‘Who can point to the principle of brotherhood that forced alcohol consumption fulfills? Is it constructive to have associate members poison themselves under the guise of a “bonding experience which will make them closer in the end?” Alcohol is not the only thing that should be withdrawn from the pledge process – paddling, humiliation and servitude come to mind…’

UD applauds Daniel Muehring, a Southern Methodist University student, for posing the crucial question about pledgicide.

What’s the principle of brotherhood behind torturing, humiliating, and killing your brother?

I think the answer to the question is implicit in Muehring’s mistaken use of the term “constructive.” He assumes that the pledgicidal motive is constructive, when of course it is destructive. This is the reason Andrew Lohse correctly identifies ritual behavior in many fraternities with “a biker gang.” Both cults like to hurt themselves (body scarring, alcoholism, reckless driving, gun-play, fights) and to hurt others; both constitute a brotherhood of mutually voyeuristic sadism. For both, women represent fuckable or non-fuckable scags. In time, both typically drift toward organized crime (several frats over the last few years, with San Diego State’s frat system the standout, have been found to be running high-level, heavily-armed, drug distribution businesses).

Hyper-masculine, hyper-ritualized, sadistic, homicidal, secretive, criminal subcultures are unfortunately common in America; what’s shockingly uncommon is their placement and certification in universities.

UD thinks we should spend less time agonizing about the motives and deep meanings of fraternities and more time asking the following question: Why do American universities allow tribes of undergraduates to reduce the universities themselves to the status of pledges, to whipped and whimpering bodies?

Spooky Mormon…

Hell

Dream

The Rich Diversity of America’s Fraternities

For those who dismiss university fraternity life as simply WASP eighteen-year-olds killing WASP seventeen-year-olds, where have you been? Pi Delta Psi beat one of their pledges to death, and they’re an Asian fraternity.

**************

And hey – GIRLS — we’re just on the brink! The University of Central Florida’s sadomasochistic sisters, Alpha Xi Delta (‘[s]ome of the pledges said things like they “couldn’t wait to be hazed.”’), have been told to stop trying to kill their pledges through the forced consumption of alcohol.

They’re complaining bitterly about their temporary suspension.

But take heart. Once that’s lifted, it’s only a matter of time before you, just like the boys, will be able to kill someone.

To Mark Mr UD’s Birthday…

… a 1962 letter to him from Le Corbusier.

I know – too light to read, plus in French.

You can see it much better if you’re reading
this blog on your cell phone.

Corbu is giving him one of his lithographs.

This one.

*****
UD thanks Joanna Soltan.

Thanksgiving.

One evening on the way back from the spring for some reason I suddenly thought of a break by Bix in Frankie Trumbauer’s record of Singing the Blues that had always seemed to me to express a moment of the most pure spontaneous happiness. I could never hear this break without feeling happy myself and wanting to do something good. Could one translate this kind of happiness into one’s life? Since this was only a moment of happiness, I seemed involved with irreconcilable impulses. One could not make a moment permanent and perhaps the attempt to try was some form of evil. But was there not some means of suggesting at least the existence of such happiness, that was like what is really meant by freedom, which was like the spring, which was like our love, which was like the desire to be truly good…

No wonder mystics have a hard task describing their illuminations, even though this was not exactly that; yet the experience seemed to be associated with light, even a blinding light, as when years afterwards recalling it I dreamed that my being had transformed into the inlet itself, not at dusk, by the moon, but at sunrise, as we had so often also seen it, suddenly transilluminated by the sun’s light, so that I seemed to contain the reflected sun deeply within my very soul, yet a sun which as I awoke was in turn transformed, Swedenborgwise, with its light and warmth into something perfectly simple, like a desire to be a better man, to be capable of more gentleness, understanding, love –


Malcolm Lowry 1909-1957
“The Forest Path to the Spring”

Ban…

laptops.

The Staff of Life…

… in Adelaide.

‘[A] school already serving probation has reinforced its scofflaw reputation by having basketball coaches implicated in a bribery scheme documented by FBI surveillance.’

A writer could almost envy Louisville’s sports journalists. The whores, the bribery, the coaches, the chiseling ex-president – it’s almost too good. Tim Sullivan takes full advantage, in passages like this one:

At a time when it has been absolutely essential for [the University of Louisville] to be beyond reproach, it appears to have strayed beneath contempt. Lecturing the NCAA Committee on Infractions on precedent and proportionality from such a disadvantageous position risks being received as the epitome of arrogance and the nadir of self-awareness. It’s like complaining to a cop about being cited for speeding upon crashing into a parked car.

