Monday, October 09, 2006

Who Is Pretending?

Our wonderful Loyolan newspaper (motto: Facts are for amateurs) has once again collectively dumbed down the general populace of LMU. Jeremy Tratner's opinion piece, entitled "Stop Pretending To Be What You're Not" (Can you pretend to be something you are?) is an amusing hit piece attempting to attack the Greek populace at large.

While I strongly believe that Mr. Tratner wrote this piece while intoxicated, due to his large pulpit, I felt I'd address some of his concerns about the Greek community here at LMU. Granted, I'd like nothing more to point out that, long term, the LMU Greek system is in deep trouble, but for now let's deal with Mr. Tratner and help him realize that we are not in fact... pretending.

Tratner's incoherent ramblings begin with him trying to figure out why he doesn't like sports. "I have never been much of a sports fan, so perhaps I have not been able to build up immunity to the aggressive tonalities that surround competitive contact sports." Aggressive tonalities? I'm assuming here that Tratner is talking about Greek Week football, where the only tonality you might encounter is a human yell. Yes, strange I know Jeremy, that someone might yell for the ball or to encourage a teammate. But don't you worry, these aggressive brutes will keep their distance and if for some reason they don't, there are power hungry RAs just a few feet away in Hannon. They'll come and save from the onslaught of Greek brutality.

This identity crisis aside, Tratner moves on to the meat of his argument, which is so loony that I have to reproduce it intact: "[LMU] acts as a microcosm and breeding ground for some of the practices and mentalities that prevent our society from progressing. The "progress" that I am referring to is not one of fiscal domination. What I am more concerned with is this notion of affiliation. If one truly questions why they do the things they do, wear the clothes they wear, or drink the beer they drink, for example, they may discover that there are other factors that determine their choices, besides personal preference." WOW. Get all that? Let's go over his two central points:

1. LMU is NOT a microcosm of the real world. If this were the case my dad would be hitting beer bongs on Sunday nights and sleeping through work because he is hungover. College is a unique four years of life that in no way is a microcosm of "life" at large. (At LMU it's even worse than the average college, we're about one prom away from an episode of Saved By The Bell)

2. I choose to do things because it is my goddamn personal preference. His line of reasoning is borderline ridiculous. No one takes my hand, removes my wallet and makes me buy myself an In N Out burger or any other product. Why do I eat In N Out burger- BECAUSE THE BURGER TASTES GOOD. His premise makes my head hurt. Watch how he later attempts to tie it into Greek Life: "These factors are, more often than not, completely detached from the self and, as a result, render an "individual's choice" the same as mere reiteration of a particular group's mentality. With all ambiguity aside, I have been terribly perplexed by this very practice that has been steadfast throughout the duration of my time here at LMU."

Ooo, lots of big and polysyllabic words. Let's get this straight- you are confused by the practice of people who hang out together and who are likely friends, enjoying the same food, clothes and beer? Pass the bong, Cheech.


I think I'll go ahead and comment right after every sentence is in the next passage.

What is a fraternity or a sorority really? (Oh, I don't know Jeremy, a group of close knit friends embracing a common goal? How's that for a start?) Opting not to join one myself, (shut up, stop writing, you clearly are not qualified) I suppose I have not been privy to certain secret information that may perhaps reveal their profound truths. (No shit Sherlock and I don't know what it's like to play in the NFL) But based on observations (we'll get to these later) and my close contact with some "brothers" and "sisters" over the years, it seems that what these organizations offer is a rather confused mess. (Confused mess? I'm familiar with one of those... Do you have an editor for instance?)

This is killing me, but I must continue...

