Columns

How To Write About Fraternities in the News Without Really Trying, Part 2

Just Make Shit Up

I mean, after all, it’s really easy to do. Plus researching a news story is really hard, you guys. Especially in this day and age when everything from limitless knowledge to a video of a transvestite Liza Minnelli impersonator fellating a donkey are just a few short keystrokes away. My point is, you can find anything if you bother to look hard enough at all. But when it comes to reporting on fraternity news stories that just doesn’t seem to be something the authors of said stories are interested in.

Like I said in part one, people are generally pretty misinformed about Greek Life and what it’s about, that tends to include the people writing about it. You’d think they’d try to inform themselves before informing the public, but nah, fuck it. It’s way easier to base your views off of stereotypes that have become hilariously warped through decades of retellings, as if they’ve gone through a public game of telephone. In fifty years I assume every fraternity rumor I hear from some idiot is going to begin with something about stuff being in someone’s butt. Probably puke.

“Hey did you hear about that frat that made their pledges drink until they puked and then they had to puke into condoms and put the condoms in their butts and until they did the actives punched them in the face?”

Goddammit, I am so going to hear that sentence some day. But I’m not here to bemoan the stereotypes themselves. There’s something a little off about a group of primarily white, privileged kids complaining about stereotypes. So instead of that let’s just make fun of people who write the news by throwing a bunch of shit against the wall until everything sort of kind of makes sense.

Becoming a member of a fraternity or sorority can be one of the most meaningful aspects of college life.

Okay off to a good start actually.

However, it can also be one of the most deadly when it comes to hazing.

Wow that very quickly took a turn for the fuck-tarded. Yes, that’s right people, when you join a fraternity you won’t just be flirting with drunk sorority girls, you’ll also be flirting with DEATH. Every shot luge will be carved from ice by the reaper’s sickle. Every formal chaperoned by Abaddon, the Angel of Death. Every devil’s threesome will be WITH THE DEVIL HIMSELF.

To fully illustrate how astoundingly stupid that statement is, here are some examples of how you could use that sort of correlation about other activities.

“Swimming can be one of the most refreshing ways to cool yourself off in the summertime. However, it can also be one of the most deadly when it comes to shark attacks.”

“Sexual intercourse can be one of the most pleasurable ways to achieve an orgasm. However, it can also be one of the most deadly when it comes to autoerotic asphyxiation.”

“Eating a ham sandwich can be one of the most satisfying ways to quell hunger. However, it can also be one of the most deadly when it comes to choking on ham sandwiches.”

“Being the police chief of your small town can be an honorable way to serve your community. However, it can also be one of the most deadly when it comes to shark attacks.”

That took me five minutes.

Now let’s see where the story is going from that inspired first paragraph.

Since the death of Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion in 2011, many educators and lawmakers have began to examine bullying and hazing in the U.S.

Champion was beaten to death with drumsticks and bass-drum mallets in a hazing ritual performed by band members on a bus. Thirteen people were charged in his death.

So… wait… this whole article is about the reexamining of hazing laws in the U.S. brought on after someone was killed in a hazing ritual that was in no way at all tied to fraternities or sororities? But then… why… what? Let me sum up this article so far:

“Being in a fraternity or sorority can be a big risk to your well being if that organization has dangerous hazing practices. Take for example this person who was killed by his organization’s hazing. His organization was not a fraternity or sorority.”

Listen, I’m not stupid. I’m not burying my head in the sand on the whole hazing death issue. I know that there are hazing deaths in fraternities. As the article itself points out:

…there has been at least one hazing-related dearth on a college campus every year since 1970.

Other examples, like the sophomore who was being “reverse hazed” by his house’s pledges at Cornell, come immediately to mind. All of these incidents are tragic and 100% preventable. That’s not even a question. When this happens, lines are crossed. I don’t know who is to blame, but I highly doubt it’s an incredibly diverse, segmented, confederacy of an entity whose literally only shared trait amongst all its members is the use of Greek Alphabet letters to designate themselves. Plus technically even that isn’t true thanks to non Greek lettered houses like FarmHouse, Acacia, etc.

“Hazing is demeaning, dangerous, and, sadly, deadly. This is not a university problem. It is not a Greek problem, and it is not a student problem. It is an American problem,” she said.

I don’t understand how you can see that quote before you write this story and still write it the way it was written. Even if you agree with the “It’s not a Greek problem,” but can’t place your finger on who exactly IS to blame, you can’t just say, “Well until I DO figure out the right answer I’ll just use this wrong answer as a placeholder.”

The question is how the FUCK this writer thought leading off with a quip about fraternities and sororities being “deadly” made any sense in relation to a story sparked by a hazing death that had NOTHING to do with Greek Life. In fact fraternities don’t even make an appearance in this story until this:

Phi Beta Sigma fraternity and the National Action Network are leading an effort to form a national coalition to stop hazing.

So now let me sum up the story for you to this point:

“Being in a fraternity or sorority can be a big risk to your well being if that organization has dangerous hazing practices. Take for example this person who was killed by his organization’s hazing. His organization was not a fraternity or sorority. Because of that death that had nothing to directly do with a Greek letter organization, a Greek letter organization has resolved to help stop dangerous hazing by educating people and supporting the passing of preventative legislation.”

I mean seriously, what the fuck? It’s a sad day when the most fact checked and well thought out articles I read everyday come from baseball blogs. So yeah, go ahead and just pull shit out of your ass. That is, after all, the easiest way to report the news.

Follow me on Twitter @BaconTFM

Email this to a friend

52 Comments You must log in to comment, or create an account
Show Comments

For More Photos and Videos

Latest podcasts

Download Our App

Take TFM with you. Get

New Stories

Load More