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Heartbreaking: UTB Writer Befriends Fictional Scapegoat Character from Their Articles


Photo (with edits) by Ian Ong / The Daily Pennsylvanian and GoodFreePhotos / CC0

Depressing! Opinionated firebrand, well-known narcissist, and scrappy Under the Button writer Ian Ong (E ‘22) (no relation) appears to have done something kind of pathetic: he has totally become best buds with one of the imaginary strawman characters from his articles.

“I originally created the character of Jim Allen — this out-of-touch, impulsive, amoral asshole — to drive home a crucial point: that rich people suck,” Ong said, swishing around a glass of cognac. “But the more time I spent with Jim, the more I realized… you know, we’re not all that different, me and him.”

The two chums have been spotted sharing hors d’oeuvres at some of Philadelphia’s hottest and most exclusive destinations.

“Man, I used to think that Ian only saw me as a literary vehicle for peddling his twisted world view, but he’s actually pretty chill,” Allen said, slurping oysters with his newfound friend. “Also, he’s hot. Like, so hot. Smoking H-O-T.”

How disturbing. But what’s even more disconcerting about this whole thing is that Ong, in his befriending of the fictional, contrived character that is Jim Allen, appears to have lost sight of his artistic vision. He seems to have forgotten that the calling of a UTB writer is, fundamentally, to satirize Penn culture, and not to elope with empty, self-made personages that are merely Penn-adjacent-adjacent. What say he in his defense?

“I’ve had detractors, oh yes, many of them over the years… they criticized my satire, my craft, calling it irrelevant and pretentious,” Ong said, smoking a Belvedere. “But the reality of it is this: how banal, transactional, and lonely must campus life be that I have been forced to indulge in self-parody and avant-garde narratives just for a couple of cheap laughs? Yeah, answer me that, buddy boy.”

Oof, talk about discouraging. Well, at least Ian and Jim have each other in this bleak, unemotional moonscape we call the University of Pennsylvania. Right?

“Look, this stays between you and me,” Ong whispered quickly in my ear. “But the only reason I made friends with this guy was for the ratings. Good Lord, I actually can’t stand him. Damn Whartonites.”

Thanks for reading, folks, and remember to like and share if you want to see more content like this! Haha, just joking. Any more of these, and my editor will have my head on a platter, Haydn-style.