'Frat boys' acted immaturely at 'Hell Night' video showing

by Thomas Luxon | 10/23/95 6:00am

To the Editor:

I want to respond to several charges made by members of fraternities and quoted in The Dartmouth's Thursday issue (" 'Hell Night' video interrupted," Oct. 19, 1995). These comments were quoted as reactions to and evaluations of my actions at Topliff on Wednesday night. Michael Goody '98 taxes me with being "immature." Others think I "overreacted." Let's consider what he might mean by immaturity and what others think is overreaction. All of us at Topliff that night watched a video in which an 18-year-old fraternity pledge impersonated a woman with a breast cut off. He pranced around a basement wearing a t-shirt torn and bloodied on one side and a falsie on the other side of his chest. He invited other pledges to bite and lick his falsie and to fondle his torn and bloodied chest. Men in the audience laughed at this. Not just tittered, they laughed out loud. They laughed at a young man's caricature of a woman who has undergone a mastectomy!

Maybe I was the only person present who has friends who have suffered breast cancer and who have undergone mastectomies. I can count three without even trying. I was not just apalled by this laughter, I was enraged. I don't think such rage is the least bit immature. And I think that if being enraged at such laughter expresses antagonism towards what Michael Goody calls "his cause," then let's have more widespread antagonism and let's have it soon. Ridiculing women and women's bodies is a very sad excuse for a "cause" and it might do us some good to ask just what end this cause means to achieve.

People think that I overreacted by bringing the event to an abrupt end after this laughter and after other disrespectful comments. What these people don't know is the nature of the material that was to follow. On the audio tape which we didn't get to, we would have heard pledge captains asking pledges "After you f...d her did she like licking the cheese off your d--k?" "Have you f----d anyone at Dartmouth. . . And what was the name of that person, girl?" "Have you ever f----d her up the a--?" "How about some Dartmouth girls, have you f----d any Dartmouth girls lately? What was her name?" "Have you ever seen your sister naked in the last three years ... Did you ever see her from the bottom up, the top off? . . . Does she have big t--s? Do you ever fantasize about having sex with your sister?" "Who was the last Dartmouth girl you f----d?" If the men present were willing to laugh out loud with no sense of shame at a man ridiculing a victim of breast cancer, how do you suppose they would have reacted to the rest of this material? My guess is that they would have reacted with about the same level of "maturity" and "objectivity" Michael Goody and Carlos Sanchez '96 value so much.

I did not agree to do this presentation so that a group of frat boys could come and wax nostalgic about the good old days of hell night when fraternities were allowed to carry on this way in the presence of administrators and with the nearly explicit permission of the College. When it became apparent that many of the men came to do just that, I did the "immature" thing. I walked out. Who is immature here? Go figure.