Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Duke party you didn't hear about. It still plays out pretty much the same.

We apologize for the unoffensive parties; we'll try harder next time- Duke University
The 1% have a right and a duty to party hard - Karl Marx

I think the recent hoopla over the  Duke Asian-themed party is missing a broader point.  We recently received an invitation to another party that seemed to stress the same format.  Take a tried caricature of a cultural idea, add sex, add booze and then you get a memorable party. It needs to be offensive enough to be memorable, but not enough to be picked up by the Associated Press; this is apparently the trickiest part.  We tend to get offended by the poor cultural taste, but the low taste in sex and booze is just old news I guess.   Two sober people not eyeing each other for later could still be some sort of format, but it just doesn't sell as well as the current cliches.  (I'm flexible - compromise on some decent wine and double entendres or something, but change up the current cliched ratio of respect to hormones a little bit).

Due to a fluke, we were invited to "plunder some booty" at  the sorority party called "Pirates of the Chi-O-Bbean" last week.  It seems to follow the same formula: Pirates + booty + bar = cultural cliche + sex + booze. Pirates aren't marginalized here, so we don't get offended by that (unless you count Somalis with machine guns as pirates instead of  Captain Hook. It is statistically likely that Somalis will be the focus of a Duke party eventually).  But the sex and booze is considered okay or at least cliche, so there haven't been any protests against the Chi-O party.

Here's the invite:

Some notes, from someone a decade or two past undergrad parties:

1. For purely anthropological reasons, I will see you there.  I don't want to be an undergrad partyer . I will be his bodyguard or his driver.
2. Could you please ask them to move the start time back a couple of hours?  11 is kind of late for me to start something and will make attending the after-after party almost impossible. And what is a Metro-8?
3. Please make sure they will have diet drinks available.
4. Do I have to show my abs in my pirate suit?  If so, I had better start exercising now.
5. How is dirty old man disgusting different from youngin' man disgusting?  Is it just the abs?
6. We can agree to disagree on changing everybody's ringtones to my parrot saying, "Rah! Make better life decisions!" as a way to greet them into their hangovers the next day. I think it was subtle and classy.  But for a few students, it literally scared some of the liquor right out of them, which was a net detriment to the overall, still classy, effect.

7.Did you get the "Yo ho" reference at the end?  I didn't at first.