e e cummings, “since feeling is first”, via Ben.
ερως αδυνατος is almost “impossible loyalties.”
The campus pub is definitely happening AFAIK (the questions are more like how and when), and that’s something it’s easy for me to get emotionally invested in as A Good Thing. I’m having a harder time caring either way about fraternities/sororities, however. They’ve had such a low impact on my life at Princeton—and my ability to find friends and a social space where I feel comfortable—that I neither will miss their absence nor am fully convinced that they are a sufficiently insidious force to merit a ban. The sorts of freshmen who would join fraternities and sororities in order to associate with likeminded individuals and/or because they are feeder groups to certain eating clubs are going to find alternate ways to do this. Clubs will retain their stereotypes. I guess who this could help are individuals who join a Greek organization because in their part of the world/culture/where their parents or friends went to college that’s just what you do. It’s a good message to send that you don’t have to join Kappa just because your mother was a Kappa, or whatever, and giving freshmen more time to make friends in other places may make that less of an issue.
Bottom line: I don’t know. I hope this will result in more cohesion e.g. among freshman zee groups and other res college communities, which generally seems to me like A Good Thing, but I’m skeptical when so many freshmen come in with or form early on outside affiliations: athletes, people who went to certain high schools, early a cappella/performing groups recruits, etc. still clique up within the first few weeks. And it’s ill-advised as well as undesirable to try to crack down on this kind of cliquing. People *do* clique. And it’s interesting that some cliques (like the recently founded selective Behrman Undergraduate Society of Fellows in the Humanities, whom Tilghman has addressed a few times and which receives a decent chunk of university funding) get a lot more administrative imprimatur than others.
I said I hope this will result in more cohesion among zee groups, etc., but on further reflection I’m not sure the university should see this as the ultimate goal for all students. I got on really well with my freshman-year roommates and all due respect to them and the rest of my zee group, etc., but I found most of my friends and mentors outside of that group—albeit still in the college structure, such as other RCAs and definitely RGSs. Today I remain more invested in/passionate about the college system than just about anyone I know, but I would still have been stifled if my social circle was delimited to the people I lived near. It’s hard to keep reminding myself that other people’s eating clubs—and perhaps frats/sororities and other organizations—do for them what Rocky has done for me (and did for me my freshman year in particular!), but it’s still only fair to try to bear that in mind.
I should really put the effort into an actual commonplace blog….
Symonds, Walt Whitman: A Study
Interview with Samuel Delaney, Paris Review No. 197