Editor’s Note: The following is a letter-to-the-editor we received from Kaiser Sourpuss, a 19th-year Ph.D. candidate in Cornell’s Department for Somewhat Ancient Slavo-Germanic-Hungarian Intralinguistic Studies.***


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ITHACA, N.Y. — Don’t listen to your mayor: The Ithaca Festival is a decadent, hedonistic, provincial ritual that should be immediately abolished.

Personally, I will be spending the duration of the upcoming celebration studying somewhat ancient Slavo-Germanic-Hungarian intralinguistic texts in the basement of Cornell’s library.

But just in case you were thinking of wasting your time with this frivolous affair, I came up with five ironclad reasons to avoid the dreadful festival.

Here they are:

1 — Upbeat music, dancing

There is nothing more useless in this world than music and dancing: What does it do? Who does it help? What possible function could it serve? I’ve never enjoyed either.

Those who succumb to the zeitgeist of their time should be verboten from this academic town. (Bonus points if you know the meaning of either or both words.)

For this reason, you will not find me at Lot 10’s Ithaca Festival Karaoke Competition Thursday night at 9 p.m.; or at Friday’s Sim Redmond Band show at 8:30 p.m. at the Ithaca Farmers’ Market; or at the “Doin it in the park!” dance party in Dewitt Park at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.

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2 — My neighbors, positive community

Yesterday, I ran into my next-door neighbor while I was enjoying Lou’s hot dogs with sauerkraut in Press Bay Alley. All upbeat, acting like he was happy, my neighbor asked me, “How are you Kaiser? Is your research going well?”

What nerve! As if I am obliged to explain my 19th year of research into somewhat ancient Slavo-Germanic-Hungarian intralinguistic studies! Like my neighbor would even understand the difference between a fricative and a dipthong.

This is the biggest reason to avoid the Ithaca Festival: Seeing your smiling, friendly, chit-chatty, amiable neighbors doing “better together.” Bah!

That is why I will not be going to the Ithaca Festival parade tonight at 6:30 p.m. along Cayuga Street between Tompkins Street and DeWitt Park.

3 — Claus off the Commons

It was with dismay that I read in the Ithaca Voice that dogs have been banned on the Ithaca Commons.

This is a major, major problem for me: How else will my beloved dachsund Claus and I attend?

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No, any place that’s not for Claus is not for me.

4 — Pretty girls

Here’s one of the biggest, most under-appreciated risks of going to the Ithaca Festival: You’ll see hundreds, maybe thousands, of pretty girls. It’s absolute torture for 19th-year Ph.D students.

Which reminds me: The best thing about Cornell’s Department for Somewhat Ancient Slavo-Germanic-Hungarian Intralinguistic Studies is that I’m the only member.

Except for Clause, who is — of course — an honorary member.

5 — Funny comedians

This year, for the first time ever, the Ithaca Festival will be putting on a comedy night at Center Ithaca at 7 p.m. on Friday.

“Prepare to laugh as Kenneth McLaurin hosts a showcase of Upstate New York’s best comedians,” Ithaca Festival’s organizers say in a Facebook post.

Haha. Laughing at jokes with other people. Good one.

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*Yes, this is a made-up person and a made-up letter. We’ll see you at the festival!

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Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.