let us recall that the object of American university fraternity sadism is usually human rather than arboreal. And let us note that no matter how far apart one fraternity culture is from another (urban Asian-American, rural non-Asian), the defining commitment uniting them is wanton viciousness toward helpless young men interested in joining their club.

This long New York Times article sensitively evokes the particularities of the immigrant culture from which many members of manslaughtering Pi Delta Psi emerge; yet how striking to see that, however diverse, these young men haze in exactly the same humiliating and sometimes homicidal way – including criminal neglect of the dying – as much more mainstream fraternities.

On May 15, three and a half years after Michael Deng’s death, [his fraternity brothers] Kwan, Lai, Lam and Wong again filed into [a] Stroudsburg [Pennsylvania] courtroom, where dark oil paintings of dead men hung on the walls, framed by dusty red drapes. Just two weeks before, eight brothers who belonged to Penn State’s Beta Theta Pi fraternity were charged with manslaughter in yet another hazing death, this one involving an 18-year-old pledge named Timothy Piazza. The similarities between the two cases — Piazza, like Deng, died after going through something called “the gauntlet” (though physical abuse was not part of the ritual) — brought out more reporters than might have been expected, and as they set up in the hallways of the courthouse, many of the questions were about Penn State.

(Not physical abuse; alcohol abuse. Piazza was basically made fatally drunk.).

One might recall here yet more cultural diversity/brutalization unity in the death of Robert Champion at FAMU… And of course one can name, over the years, yet others.

However different we Americans may be on the surface, we are apparently all one when it comes to deriving collective pleasure from abusing other people until they die.

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