Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Roses are red
Blue is the sea
I'm a narcissist
Why wouldn't I be? 

There is an online quiz to test how narcissistic you are. It turns out I am not a narcissist, which is amazing when you consider how absolutely wonderful I am.

The White House is upset over a letter republican senators sent to Iran. Suddenly out nation’s leaders sound like they’re passing notes in study hall. “Congress told Cooper that Skyler told Ryan who told Iran that Obama doesn’t like them.”

Since you asked:

As a Sigma Chi - fraternities are like marines and Decathletes, you are one for life - I feel I can provide some insight into this SAE University of Oklahoma racist chant caught on video.

First of all, let me take a moment to thank god that phone video cameras were not around when I was at the Sigma Chi house at UCSB circa 1980. Although we never would have done anything as horrible as racist chants, we did more than our share of truly stupid stuff. 

Many of my fraternity brothers have gone on to greatness and considerable wealth in several fields including commercial real estate, advertising, banking, Internet companies and software. 

My roomate and closest fraternity friend, whom I will refer to as Lew-dog, has gone on to be the founder/leader in the field of language translation software. One of his many clients is a little outfit called the Department of State. Another two of my fraternity brothers are arguably the highest ranking people in the country in commercial real estate. 

Looking back, you could have predicted this kind of success for many of the young men at my fraternity. Even Lew-dog. Maybe especially Lew-dog. These guys were smart, ambitious, funny, charming, athletic and good looking. And many of them, not Lew-dog, were arrogant beyond belief.

Arrogance breeds stupidity in the otherwise brilliant. 

- Alex Kaseberg (yes, I just quoted myself) 

As impressive as my frat brothers were individually, as a group, my fraternity was capable of Kardashian-like stupidity. We once broke into, raided and robbed the Pi Phi sorority house. The nephew of convicted Watergate conspirator, H.R. Haldeman, threw a lit Molotov cocktail setting fire to the roof of our next-door-neighbors, the SAE's. (Yes, we were stupider than the SAE's)

Years after I graduated, the Sigma Chi house was kicked off campus because of many of the member's participating in several gang-bangs. (Albeit consensual on the part of the two women) 

Am I excusing the racism of the Oklahoma SAE's drunken frat boys as a mere youthful indiscretion? Absolutely not. Are they racists? Who knows? Probably. But once again, it wasn't just racism they were guilty of, it also was the arrogant stupidity of saying racist chants on camera. 

During our Sigma Chi pledge dinner at a little family Italian place in Goleta, CA, we had beer chugging and sexually obscene-to-downright-repulsive limerick contests. (A common theme was particularly vile urinary-tract diseases and a rather endowed man from Nantucket)

One of our members of good standing - not a lowly freshman pledge, mind you, an upper-class man - got so wrapped up and wound-up in the macho, chest-thumping excitement, he thought it would be a good idea to smash a heavy and thick ceramic serving platter into his face. He broke his nose and knocked out his two front teeth. 

That was the kind of stupidity, as a group, our fraternity was capable. 

My proudest voice-of-reason moment as a member of my fraternity was when someone  - probably that Polo-cologne-reeking weasel, Powers, from Orange County -  suggested we hold a "Dogfight Dance." 

A "Dogfight Dance" is a formal dance that is really a "secret" competition to see who can bring the ugliest date. This met with howls of appreciation and was just about to be brought to a vote for an over-whelming approval.  

As I rarely attended chapter meetings, let alone said anything at them, it was odd that I stood up to speak. I told them that, although the "Dogfight Dance" sounds funny now, it was a horrible idea. 

This was met with boos. 

Shouting over the boos, I said, secret or not, the girls will find out they were invited to an ugliest date competition. It was mean and cruel and it would break their hearts. I asked how my frat brothers would like it if their sisters were invited to a Sigma Chi ugly girl competition? How would they like it if a bunch of beautiful sorority girls invited them to, what turned out to be, an ugliest guy competition? 

Believe me, I was no Mother Teresa in college. Far from it. But this would not stand. In my head I could just imagine some sweet girl with thick glasses calling her dad;

"Hey, Daddy, guess what? I was invited by a really handsome guy in my accounting class to a Sigma Chi dance."

"Oh, good for you, punkin'. Let me know how it goes." 

In conclusion, I said; 

"You guys can do whatever you want, but I am not going to have anything to do with this. Frankly, I'm embarrassed it even came up."

Someone stood up and said a friend of his was a Sigma Chi at USC and they had a type of ""Dogfight Dance" ugliest-girl contest and they almost got kicked off campus. More and more slowly agreed this dance was a hurtful and stupid idea. 

The "Dogfight Dance" got voted down. Later, when they heard what happened, I got some teary hugs from a few of our little sisters. 

So while the heavy yoke of fraternity arrogant stupidity can drag down even good men lower than they thought they could go, in the end, behavior, good or bad, is the responsibility of each man.

P.S. It would have been way funnier if I said we held the "Dogfight Dance" anyway. 

And my date won.