One of Jordan Tacher’s friends should tell him to delete this WSO thread in which he asks the Moocow Band to “Please don’t embarrass us.” Wrong answer! The dialog continues:

Kim Dacres
: Dude…unnecessary. Don’t embarrass yourself any further.

Tacher: Even though I won’t be able to go to the tailgating/game, if other people can remark about not embarrassing ourselves with drunken escapades, then I feel it is necessary to remark about other things that could be embarrassing.

James Matthews: Yeah. Organizations that are completely devoted to school spirit and supporting student-athletes are awfully embarrassing. I hate that.

Tacher: While I am sure they are quite genuine in their school spirit, the record, surprisingly enough, is pretty accurate about the “cacophonous melodies.”

Andrew Goldston: You might want to put down that shovel, Jordan.

Sound advice! It warms my heart to see so many Ephs jump to the defense of the band, without a doubt one of the Ephiest of undergraduate groups. Jeffrey Kaplan writes:

I think that there is a deeper issue here that has not been bought up. What does it say about us if we are embarrassed by Mucho Macho Moo Cow Marching Band? What is it that one values if this marching band is something that one do not want associated with oneself?

You imply that the reason that they embarrass you is that there music is “cacophonous”–you think it is bad. But I don’t think that can really be the case. Are you honestly saying that the reason that they embarrass you is because they do not make pleasant music? that there are not talented or well rehearsed? No, that is certainly not the case. I suspect that really what might be embarrassing is that they are, as trite as this sounds, quirky…different.

If this is the case, then I think that is a fairly accurate definition of intolerance–malice towards that which is different.

Never mind that, what is there to be embarrassed about? They are good, fun, funny, well-meaning, entertaining, and all-around Eph-like. The kind of thing we ought to want as a reputation of our entire school.

Exactly correct. Comments:

1) Tacher does have a point about the double standard with regard to mocking on WSO. You can make fun of drunken antics but not of the band. The differences, of course, are: a) The band hurts no one while drunken antics often negatively impact the quality of life for other Ephs and b) The band is a well-defined group of individuals whereas most/all drunken-mocking does specify who the guilty party is. Now, if he could cite a WSO post in which someone mocked a specific group of drunk Ephs (football players?) who weren’t bothering anyone, he might have an argument.

2) Kaplan’s point about intolerance highlights for me another of the bad effects of the College’s endless prattle about diversity. The College acts as if the big problem among students relates to racial differences and the like, as if lots of, say, white students make fun of Asian students for being Asian. That barely happened 20 years ago! Now, such mocking has almost vanished, just as anti-Catholic sentiment had disappeared from Williams 50 years ago.

But lots of (mean) mocking still goes on. You can be certain that Tacher and his ilk mock the band, just as others make fun of athletes or (harmless) drunkards or, hard as it is to believe, bloggers. Why the hate?

Well, “hate” is probably the wrong word and a little bit of mocking never hurt anyone. But the problem with the College’s obsession with race is that it takes away from a more appropriate obsession with manners. (And, yes, I need to work on my manners as well.) The College has a limited ability to, in former Dean Peter Murphy’s phrase, shape the “hearts and minds” of her students. Instead of wasting that capital on another effort of stamp out racial crimethink, Williams ought to focus on better manners. If the College had done so, then Tacher would understand why his post was a mistake.

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