This notion of "brotherhood" or "sisterhood" has been taken to a level where it dances on the thin line of relevance. (In some sororities and fraternities perhaps, not mine) I understand the inclination to achieve these kinds of bonds with another human being. (Oh really? Then once again, spare us) But should they come at the expense of their foundation? (The foundation is BROTHERHOOD AND SISTERHOOD YOU DUNCE) Is that brotherhood or sisterhood formed only after two individuals endure psychological and physical degradation together? (Degradation? Try completing a task as a team. Standing up for a fellow brother. Merit. Honor. Are these words in your vocabulary?) Or after a nominal fee is paid? (Haven't heard that one before)

The stories I have heard about the initiation processes to these organizations are absolutely ridiculous. (Any story you have heard is likely untrue- secrecy is a tenet of most if not all organizations- I once told a guy I had to kill a bear with only a kitchen knife) No one can tell me that eating an extremely hot pepper and vomiting promotes philanthropy. (Um... no. And no one is ever going to say that eating a pepper and vomiting promote anything other than juvenile humor, connecting the two is the work of a sophomoric journalist, not the Greeks) I don't think I would be very mindful of philanthropy if I was being forced to drink all-American urine/water beer. (If you don't like American beer, then you can get the hell out of the country... communist)

Okay, so perhaps that paragraph was a little rough. I'll tone it down.

What boggles my mind most is the fact that the university takes pride in this community above all other extra-curricular organizations or activities. (1 in 4 people on this campus is Greek... do the math stupid) LMU does its best to ensure that once we leave this place we will be able to lead a successful life. (I don't know if they'd go so far as to say you have a future in writing) However, I don't know how comfortable I would feel about myself if I knew that I got a job over another person because I belonged to the same organization as the guy who was behind the hiring desk. (I'd say "Bitchin' thanks for the job, bro") More specifically, I don't know how comfortable I would feel if I was aware that the guy who is hiring me also had to run up a hill at four in the morning while pounding cheap, warm vodka. (I'd shake his hand, admire his willpower and challenge him to a flip cup game)

Hold on folks, we're actually getting to some semi-coherent points here. Back to Jeremy:

All this is not to say that the Greek community on campus does nothing for the greater community-they do indeed participate in many philanthropic activities. (Way to try and cover your ass... pansy) But are you telling me that the primary motivation for joining a fraternity or sorority is to be active in philanthropy? (NO. NO GODDAMMIT, NO ONE IS SAYING THAT, YOU ARE) Once again, be honest with yourselves people. What was the purpose of the competitive nature of Greek Week? (Actually, I'm an ADG, so I'd rather be caught dead than wearing women's clothing and choreographing a kick line, but you didn't include us in your assessment did you?) Philanthropy? (According to Greek Council, that is indeed one of the main purposes of Greek Week, great fact checking Katie Couric) Or was it something else-namely, the preservation of tradition. (Uh, no. The Greek week of old is nothing like the PC garbage we do nowadays) Those age-old institutions of Budweiser, football and the American dream mainfest themselves in fraternities and sororities. (THIS IS UNRELATED TO YOUR PREMISE, LEARN TO WRITE COHERENTLY) My intention is to merely ask people to truly question their affiliations. Is it you or is it them? Who decides for you what is fun? (Who said Greek week is fun? Greek week is many things, but I'd sure as hell hesitate to call it fun- For ADG, Greek week is nothing but another week being an ADG, which is fun- so there)

I wholeheartedly will assert here that I think college is a time for experimentation and discovery. (I'd wholeheartedly suggest discovering some college writing courses)

Is hanging out with the same group of people and excluding the rest of the student body from parties unless they are female very fun? (Hmm... let's see hanging out with ADGs and friends- CHECK; hanging out with girls- CHECK; excluding Loyolan writers with an axe to grind from all further ADG parties- CHECK) I guess it is if you worship the god of hedonism. (Or you have an average testosterone level...)

I can already anticipate people's thoughts about this. I look forward to the many dissections of my words that are about to take place. (Don't give yourself so much credit... this is sort of a verbal bitch slap)

Well there it is. Well done Jeremy, you really stuck it to us Greeks. Before we pack up our letters and move off campus I might suggest one little thing: Save us the trouble of future hippie tirades and quit pretending to be a journalist.