September 28, 2006

The value of greek life

No, not real Greeks. Greek with a small 'g', except at the beginning of sentences.

Luke's little dialogue nicely represents my own feelings on fraternities and sororities:

You didn’t bond over shit. That’s artificial bond-making right there, that’s phony. When you’re so desperate for brotherhood and friendship and “bond-making” that you’d purposefully create stressful, dangerous, sexist, homophobic situations for yourselves that isn’t bonding through anything. If me and you got stuck in an earthquake and fought ourselves out, that’d be bonding. If me and you got thrown in a Turkish prison and gotten out, that’d be bonding. If me and you went through drug or alcohol rehab at the same time, that’d be some bonding.

I think much the same applies to Notre Dame's dorm system -- an undergrad's dorm seems to define her or his social circle to a large extent, and almost all live in the same dorm all four years. Dorms will tend to sit in blocs at football games and in the dining halls, engage in fundraising and host parties, pep rallies, and community service projects. Rumours among the faculty and grad students (who generally regard all this with a sort of low-level horror) include hazing and exam and paper files. In short, pretty much exactly the sort of shit you find in the greek system at most schools -- except, instead of 30-60% of the student body participating, it's nearly 100%.

3 comments:

MosBen said...

Hmmmmm, young kids sorted into groups by an arcane system and forced to live together through school...sounds like something I can throw into my fantasy children's novel!

Luke said...

that's a pretty scary prospect if a majority of students sort of copy that frat mentality. which makes me wonder just how widespread greek/sports-idealizing is in the culture because hazing is so synonymous with the two. reminds me of that news piece a while back where a company got in trouble for basically sexually harassing a female employee during a "rookie employee hazing" ritual...

Noumena said...

running that segue in a direction it didn't actually go: sexual violence (including physical and verbal harassment and rape) is a huge problem here. based on the work one anthropologist has done in her Intro classes here over the past ten years, there's reason to think there are something like a thousand incidents of harassment and rape a year.