Press-Republican

Columns

November 17, 2013

Something needs to change

(Continued)

As a general rule, those being hazed don’t enjoy the experience. But because that’s the way it’s always been, they accept it — then wait their turn to inflict it.

A college student in Ohio recently lost a testicle to a hazing ritual, but he defended his soon-to-be “brothers.” Just an accident. Now when can I do it to someone else?

I’d like to make a radical proposal. Let’s change the way it’s always been. A football team can win games without any hazing at all. A college student can have a successful and enjoyable time without being physically and/or emotionally humiliated in any way. Honest.

Instead of NFL veterans torturing nervous rookies, making them wear dresses and hitting them with $30,000 dinner bills they can’t afford, how about buying them a nice meal and taking them on a team-building fishing trip? That might earn actual respect.

For college hazing, how about forcing the pledge to attend seven parties in seven days, and NOT drink? He has to act as the designated driver, must escort home anyone in danger of date rape, and will be breathalyzed at the end of the evening.

Instead of performing random acts of stupidity, how about forcing them to perform random acts of kindness?

Frankly, I’m a little disappointed in my gender. Yes, I know that girls are guilty of bullying and hazing too, in their own twisted and psychologically damaging ways, but the problem is more prevalent among males.

Maybe we’ve progressed from hitting women over the head with a club and dragging them by the hair back to our caves, but that took 50,000 years or so of evolution. Jonathan Martin and the next generation of sensitive, bullied kids need help now.

Perhaps we should just make a rule that all males, ages 15 to 35, must remain separated from other men at all times, never traveling in groups of more than two. I don’t know what it is — perhaps the mingled combination of testosterone, Axe body spray and beer (energy drink idea!) — but when you put three or more young men together, the collective IQ starts to sink. There’s the ever-present danger of mob mentality taking over, with all rules, sense and social mores escaping out the window.

Something has to be done, because the way it’s always been is kind of messed up.

Email Steve Ouellette: ouellette1918@gmail.com

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