My college was located in the middle of a city, so while we had fraternities there never seemed to be reason to join one--most of their parties (free beer! Comely lasses of virtue true!) were open to the public and there were plenty of other options for inebriated joy in town. Apparently though, at some colleges located in the middle of nowhere, fraternities are so key to your social life that pledges are willing to swim in filth, get into vomit contests, and otherwise wipe away any shred of dignity that can never be regained. Because once you've swam in filth and willingly been vomited on by your dudebros, you can never be respected again.
Picture it--here you are, decades after graduating cum laude from Dartmouth, spending years in the U.S. Foreign Service, teaching at Georgetown School of Foreign Affairs, negotiated a test ban treaty, then nominated as Secretary of State. Your first meeting with the President of Russia, and he asks "hey I hear you were a brother at Sigma Kappa Omega." You nod yes, and then he follows up with "so at one point in your adult life you willingly allowed another pledge to vomit on you before you swam in a kiddie pool full of his filth?"
Now, I'm no teetotaler--this blog's title even laments the world's shortage of agave-based liquor--and think it's just fine for comrades to drink together as they bond. But why on earth would you ever want anyone to join your group if they had to debase themselves so thoroughly? Why would complete lack of self-respect be a plus? Loyalty, dedication, hard work, social qualities and connections are all good measurments for who you'd want in your frat--and there are good ways to test these things. In fact, the "kiddie pool of fecal matter" should, if anything, be a way to weed out weirdos and morons--anyone willing to do that in order to join should be told they failed the test.
But schools really shouldn't ban this type of hazing. It's Darwinian, really--anyone willingly subjecting themselves to such things is surely deserving of what they get.
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