The Miscellany News regrets publishing this piece without deeper consideration for the original arguments against the Founder’s Day theme. Although the opinions expressed by writers in the Humor & Satire section do not represent the opinions of the Editorial Board, we at The Miscellany News recognize the ways in which publishing this piece in the Humor section contributes to perpetuating/upholding narratives of violence. We apologize for any harm this piece may have caused.
–This statement represents the opinion of at least 2/3 of The Miscellany News Editorial Board.
In typical fashion, Vassar College solved a problem only to erect an even more terrible one in its place. The original theme chosen for this year’s Founder’s Day was “Myths and Fairytales.” Fortunately, after receiving feedback, the Traditions Committee was quick to disavow this deeply troubling proposal for our annual day of unofficially sanctioned debauchery. A “Myths and Fairytales” Founder’s Day, as the committee wrote in its statement, would have created an unsafe space on campus by “perpetuating narratives of violence… amongst other problematic themes.”
I for one salute the swift and decisive response to the potential scourge that “Myths and Fairytales” posed. The student body of an average college would have played on a mythological theme by dressing up as harmless fairies, unicorns, elves, dragons, toga wearing Greek deities, gainful employment after graduation, etc. But not the Students of Vassar College. We are famed for our perversion and depravity, having been dubbed an “Ivy League Whorehouse” by the Westboro Baptist Church. Surely, instead of dressing up in innocuous fantasy garb, Vassar students would have recreated the Trojan War by sieging and subsequently burning Main House to the ground (except for the retreat, of course), or perhaps a rag tag band of bro-dudes (genus bro, species dude) would have promoted the sexist trope of female fragility by sneaking peas under the mattress of every female-identified student.
However, the students that voted for the new theme,“Wildlife”, and the student government that permitted it as a choice, failed our school’s reputation as a progressive bastion yet again. How will we ever compete with Wesleyan now? As should be apparent to every socially-conscious individual on campus, “Wildlife” is arguably a more problematic theme than “Myths and Fairy Tales.”
Dressing in imitation of wildlife will lead many Vassar students to commit the unpardonable sin, and I shudder to type this, of wearing fur. Over 50 million animals are killed annually for their fur. If we keep this theme, our beloved celebration will become a grotesque parade of mass slaughter. Now, some might retort that faux fur is an option as well, but this too is inexcusable. Faux fur, unlike that bewitching reefer, marijuana, is a true gateway drug. You begin by gleefully admiring yourself in that faux mink coat until the day you realize how its softness and luster is nothing compared to the real thing. By that time, it’s too late, and you head straight to the Fendi store to overdraw your credit cards.
Furthermore, “Wildlife” is an incredibly speciesist term. The word wild carries negative connotations of violence and barbarity, and is used to buttress the claim that the lives of animals have less value than those of humans. The perceived wildness of a leopard makes it OK for the elder Trump sons to shoot one on safari (this actually happened) and, I assume, give its pelt to Steve Bannon as an offering.
Are we humans not the real wild, violent, and barbaric ones? Non-human animals do not pollute the seas and skies and endanger the future of all life on Earth by refusing to curtail their environmental impact; neither do they do have atomic bombs and kill millions in wars of imperialism and conquest. No, we are the “Wildlife” of which we speak. If we are to be true to the Founder’s Day theme, we should show up dressed in regular attire, self-conscious of the true nature of our species.
There is no point to reliving this farce by putting the remaining theme options up for another vote. All three choices: “Fruits and Veggies”, “Camp” and “Shapes” are irredeemably problematic as I will explain to those Misc. readers unversed in the ways of wokeness.
To start, if “Fruits and Veggies” were our theme many students would dress as out of season produce. To dress up as a pumpkin during the summer would promote an unnatural relationship to the rhythms of our beloved planet, and insult the hard work of our local farmers to keep the tradition of small scale agriculture alive. Fruits and Veggies are commonly picked by underpaid and marginalized migrant laborers. Furthermore, Monsanto provides much of the seed for such produce and regularly disenfranchises farmers or keeps them locked in a cycle of perpetual debt. Dressing up as a grape, as you all now understand, undoubtedly constitutes a wrathful endorsement of brutal neoliberal practices.
“Camp” is an outrageously classist theme. Usually, only the socioeconomically privileged can afford to go to summer camps. Voluntarily spending nights outdoors in 2017 is abnormal. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors decided that settling down and sleeping under roofs was a better way of life, and I wholeheartedly agree. In addition, for those students with roots in the former USSR, the word camp will bring up uncomfortable generational trauma. I can not believe that nobody immediately thought about the Gulag the moment this theme came up. Let’s not normalize Stalinism, people.
Last but not least, “Shapes.” Personally, this theme evokes deep pain and discomfort on my part because I was often called a “square” in my youth. And don’t get me started on the inherent violence of corners.
My sincere suggestion to the Vassar Community is that we cancel themed celebrations altogether instead of continually jumping from one unacceptable theme to another. Clearly, the idea of an unproblematic Founder’s Day theme is a myth or fairytale.