Rush week story accurate, but with malicious portrayal

I enjoyed “Jeff Kirshman’s column”: “I hope they serve beer on Frat Row: A journey through Rush Week.” The column did a good job of pulling away the facade that many people attribute to fraternities. Fraternities, in theory, are a beautiful thing. They offer a community where you can establish yourself and make a home in an otherwise vast world. That’s the reason I joined my fraternity — I knew some people, liked them and in the rush process learned that I could count on them.

However, like all organizations that are good in theory, they are often ruined by the people that participate in them. I think what it boils down to is that it is a large scale popularity contest. Like all popularity contests, it’s fueled by anxiety — that each fraternity is concerned with being better than the next fraternity and feels the need to prove that they are so through verbal affirmation. It is true, that some fraternities are “better” than others. They get hotter girls, do cooler drugs, have more money, etc. But what does it really matter? I can’t imagine anyone on their deathbed saying, “Thank God I was an XYZ.”

I disliked Kirshman’s portrayal of alcohol. While I’m sure he is ready to defend that he only described what he saw from a journalistic perspective, we’re both writers here, and the words he used showed his abhorrence of the drinking culture in Champaign. Alcohol, binge drinking, drug use and everything else are not in themselves bad things. College is a time to learn, a large part of that learning is what role drugs and alcohol have in your life. But this method of titration through drinking too much and learning from it is necessary for a lot of people.

The use of fraternity names was unnecessary and inappropriate. He attached actions to organizations out of context in a way that was harmful to them. It was done with malice because the column would not have lost any power if the fraternities were not named. In fact it would have added artistic value to the piece because everyone on campus would have been trying to guess which fraternities matched the descriptions. My fraternity was not named, but I feel for the people whose were.

*Bill McGinn*

junior in Engineering