Oh, to be young, tech-savvy, full of hubris, and in desperate need of getting turnt up.
Columbia University students are bugging out over the arrest of a student on drug charges who they say accepted payment through the social payment application Venmo.
Why are they fretting? Venmo is the opposite of cash: every transaction is shared publicly by default. And the requesting party has to write a brief description of the transaction.
In case you forgot the intoxicating stupidity of youth, it's fun to see that Columbia University students are using "the opposite of cash" to pay for illegal drugs.
Just ask any successful financier with a taste for nose candy, the only reason cash is still around is to fuel the economy for illicit goods. Who's teaching Econ 101 up in Morningside Heights these days anyway?
But at least the kids were having fun with the whole "let's build a publicly viewable drug trade" thing.
The alleged dealer is Michael Getzler, a sophomore English major. New York police arrested him yesterday.
Payments to Getzler recorded on his Venmo page had a wide variety of descriptions. “Halal or something funny,” wrote one buyer in a transaction description. Some others: “Kale salad.” "Snoop Dogg's shizzle." One description, "Columbia in 1980s," referred to a cult Columbia stoner film.
Ha ha ha! Veiled insider film references and Kale jokes? You kids are some au currant cut-ups.
But like any gritty crime drama, it seems that the greatest character to emerge from this tale is the drug dealer himself.
Two days ago a student identifying himself as a drug dealer wrote an anonymous op-ed in the Columbia Daily Spectator, saying that he planned to quit dealing after the school's annual concert this Saturday, Bacchanal.
“Weed, edibles, MDMA, coke—I have sold all of these over the past week, in staggering amounts,” the anonymous student wrote. "Several hundred students (and I would call that a conservative estimate) will be smoking my weed this Saturday. There will be more than 100 students rolling on MDMA, thanks to me alone."
Young Master Getzler is any Ive League dealer with emotional depth, like Stringer Bell in Whit Stillman's re-make of The Wire.
And he's also quite a poet.
“Fraternity brothers, artists, athletes, timid first-years (easily discernable by the almost deferential manner in which they speak to me), jaded seniors, GS students, [student council] members, resident advisors, Spectator writers, a couple of my own TAs, and probably someone from every sizable demographic on campus—they have all come to me in the last few days for their various fixes. And I love every second of it,” the student wrote.
“I find something so fulfilling and exciting in being the person that people rely on for fun. ... And yet, despite how exhilarating a ride it has been, I’m calling it quits. ... if any law enforcement group were to turn its focus back on our campus, I would be a top target."
Jay Gatsby Getzler is here for you, diverse panorama of privilege that is Columbia. He's here to show you fun and help you fall in love...even if it's not really love but bad sexual decisions caused by the Molly coursing through your veins.
Well, maybe he's not "here" here.
Narcotics officers arrested Getzler yesterday at 2:40 p.m., according to court records.
Something about Venmo's policy of publicly recorded transactions makes us think that at least he'll have some familiar company very, very soon.