The Blight of Massocentrism

by Dan Richman | 5/11/94 5:00am

On a campus as politically charged as Dartmouth's, discussion of discrimination is certainly not unusual. We frequently hear about the obvious forms of discrimination, such as racism or sexism. However, today I would like to address a much more subversive and commonly overlooked form of discrimination -- a phenomenon I call Massocentrism.

Simply defined, Massocentrism is the belief, commonly held by people from Massachusetts, that Boston (and its surrounding areas) is the center of the universe.

Massocentrists have the ability to relate absolutely anything to something in Massachusetts, and they get very annoyed if we non-New Englanders do not see the connection.

This campus is overloaded with Massocentrists. Eleven percent of the Class of '95 is represented by people who call Massachusetts their home, and it seems even greater than that. Being from the South, I frequently find myself being ridiculed and teased because I don't share the same insights on the world as those from Massachusetts.

An obvious example of this is weather. During the winter months, Massocentrists incessantly wish for more and more snow and can't comprehend why I, the ignorant Southerner, want the roads to be ice-free.

This inevitably leads to a discourse by the Massocentrist about the infamous blizzard of '78. Then they'll tell us how we should be thankful that the winters have been mild since then.

Never, ever, attempt to drive in Massachusetts with a Massocentrist. Those of us who are used to relatively modern roadways can't hack it on Massachusetts roads and having a Massocentrist in the car only adds insult to the injury. After three rotaries and a seven-way stop, the Massocentrist will get annoyed that you are only going 20 miles over the speed limit.

Massocentrists also have their own special language. In Massocentrist tongue, "Interstate 95" is "Route 128" and "Worcester" is pronounced "Wuh-ster." This makes it dangerous to ask for directions.

Massocentrists are also very obsessive when it comes to sports. The last time the Red Sox won the World Series was 1918, and there do exist Massocentric T-shirts which boast that fact. Also, Massocentrists are still talking about Boston College's upset over Notre Dame University last fall.

Even worse than the Red Sox and BC fans, however, are the Celtics fans. In the Massocentrist religion, Larry Bird is God and Bob Cousy is the messiah. If you remind a Massocentrist that the Celtics didn't even make the playoffs this year, he/she will recount every year in which the Celtics won the title and explain that they will be atop the NBA again within two years.

However, Massocentrists have become aware of the existence of Indiana because Larry Bird came from that state. In fact, the first question Massocentrists will ask of someone from Indiana is if they live near Mr. Bird.

Unfortunately, Massocentrists are very resourceful and have a strong solidarity. Most people, two years after leaving high school, are not aware of their home state's high school standings in every major sport. But Massocentrists are.

They know the name and location of every high school in the state and have the ability to talk for hours about how good each lacrosse team is. And if you are not aware of the fact that Peabody (pronounced "Pee-biddy") High School won the New England regional water polo championship last year, the Massocentrist will wonder why you haven't been reading the Boston Globe to keep up with the news.

We, the Southerners, Midwesterners and Westerners of this campus, refuse to accept this treatment any longer. In fact, as a representative of the geographically challenged of Dartmouth, I demand more recruitment of students from distant locales.

We must rid ourselves of this blight of Massocentrism and move towards a brighter future in which more of these people go to Duke University instead of Dartmouth.

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