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The Kiss Cam And Getting Laid

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If we pare it all away, peel off layer after layer of onion, we find ourselves animals prioritizing only survival and, to a lesser extent, sex until the day we die. We are capable of more, yes, and it’s potentially in that gray area where we can wax poetic on the magic and the mystery of humanity. But boil that beef long enough and you’re stuck with the chewy gristle of death and fucking. Take, for example, this column. I could write it in a shed, burning each one upon completion like they’re my bro-y mandalas, but I don’t. I’m here, in the walkup TFM pays $6,000 a month for me to live in, writing on a laptop and pressing send so the intern can post this next to his list of the 10 Best Left Boobs In The SEC. Why do I do that? If I’m honest? Recognition, which can bring me respect and money (survival at its height) or sex. It may sound shallow, but look at every great accomplishment and buried beneath a veneer of righteousness is a clear motive. If you agree with that, then play this philosophical game with me: If death will swallow us all, then isn’t every action, no matter how convoluted, a matter of instinct? If it weren’t — if survival and sex didn’t matter — we’d all be nihilists. Survival and procreation are the reason reward-based societies are built. This is the engine of humanity.

But, make no mistake, none of this is a problem. Once you accept this, it’s amazing to see how people interpret and translate and mutate this single driving force in myriad ways. If you look at a painting and see it as an expression of survival, it takes on a meaning wholly deeper than visual beauty. Life is not cheapened by its own truth. Yet, not all of these interpretations of survival and sex-seeking are good. Murderers exist, as do circus clowns. Like a mother bird that kills her kin, sometimes evolution fails the species.

This week a young man wrote a letter to Syracuse University complaining that the Kiss Cam condoned “sexual assault and a sense of male entitlement.” (Full disclosure: I fucking LOVE the Kiss Cam). Syracuse has since pulled the Kiss Cam from games. Obviously, on the surface, this is ridiculous. But, let’s put down the torches and pitchforks for a moment and explore this. We are Total Frat Move, the most objective of news sources, and our story subjects enjoy the heights of dignity. There will not be an exception today. So, let’s see this thing through.

The editor-in-chief of the Syracuse school newspaper — a woman — penned an editorial seeming to support the letter, but took a more muted path to agreement. She wrote that the Kiss Cam was fine in some parts of the stadium, but “shouldn’t be used in the student section where relationships can be a lot less clear, and it can create some really awkward and embarrassing moments.” This was an interesting tack. Notice the clear lack of the words “SEXUAL ASSAULT” in Mara’s editorial. It would almost seem as if she didn’t agree with the tone of the original letter, yet wanted to maintain a level of faux-progressive contrarianism? Huh. But, it’s in that subtle shading that she unintentionally reveals quite a bit, namely that there’s a difference between awkward dating situations and SEXUAL ASSAULT. Indeed, it’s as if she attempted to agree to an argument that all airplanes are going to crash by pointing out the lack of legroom on commercial flights. They are not at all the same conversation. I believe she shied away from calling the Kiss Cam SEXUAL ASSAULT for a very simple and obvious reason: it’s problematic and disempowering to make the argument that a woman can’t say no to a kiss in public. It’s also just a bit troubling to suggest the female is inherently the victim.

Which brings us to our original letter-writer, the man from Syracuse who compared the Kiss Cam to SEXUAL ASSAULT. If his statement assumed the woman as the victim and took for granted her ability to protect herself with words, then we can reasonably argue that his letter was neither progressive nor feminist. In fact, it seemed to be quite the opposite. So what’s the end game if not an advancement of society? I think it’s patently obvious he’s fulfilling his own masturbatory white knight fantasy, and here’s where I deliver my final assessment. This dude is trying to get laid. I mean that seriously. That’s it. Dick in vagina. Somehow, his base instincts of survival and sex created this mechanistic and knee-jerk reaction to women and his perception of their fears and needs. He believes that they need HIM to save them from themselves. Talk about “male entitlement.” This dude’s got it in spades. And in writing a letter protecting women from SEXUAL ASSAULT, he ended up looking kind of rapey and weird. But hey, sometimes, evolution fails the species.

So, what I’m saying is: Bring back the Kiss Cam.

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Jared Freid (@jtrain56) is a New York City-based comedian who has been featured on MTV’s Failosophy and is the host of The JTrain Podcast presented by TFM.

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