Tuesday, 17 January 2012
I've been meaning to get to this story for ages. It's about the death of a guy at Florida A&M University's marching band. It seems likely that he died as a result of hazing.
These bands are a big thing - they play at the sports events in front of tens of thousands - and they are socially stratified in all kinds of weird and fascinating ways. To join the in-group within the band, and so get playing time, it at least helps to go through various rituals. It's like fraternities, which I'm vaguely used to from movies, and initiations, which I'm vaguely used to from sports teams and the rest.
I've had a lot of fun in my life binge drinking. I also have had a lot of fun at initiation events. I would say they have not, in general, been horrible. Also, in general, the places I have been, non-drinking was one of the options. I have never had to drink pints with dog food in, which some people have. All the same, I absolutely see the bad side of these things, and this story, where to be one of the cool kids in the drum section you submit yourself to a life-threatening beating. Basically, it's a horrible story, almost certainly not typical, and something I recommend you read for yourself. I don't have a fully-formed view on it, which is why it has taken me so long. I want to close the tab.