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Fraternity Life, Episode 2: Pledges Come and Pledges Goby Brent Wolgamott -- 03/08/2003
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Before beginning this week's recap, I must address some criticism that I received last week from numerous readers of my previous column. As an aside, if you liked last week's column, or don't care about the following points of order, then please skip down a few paragraphs. Now, in reference to those of you highly critical of my take on the Grant-dating-a-brother's-ex-girlfriend fiasco, I do want to say that I didn't find Grant's actions to be particularly brilliant. As another reader put it to me, if he's trying to get into the fraternity, it "isn't exactly smart" doing what he did. I agree. I would have waited until I got my foot in the door, then started seeing her. I was merely saying that I didn't think that Grant should be denied a bid solely because Adam (the brother in question) got his feelings hurt.
Also, a few conservative readers got their dander in a tizzy because of my obscure reference to Clarence Thomas. Short summary: in regard to a pledge's real life twin brother voting for him, I said "I haven't seen this much of a slam-dunk vote from someone since Clarence Thomas 'unbiasedly' listened to oral arguments in Bush vs. Gore." To clarify: Justice Thomas has the distinction of being one of the most conservative-leaning (read: Republican) justice on the current Court. I mean, he is right of right. Las Vegas wouldn't even cover the spread on whether or not he would vote for Bush. Case-in-point for those disbelievers: he's so conservative that in a recent case involving a potentially wrongfully imprisoned African-American man, the vote was 8-1 in favor of the man. Any guesses as to who was the one holdout? Yep, it was Thomas. The rest of the Court noted that it was plainly obvious that, when a Texas prosecutor eliminated 10 of a possible 11 African-Americans from a jury pool, something was rotten in the state of Texas. Thomas disagreed. While the majority (even ultra-conservatives Rehnquist and Scalia) noted, "happenstance is unlikely to produce this disparity," Thomas said it was "speculation." And folks, this is the one African-American on the panel. I rest my case - and you have my email if you disagree. But really, did you think he was going to vote for Gore?
And finally to those readers who felt that last week's column was too risqué, too tawdry, and frankly, too gay - get over it. In the meantime, most of you didn't come here to read about politics or anything else other than the great trash that is Fraternity Life. Onward!
As you'll recall, last week's episode ended with our favorite frat boys, Sigma Chi Omega, eliminating 13 of the possible 18 rushees. Who do these boys think they are, eliminating that much of the pool…Clarence Thomas?? (I can see the mail coming now…) Fortunately, at the start of this week's episode, our fraternity president, Colin (aka: Grandpa), tells the brothers that he moves they lower the original vote-of-confidence mark of 90% to 80%. They agree, and this new number-finagling yields 11 pledges. I must insert here that Colin should really sue the MTV people who did his lighting for this meeting. In that aura, he truly lives up to his name "Grandpa" - thinning hair, ghostly white skin, and forehead wrinkles (at age 22? I ask you!). Colin, get thee to a botox center and pronto!
The next morning, we find the brothers bundling up their bid offers, attaching a candle to each one. They're either going to light the candle or insert it somewhere - that, gentle reader, I leave to your imagination. In a nice show of unity, the brothers approach each of the soon-to-be pledges' doors and offer the bid. For some of the pledges that receive their bids later, it looks more like Death is approaching the door - who gave these people help with lighting? Of the 11 who receive their bids, we see Earl (who you'll recall was a hoot last week, calling a fellow rushee's girlfriend a hands-down "bitch" behind his back), Matt, Mike (who received a vote of confidence from fraternity alum Ron G… make a note for later on), Steve (the one African-American in a decidedly pale fraternity pledge class), Ron T., Ron M. (Ron M. informs us he "was on the dumper" and is glad he got outside in time; thank you, Ron M., for that nice visual), and Alex, fraternity secretary Adam's twin brother (he of the aforementioned bitch girlfriend). Supposedly there are 11 pledges, but we see only seven. One person who we also see, but who didn't get a bid, is Grant. Frankly, this saddens me. Every reality show needs a good villain. Some of the brothers didn't like Grant, but it would have made for good television. I, for one, am saddened. Pass me a Kleenex, damn it. Okay... I'm over it.
At this point, it starts becoming clear to me who MTV is going to focus on, as Alex is shown lamenting his sorrow that his girlfriend Lindsay (the aforementioned bitch) does not support him pledging the fraternity. Alex whines (in a surprisingly sexy way) that he "can't even think straight" (I'll take a pass on that zinger, thank you). He is a bit overdramatic at this point, telling us he's having second thoughts, and then proceeds to vomit. Wow, is this boy whipped or what? Not only that, but he takes the liberty of vomiting in the drinking fountain. Ugh. This might be enough to disqualify him from winning Honorary Gay Boy of the Week. I would also like to take note of MTV's adding the very Dr. Zhivago-esque music as Alex is telling us his sob story. Note to MTV: I thought this was Fraternity Life, not Days of Our Lives! Where are my naked and dancing fraternity boys? I don't recognize this show.
We're on to Pledge Night, where the rushees who received bids can come to the fraternity and accept their bid if they so choose. Now we're introduced to fellow pledges Tim, Jarreau, and Paul. I'd say something interesting about them if I could find something, but alas, I cannot. Note that we have only met 10 boys. I can't find the 11th just yet. Next, Pledge Matt wants to talk to President Colin privately. He tells Colin that he's a bit worried that he won't be able to keep pledging, because his parents are "coming down" to the school, and will likely yank his college money if he pledges. He wants Colin's support. Colin obliges, and gives him his cell phone number so his parents can talk to Colin if they want reassurances. The pledges are told they can accept their bid by coming into the fraternity for their last night of freedom. Pledging is to start tomorrow at 7AM. The pledges are told to get in order from shortest to tallest, and they are led into the house. At this point, MTV superimposes words on the screen to the tune of "secret ritual, cameras not allowed." I shiver with glee - then the rumors must be true! Brother Mike, the "new member educator" of the fraternity tells us that there's a "lot of secret stuff that goes on" so he really can't say, but it involves a lot of male bonding rituals and things like that. Hmmmm… at this point I consider awarding the entire fraternity Honorary Gay Boy of the Week! Then, Pledge Tim comes on (he speaks!) and tells us that he has no idea what is going to happen, but that he hopes they party it up and have a great last night of freedom. And party it up they do, as MTV whisks us to the bar where the boys hang out, drink, dance, flirt, and generally seem to be having a gangbusters time.1 2 Next-->
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