This week I was sent the story about a Penn State sorority dressing up as Mexicans thirty seven times. I’m not exaggerating; I started counting after the tenth time. I think that’s a lot. I was probably the “go-to” guy for this story since I went to Penn State, I was in a fraternity, hung out with the sorority that got in trouble, and write for a website that lets you vote on things with either a “Bro” or “Not Rapey Enough” (is that it?) Cup. This site has already written a response to it by another alumni, Brandon Wenerd, where he claims that “we” are all “embarrassed.” And while saying that Mexicans mow lawns isn’t the type of thing I would yell at an audience full of 100 landscapers (the 60 Mexicans might take offense that I didn’t reference the 40 Dominicans), I’m still not personally "embarrassed" (remember all that kid-rape, Penn Staters? Now THAT was embarrassing). It's more that I'm embarrassed for them, like when your preteen cousin tells everyone at Thanksgiving that she’s trying out for X-Factor before launching into a rendition of "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera. College is where you’re SUPPOSED to be dumb. College is where you’re SUPPOSED to make mistakes. College is where you’re supposed to enter a beer Olympics themed party as team Aruba and wear “We're going Holloway to the top!” t-shirts. Take all of those wonderful mistake-opportunities away and I wonder: Is the college of today even worth it?
Every week there’s a new thing that I'm supposed to care about: some guy thinks women aren’t funny, some other guy made a bad rape joke, some girl thinks that transvestite vegans shouldn’t be allowed to get married in a Buddhist church. Everyone is enraged with a new cause of the week and it’s getting me tired. At this point, there are so many stories to get mad about that I can’t even remember the last one. I’m not sure what the goal is. The only thing that changes is that these girls' lives are temporarily ruined.
And yes, I know that these total babes (I mean, YOWZA) need to learn a thing or two about racial stereotypes, tolerance, and their feelings of superiority that stem from growing up white and hot and with enough cash to cover a social bill. But life will teach them all of those lessons eventually. The question is, were you offended? Do you really think these girls are racist? Or are you just joining the party because you want to show everyone how smart you are, or how caring you are, or are these just a bunch of good-looking girls you just want to take down a peg? That's O.K., everyone needs a little socialization so long as you know that you're not ushering in a new era of racial harmony with your opinion posted all over the Internet. You're only forwarding on an anger that's not yours to have (unless you are one of my three Mexican readers, in which case, "Hola") and in the process, making these girl’s temporary, college-era mistakes a much larger horror for them. If a group of young men or women can’t exhibit terrible groupthink without the world watching and judging why would anyone go to college? We already know college won’t get you a job anymore; now it won’t even let you be a dumbass.
During my freshman year I got naked at a party, put a Natty light case over my head, and played beer pong with a group of people (my balls just curled up at the thought of that cold frat basement). A picture was taken and it floated around my fraternity for the four years I was in college. Am I happy about that moment of immaturity? No. Do I feel lucky? Yes. Because if that happened today, in the “got ya” culture we live in, then my life would be much different. That photo would have been posted immediately. I could have been on every site that ever existed with headlines like “Huge Penised Man Plays Beer Pong” or “Is this kid Asian?” Then a debate would erupt about whether this is offensive to a small sect of indigenous Norwegians that wear cardboard helmets during their animal sacrifices. Then I’d go on the local news to defend myself. Then I’d become famous thanks to the new trend I started called “Norwegian Penis-Pong,” then I’d form a terrible drug habit because of all the partying, then I’d drop out of college to start a new Natty light helmet company, then that company goes bankrupt, and finally it’s December 2012 and you find me in a ditch writing for Barstool Sports. The horror.
I got lucky. I happen to be a few years older and I never had to deal with Big Brother’s constant lens. These girls should be afforded the same opportunity to look back and cringe on their own instead of the world doing it for them. Something needs to change. It’s either we stop getting so offended or we stop taking the pictures and videos for people to jump on a fake high horse about. The overly offended will always exist. So I’d take a stand against the people who are looking to get you, the kid in the corner of the room with no personality and access to a USB cord, who all of the sudden turns into Martin Scorsese anytime someone does something on the edge. If I were still in college I’d yell to everyone, “Hey look at my penis!” then whoever took out their camera I’d take it from them smash it on the ground and then, in all of my Braveheart-like glory announce, “Enough is enough!” Then I’d rip off both sleeves from my shirt, take out my penis (giving the people what they want), and probably get arrested because some other dweeb got the whole thing filmed on his iPad.
Jared Freid is a New York City-based comedian. follow him on Twitter @jtrain56 for videos, columns, and more t-shirt ideas for your next beer olympics. You can also subscribe to his Facebook page here.