Nice. This is also good:

“At bottom, the penalty the COI imposed is simply unfair,” U of L’s appeal reads. “It wipes away the collegiate careers of numerous student-athletes because they were unwillingly drawn into McGee’s schemes; ignores the University’s efforts to investigate and redress McGee’s misconduct; and imposes one of the most severe sanctions possible – the vacation of a Division I NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, two Final Four appearances and multiple seasons of competition – because of the participation of a handful of student-athletes who did little wrong.”

The problem with this account is that it paints members of the 2013 team as unwitting innocents — this though Powell has described several of them as enthusiastic regulars. At least two of those players – Chane Behanan and Montrezl Harrell – were formally disassociated from U of L for failing to cooperate with its investigation.

If your goal is to depict players as having sex foisted upon them, their active participation could pose a high hurdle.

LOL.

Are you smart enough to graduate from college if you punch someone unconscious ….

… in front of a million cameras on the sidelines of a football game?

Apparently this was too much even for Tennessee State University, which, over the objections of his teammates, has expelled Latrelle Lee.

Two Little Shits from Kentucky

“He’s kind of a neatnik in his yard,” said Skaggs, the co-developer who built Rivergreen 20 years ago. “You’d see all the little clippings sitting in little plastic bags waiting for pickup every week.” Indeed, on a recent afternoon, a black garbage bag filled with yard clippings still sat in Boucher’s driveway in front of his three-car garage…

Like most everyone else in the Rivergreen development, Goodwin told me, Boucher pays in the ballpark of $150 a month for professional landscaping, while Paul insists on maintaining his yard himself. Goodwin said that part of what nagged at Boucher was the difference in grass length between his lawn and that of his libertarian neighbor’s. “He had his yard sitting at a beautiful two-and-a-half, three inches thick, where Rand cuts it to the nub,” Goodwin said.

… Also at issue, according to Goodwin, is Paul’s tendency to mow outward at the edge of his property, spraying his clippings into Boucher’s yard. Boucher, he said, has asked Paul to instead mow inward when near the boundary line, and even sought help from the Rivergreen Homeowners Association but has gotten no relief.

Goodwin recalled picking up Boucher, a devout Catholic, at his home after church one Sunday afternoon several years ago. Boucher had confronted Paul about his yard-maintenance practices a few minutes before Goodwin’s arrival, to no avail, and Goodwin saw Boucher grow agitated as they both watched Paul blow grass onto his lawn. “I’ve asked him and I’ve asked him and I’ve asked him,” Goodwin recalls Boucher fuming. “How long can you sit there taking someone plucking a hair out of your nose?” Goodwin asked. “How long could you take that before losing your temper?”

… But across Bowling Green, sympathy for either man appears to be in short supply. Goodwin described them as “two little shits” who have brought embarrassment upon the town.

***************************

SING IT:

Two little shits from Ken-tucky
Gated and forced to be neighborly
Toxic with masculinity
Two little shits are we!

[YUM-YUM]
Everything is about our lawn! (chuckle)

[PEEP-BO]
Fighting about where our border’s drawn! (chuckle)

[PITTI-SING]
Mow right, or you will be set upon! (chuckle)

[YUM-YUM, PEEP-BO & PITTI-SING]
Two little shits are we!
One little shit who, grasses snipping
Blows ‘cross the line offensive clippings
Must undergo relentless whipping —
Two little shits are we
Two little shits are we!

‘[B]ut, you know, if you look at something like Harvard and Yale, they have an endowment of a combined $60 billion. I mean, that’s an astronomical amount of money. And, in effect, by it being tax free, aren’t we the taxpayer subsidizing these elite universities that are hardly hurting for income? I mean, aren’t we all paying for it?’

Silly girl. “[T]he American people get a great bargain with these endowments.”

“Really what needs to happen is that colleges and fraternities can’t look … the other way and then act all shocked when someone dies,” he said. “For every death there are multiple hospitalizations before that and sexual assaults and horrible behavior. They need to change the environment — it’s a public health issue.”

The carnage is not only unsurprising, as John Hechinger notes; it’s more than acceptable, and a great recruiting tool. Along with a rising death toll, there’s been a “50 percent increase in [Greek] membership in the last decade.” The synergy between colleges and universities advertising campus enclaves where sadists can gather unmolested, and fraternities signalling to the same applicant pool the deeply satisfying pleasures of Men in Groups, has over the years grown and thrived and – most recently – been captured on tape, so the whole nation can now enjoy pausing and repeating over the slaughter of eighteen year olds.

