gaudeamus igitur


Before I start boring you with my Feelings™, I’d like to put in a word about the deranged sorority girl email that went viral last week. I think she’s totally fucking hot, and so does my wife.

I like to think I have a unique perspective on this issue: the girl in question is the chair of her sorority; I was social chairman of my fraternity. We both went to ACC schools, both use impeccable grammar, and most of all, both of us make everyone around us suffer under the Tyranny of Fun.

I have spent DECADES of my life trying get people to do stuff, control-freaking my way into big adventures and small get-togethers, road trips, you name it. My efforts have been met with occasionally wild success, but mostly the general feeling that I was trying too hard.

One thing I was pretty good at, though, was the “themed fraternity party”. My particular frat was an odd mixture of the coolest guys at Carolina, the dorkiest spazzes in North America, campus leaders, and bizarre shut-ins. The one constant, as I saw it, was that everyone was basically funny, and participated in Greek culture with equal parts irony and genuine brotherhood.

But we were never going to be any sorority’s first choice; we were lucky to be picked third, past the usual phalanx of old-money houses from Charlotte, Greensboro and down east. Thus, to paraphrase Jane’s Addiction, we may have been skin and bones, we might’ve been pointy nose, but it motherfucking made us try. So when the usual cadre of snorting, guffawing, broke-dicks from our own fraternity lined the wall and made fun of the rest of us for jumping up and down to the Violent Femmes during the Boxer Rebellion Mixer, it made me want to fucking cunt punt them.

So yes, this sorority president from Maryland is a guttermouth rage-aholic who needs sensitivity training regarding “retarded” people and “faggots” (two words and ideas I extincted from my worldview in the late ’80s), and yes, her views on Mexicans will probably keep her out of the California Senate, but let me tell you this: SHE’S TOTALLY RIGHT.

Disregard the profanity and ask yourself: what is she really saying? It’s so easy to make fun of someone utterly wound up in their microcosms – but she would ask, as would I, exactly when are we supposed to stop caring about our immediate environment? How is “not giving a shit” working out for you?

Her language may be common and vulgar, but her theme is universal: Andrew Marvell said it to his coy mistress in 1650, Robert Herrick advised it to his virgins, even Horace, around 23 BC, told us: Nunc est bibendum, nunc pede libero pulsanda tellus (“Now is the time for drinking; now we dance barefoot upon the earth”).

She is carping her motherfucking diem, and we should all be so lucky to have someone in our lives giving such a damn. Those who can’t remember the past may be condemned to repeat it, but those who condemn the present will have nothing to remember.


the Lodge, April 1987 – I’m near the bottom right, leaning back on The Budster


9 thoughts on “gaudeamus igitur

  1. Jody

    I finally got the chance to study this story in some detail yesterday afternoon and concluded that, yes, she is astonishingly hot. The other immediate thought was that I had done exactly the same thing to someone just a few hours before…not because I was just being my usual asshole self (that’s far more insidious and personal) but because THAT’S WHAT IT GODDAMN FUCKING TOOK TO MAKE THEM PAY ATTENTION AND GET THAT SHIT STRAIGHT!!!! After making the more insightful and reasonable appeal first, of course.

  2. Ian

    Exactly! I was going to say that too: she struck just the right tone in order to keep her culturally-numb sisters from glossing over the email out of habit.

  3. Piglet

    I want to hear Morgan Freeman perform this speech. Now.
    I want to hear Samuel L. Jackson do it in his Pulp Fiction persona, substituting it for Ezekiel 25:17. “And you shall KNOW that I AM the sorority PRESIDENT whan I shall LITERALLY CUNT PUNT you for being totally WEIRD and AWKWARD!”
    I want to hear Alec Baldwin berate the realtors of GlenGarry Glen Ross with it: “Fuck you, that’s my name. Because tonight’s event is for closers.”
    Here: This will do for a starter.

  4. Matt

    That email exemplifies why during college I avoided everything Greek like it was cholera. Except for gyros, which are so freakin’ delicious they’re almost worth contracting an infectious disease. But the Greek system is a world I just never understood.

  5. Eric g.

    Where to begin with that Pledge Formal picture? Greenhill looks like the lost member of Joy Division; Drew looks like he’s fourteen; I just finished crying after seeing Baker; Mezei and Beeler look like they were photoshopped in from a USC volleyball fundraising calendar; Chuck Brown appears to have the world’s largest zit on his nose; who’s in the glasses in the back? Did Mumford miss the neckwear memo? Who is that at the far lowest right?


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