Public Safety officers responded Sunday afternoon to reports of a mass pharbing (see footnote [1]) on Eastman Quad. The origin of the harrowing events was traced to members of WRUR, the University radio station,who were discovered on the scene playing Phoebe Bridgers songs through a pair of large speakers in front of Morey Hall. The suspects denied any wrongdoing and claimed their presence was part of a scheduled Music on the Quad event.

Bridgers, whose music frequently headlines Spotify’s “sad girl starter pack” playlist, made her debut with the 2015 single Killer and has since developed a fanbase with a reputation for rabid devotion and depressive emotion. Her second studio album, Punisher, garnered four Grammy nominations, although a true pharb will tell you her most significant work is almost certainly her appearance on the Minions: The Rise of Gru soundtrack. Which I can confirm, being myself a—

Me? Pharbified? Pfft.

I’m sorry. That was a breach of professionalism. Where was I? Oh, right.

In the days following the event, first responders painted a stunning picture of the chaos [2]. At first, says one officer, the area was shrouded in silence. Although the quad was abuzz with students only seconds before the incident, by the time Public Safety arrived, all that could be heard was the sound of Phoebe Bridgers’s “Funeral” emanating from a table set up by WRUR for Music on the Quad, distorted by the wind and the just-audible sobs of pharbified students crying in the bushes. However, when the victims were approached, they suddenly grew animated and began recommending the entire Phoebe Bridgers discography to anyone in a 20-foot radius. This unexpected turn of events led to the additional pharbification of at least five DPS officers and two bystanders, prompting the University to send out an AlertUR message urging evacuation of the area.

In the aftermath of the attack, UHS is treating pharbification as a communicable disease and recommends earplugs and social distancing to avoid accidental exposure. The guidance has been criticized, however, with detractors pointing out that social isolation is, in fact, widely known as a cause of pharbification. Administration, meanwhile, expressed concern that the rise in pharbification would lead to a decrease in school spirit. “Already, we’re seeing less and less of the University colors around campus,” reads a bizarre, rambling email sent out to the student body on Wednesday. “It’s all being replaced by those GOSH DARN SKELETON HOODIES.”

Amidst the confusion, the Campus Times reached out to WRUR for a statement on the allegations. This yielded a single line of text from internal general manager Alex Junquera ‘24: “this is impossible as nobody in WRUR has ever listened to phoebe bridgers.” A cursory search through archived broadcasts proved this to be categorically false, and when pressed on the matter, Junquera refused to cooperate and cut off all communications.

Finally, CT interviewed a longtime pharb (who requested anonymity in this time of crisis) in an effort to gain insight into the pharb lifestyle. The interview confirmed what is widely known — the natural habitat of a pharb is in seclusion, typical pharb behaviors include knitting, nostalgic reverie, and pining for Phoebe Bridgers, and at least seven are required to screw in a lightbulb — but also brought new revelations, such as the pharbist ambition for the word “pharb” to be immortalized as “an awesome Fortnite dance name. Or like a cool Pokémon.” The interviewee also had a message for the unpharbified: it will happen to you [3]. “Judgment day is coming. Or,” they added after a moment’s consideration, “therapy.”

Lastly, they told me I should listen to the new single from Bridgers’s side project Boygenius. Which I did. Purely for research purposes, of course. But it’s quite good. You should listen to it. Incidentally, have you heard of Better Oblivion Community Center? And there’s this lovely little album called Stranger in the Alps—


Investigations are ongoing.


[1] See “pharbification” on Urban Dictionary.

[2] The picture, a rare show of artistic talent from DPS, has been hailed as “profoundly moving” and is currently on display at Sage Art Center.

[3] Remarkably, this bears a strong resemblance to certain lies I was told in middle school sex ed.

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