Why you should ignore GIG--a Brief Suggestion

           The bizarre carnivalesque debauchery known as "Get Into Goucher" was introduced to the college shortly after I arrived.  The administration was trying desparately to be creative and "relevant" to students, and thought that by cancelling classes and putting on a show they might enhance students' loyalty to Goucher.  The practice has ancient lineage.

          Roman senators from the time of Nero forward kept the Roman citizens from rebelling by staging chariot races and gladitorial competitions in the Colliseum and by distributing free bread to the starving.  This "bread and circuses" strategy worked fairly well for the masses, but it also revealed the weakness of the imperial mandate to rule.  Critics pointed out that the competitions and free bread were paid for by the citizens' taxes, so they were actually funding their own distraction from the business of survival.  Today, the term "bread and circuses" is routinely used of any government's attempt to distract a social group from its problems by using their funds to put on empty shows and to encourage excess consumption of food and drink.

         Today, Goucher College exacts fairly steep "Student Activity Fees" from you that are put into a mysterious series of funds from which numerous events are paid for.  Among them is GIG.  Unlike most other "student activities," this one causes classses to be cancelled.  You already have paid for those classes with your tuition, so you are really paying twice for GIG.  Then there is the regime of enforced distraction and excess consumption that is implicitly encouraged by the event, though now drunkenness and exotic drug use are now also discouraged by the juxtaposition of "Alcohol Awareness Week."  Alas, even the most well-intentioned students are likely to be seduced by the event's appeal to peer pressure and class identity.

          What can you do instead?  The Athenaeum remains open.  In it, there are row upon row of printed books which contain some of the greatest thoughts produced by human culture.  You could wait for those annoying bells to ring from the chapel's PA system, and then walk to the Ath, pick out a good book you have not read before, find a comfortable seat, and improve your mind.  It's just a suggestion.  You also could volunteer at a homeless shelter or talk long and sincerely with a friend in need.  You might even meditate upon what you have studied so far and plan your final papers for next month.  What you do not have to do is follow the mob.  Whatever you do, please do it in moderation, mindfully, and return to classes refreshed.