Wednesday, July 31, 2013

There but for the Grace of God... A rumination on rants

Since we've been revisiting old posts recently, I\ve been mulling over my fascination with the 'Deranged Sorority Rant' from earlier this year.  When I first heard of this, I thought maybe it was some sort of new crossover band - think Insane Clown Posse covers Bananarama (or vice versa).  But (and I'm sure some of you saw this when it first appeared), a Sorority chapter president sent a creatively-profanity-laced email to her charges over their alleged lack of sorority spirit.  The best take is of course the Michael Shannon reading of said email, which I must warn you is so not safe for work as to be in a whole new category.

I loved it (and I do love me some creative profanity), and I must have watched it about eight times.  There is a delicious irony in seeing snowflakes getting balled out by another snowflake for flaking out on activities that are already flakey.  There is also an odd sense that the sorority prez seemed to think she was running the most uptight brothel in history for the benefit of a herd of sigma gnus (whatever they are).

But I can't shake an ominous feeling that it could have just as easily been me losing my shit with my own charges in almost the same way.  Let's see here, a couple of minor edits...

I do not give a flying fuck, and Sigma Nu Tuk U does not give a flying fuck, about how much you fucking love to talk to your sisters text with your bros. You have 361 days 165 hours out of the fucking year week to talk to sisters text your bros, and this week  class is NOT, I fucking repeat NOT ONE OF THEM. This week class is about fostering relationships in the greek community, learning to look after hamsters without fucking killing them and that's not fucking possible if you're going to stand sit around and talk to each other stare at your smartphones and not our matchup pay attention to the class.  DOUBLE FUCKING NEWSFLASH: Sigma Nu Hamster hatcheries are  NOT going to want to  hang out with us hire you if we your hamster skilz FUCKING SUCK, which by the way in case you're an idiot didn't pick up your midterm and need it spelled out for you, we your hamster husbandry skillz FUCKING SUCK SO FAR. 
Can't say I haven't been tempted on occasion.

It's an uncomfortable feeling - I do not (I fucking repeat NOT) want to be this person - but I recognize something in the rant.  It's why we come here to the Miz.  There's that vicarious thrill at seeing someone cross that line to "I'm mad as Hell and... you can take this job and... FUUUUUUUUCK!"

There but for the Grace of God go I.


  1. I have this silent rant in my head regularly. Once I let some of it out, sans expletives. And that was just once. It shall not be repeated because I broke the cardinal rule of caring more than they do. And I'll never do that again.

  2. Yes, when I ruminate about an email that epitomizes the vacuousness of much of fraternity/sorority culture that dominates many campuses, my thoughts turn to the teachings of the apostles....

  3. Her rant does evoke a certain amount of schadenfreude. I wonder what she's like in class? (yes, I know that's not usually how a "wonder what she's like" question about a sorority member ends, but I'm a middle-aged, straight, female proffie, who prefers not to know whether my students are sorority/fraternity members, since it keeps me from being unfairly biased against the few who actually have, and have retained, a working brain cell or two, and are willing to put it to use in the classroom. No, I don't get the whole fraternity/sorority thing, not at all, though I do know a few quite intelligent and interesting people who once belonged to such organizations. Maybe I've just hung out at the wrong schools. At my present one, members tend to be privileged kids who wish our scrappy little still-mostly-commuter state school were a "real" university -- i.e. one with a football team -- but weren't willing to work hard enough in high school to get into a "real" university).

    When I rant in class (which happens about once every two or three years, it's almost always along the lines of "repeating/rearranging other people's ideas does not constitute original research, or college-level work [even though, realistically, it does, but I'm upholding an ideal here]. You're in college to learn how to make new knowledge, not repeat others' ideas; that's why employers hire college graduates; they can think!" It's not a bad rant as rants go; the problem is that it's often riffing off a question posed by a very conscientious student who's genuinely scared of venturing into the wilds of thinking for hirself. A few have actually made the attempt (because they are, after all, very conscientious); at least as many have concluded that I'm "not fair" because I "won't tell them what to do to get an A." It usually also inspires another student or two who actually likes the idea of thinking for hirself, and gets the point of the rant. Whatever the result, I nearly always end up feeling, at least in the moment, like I've been kicking puppies.