UD sees no reason why we should pretend that this arrangement doesn’t make almost everyone happy. Enough with the faux outrage. Watching grieving parents rage is part of the fun.

Universities advertise blood on the gridiron and blood in the frat house because that’s how you attract a valued demographic. Blood lust makes generous alumni.

*********************

[F]or the University of Michigan, Greek life is a liability.

Renée Graham wrote for The Boston Globe last week that “(f)rom hazing deaths to racist parties, fraternities and sororities are incubators of behavior ranging from objectionable to criminal.” And though I promise I’m not trying to be anti-fun, it’s a compelling argument. When was the last time a fraternity made national news for something even marginally wholesome, not for killing a pledge or hosting a blatantly racist party?

Many students go into Greek life in the fall looking for parties, camaraderie and memories to last a lifetime. A nontrivial number of them, though, appear to find the kind of camaraderie that would leave them to lie on a couch for nine hours, dying from alcohol-induced asphyxiation. I realize universities value the sort of alumni loyalty that’s built at fraternities and sororities, but it’s time to [ban them at Michigan].

This is from a strong and well-written student editorial in the UM newspaper.

But this guy forgets the history of his institution. UM is overwhelmingly football and frats now, and it’s too late to change that.

Snapshots from Home: Coming Attractions, and Boardwalk Attractions.

Les UDs live in Munro Leaf’s house (Leaf’s NYT obituary was written by another Garrett Parker, Ben Franklin, with whose daughter UD went to school); they bought it from his sons. Leaf wrote The Story of Ferdinand, which is about to be released as a major motion picture — and may even be an Oscar contender.

Having grown up just down the street in Garrett Park from the Leafs, UD knew Margaret Leaf a little (Munro had died by the time our families got to know one another). Margaret also wrote children’s books.

Faithful readers know that Les UDs have various memorials to Ferdinand in and around the house – most famously, two topiary bulls in the front yard that children love and dogs love to bark at.

Anyway, what with the film coming out and all, UD has now received two media inquiries about her house from journalists preparing stories about the new film. If anything comes of these inquiries, she will of course link you to it.

************

UD has deep Ocean City roots. Her grandfather, Joseph Rapoport, in partnership with one of his brothers, Nathan, owned several boardwalk businesses and concessions. UD‘s father graduated from Ocean City High School.

Rapoports started buying property in Ocean City in 1905.

Joe and Nathan had a falling out of some kind, and Joe moved (in the ‘thirties? ‘forties?) to Port Deposit, an odd, amazing little town at the foot of bluffs overlooking the wide Susquehanna River, where he bought a department store that did insanely well because not long after he bought it, Roosevelt built a naval training facility a short walk away, and suddenly tens of thousands of people needed a department store. UD has vivid memories of visiting her grandfather at his store in Port Deposit. It’s a successful restaurant now.

Back in Ocean City, Joe’s brother Nathan was becoming legendary – “Mr Nathan,” a local celebrity and benefactor who continued to own property and run concessions for decades.

The boardwalk building Nathan retired to and died in – he lived on the top floor, and the bottom was – is – an ice cream parlor – is now all over the local news. The city has informed Nathan’s granddaughter, who has been leasing it to the parlor for forty years, that it owns the land it sits on, and it wants the Rapoports out of there and the building demolished. The Rapoports don’t really own it (it’s all very complicated: here) and after over a hundred years they need to disappear so the city can take it.

There’s a petition, natch.

I’ll be updating events about the Ocean City Rapoports here.

‘Why is [David] Williams paid so well? It’s inexplicable, according to Tom Fornelli, columnist for SBNation.com, who writes: “[F]or some reason, Vanderbilt’s AD gets more than twice as much as the next-highest paid athletic director in the country [even though] he’s not at a school you’d consider an athletic powerhouse.”‘

Finally, an explanation. He keeps Vanderbilt’s stadium, full of fancy upgrades, free of messy crowds.

FRATOCALYPSE

Ohio State, Florida State, Penn State, the University of Michigan, Texas State, and many other schools are either suspending their entire Greek system or suspending many fraternity chapters. The butcher’s bill is getting a wee bit too high, so time to take a breather before resuming the carnage.

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