Interview: A Sensitive Scholar

CLAUDIA LEONG interviews the insensitive ‘Sensitive Scholar’, whose witty Tab comments are as ubiquitous as bicycles in Cambridge, or Middle Eastern dictators.

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He (or she) is the rude, absurd and funny fixture of The Tab, who’s managed to carve out a name for himself amidst the dog-eat-dog world of this esteemed newspaper’s comments section. Everybody knows who he is, yet still his anonymity remains. A Sensitive Scholar is well and truly a Cambridge legend, but nobody has ever pinned him down before.

Nobody, that is, until now.

So who exactly are you, and why are you such a prolific commenter on The Tab?

I’m just your regular, everyday Cambridge student who wants to go speak out against the system, y’know? I never got to make points of information at Thursday night Union debates since that one time I was thrown out for ‘being a nuisance’ (read: ‘groping Richard Dawkins’). My tutor called me a “deeply troubled young man” and recommended that I join some societies, so The Tab is my choice of artistic expression. I’d like to think of myself as the tortured, misunderstood genius type.

And yet you certainly seem to have ambivalent views about those of us who write for The Tab, don’t you?

Well, for every appearance the delicious Mr Hunter Allen makes on TabTV, there’s half a dozen boring articles about undignified things that Tab writers have decided to ‘try’ for the sake of writing an article, or some dullard blathering on about Varsity lacrosse results. Honestly, I only ever go on this website because it’s my one shot at contacting articulate, intelligent, nubile young men for romantic encounters without receiving a restraining order.

Have you ever considered actually writing for The Tab or infiltrating TabTV, just to get a sense of what it’s like on the other end?

Oh, I’ve been interviewed for the Lola Lo Down before, in a drunken yet sensitive stupor. That’s got you guessing now.

What do you have to say to those who claim that your comments are inflammatory and unnecessarily offensive?

They’re just jealous they don’t receive as many thumbs-up as I do. They’re probably the same left wing liberal dolts who think that Girton is as good a college as Trinity, support the CUSU women’s campaign, and believe that Oxbridge should be more state school than it already is. It’s a pity that so many students around here are like this. I seriously considered going to Oxford instead, because at least the Bullingdon Club retains some social prestige. I mean, the Pitt Club is located above Pizza Express, which is so totally povo. How much more bourgeois can you get? But Oxford are below Cambridge in the league tables and I wanted to study in the same hallowed halls as my hero, Nick Griffin.

Do you think that the anonymity of commenting on Tab articles is what gives you your bravado? I mean, you wouldn’t say crude or sexist comments around the Sidgwick Site now, would you?

Yes, but that’s only because it’s frowned upon by most of the roll-up smoking hipsters around the Casimir Lewy Library. I’ll freely admit that I’m often not a nice person. But I’ve never pretended to be one—that’s more than what most people can say, isn’t it?

Once you graduate, do you worry about going from troll under the [Cam]bridge to water under the bridge?

I might graduate, but believe me, I’m going to stick around on The Tab. As my muse, the illustrious Immanuel Kant, once said: “Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made.” Fancy port and playtime with me, Julius Handler?