Ph.D. Octopus

Politics, media, music, capitalism, scholarship, and ephemera since 2010

Yale Boys and Their Chants

with 2 comments

by Luce

I don’t really have too much to say about the recent episode at Yale where a group of Delta Kappa Epsilon frat boys marched through Old Campus where most Yale freshmen (half of whom are young women) live chanting “No means yes, yes means anal.” I experienced some mixture of disgust, outrage, and weird disbelief when I first read about it: disbelief that a group of young (frat-boyish) college-aged men would so blatantly perform, publicly (though perhaps they felt safe under the cover of darkness?), all the worst possible stereotypes associated with young (frat-boyish) college-aged men.

But I found a recent anonymous interview that one brother in the fraternity, who did not participate in the rape chant, gave to Tracy Clark-Flory over at Salon really interesting, mostly because it revealed exactly how little at least the fraternity brothers (though in trying to absolve DKE, the guy indicts the entire Yale campus toward the end) seem to get what misogyny is and how permissiveness in language can allow for permissiveness in action. Take the following for example:

How would you describe the general attitude toward women at DKE?

The general attitude is as respectful as anywhere else on campus. I’ve heard more misogynistic comments elsewhere on campus than in the fraternity. That’s not to imply that people don’t make mistakes, but DKE is no more inherently misogynistic than Yale at large. Unfortunately, our thoughtless and offensive chanting last week leaves the impression that there are no differences between our words and actions — which is certainly untrue.

It’s interesting that the standard by which the fraternity would still judge itself, even after an episode that has sparked off some form of national or at least blogosphere outrage, is the Yale campus, without questioning whether those standards are high enough, or whether they really want to justify an act of groupthink with an example of groupthink.

The other thing that comes out of this interview is the fact that the frat boy admits this wasn’t an isolated episode: “This chant was said without thought in previous years on one night of the year,” and yet he also claims it was an anomaly: “This event is without question an anomaly.”

What was anomalous of course was that it was caught on video and posted to youtube. Were the men never called out on this before? Did they walk through the freshmen quad, chanting, militantly marching, without complaint before? It’s weird to think what will happen in the age of youtube, as people become more savvy, realize that there are cameras that connect to internet cables that connect to websites that will broadcast your most immediate, egregious action to the world at large. Will the eyes and voice of an outraged cybersociety “cure” an American society of such public performances? Will they just be driven to the basements of frat houses? And for that matter, what is a different segment of “cybersociety” saying about the chant? I’m too afraid to look right now, already pessimistic enough about things like “the eyes of cybersociety” and “yale frat boys” on this cold October day.


Written by Kristen Loveland

October 22, 2010 at 17:23

2 Responses

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  1. I think the obvious conclusion here is that Yale sucks. And I’m not biased at all.


    October 24, 2010 at 10:32

    • i think boguezes was apart of that chant

      dr cool

      October 24, 2010 at 11:07

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