better than average meal for the event.  The main course included charbroiled short ribs that had been cooked at an appropriate temperature so that it easily fell apart with a fork.  The short ribs were accompanied by mashed potatoes and sautéed green beans—a welcome vegetable for the many off the meal plan seniors who attended the event.  For desert, the Athenaeum stayed fairly conservative with a strawberry cheesecake that was a nice end to the meal.

Idea Night was a dazzling experience, an enjoyable event for everyone who attended.  Let’s hope that it continues to be a tradition in the future.



  1. Is the forum going to post videos of the event? I missed it and would love to be able to watch!

  2. Barclay should have destroyed some of the bros at CMC that think it’s cool to wear the cutaway lifting tanks around. Just fyi, from an actual athlete…it makes you look like a tool.

    • I like this guy.

      Honestly, I am surprised how much attention my quip about athletic shorts received. Don’t get me wrong, athletic shorts definitely have a place at CMC: in Ducey. My point was solely that they’re called “athletic” shorts because they’re meant to be worn while doing “athletic” activities, and no, ladder golf in North Quad does not count.

  3. The presentations were good – but it was the dessert that made that event worth it.

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