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If there’s one thing fraternities and sororities love, it’s themed parties. If there’s one sort of theme to their, uh, themes, I guess, that they enjoy, it would be “offensive.” If these pictures are any indication, that has been the case for quite some time.
Now, just because I call these themes offensive doesn’t mean I’m personally offended by them, though if you throw on some blackface and film it then you’re more or less the world’s biggest moron. I’m of the opinion that you shouldn’t really give a shit if you’re being offensive to other people. That might have been in my cover letter when I applied to TFM, actually. Just kidding, to get this job all I had to do was finish a case of Natty and get to second base with Allen’s wife in less than three hours. Anyway, I’d say that British actor/comedian Stephen Fry summed up how one should regard others’ perceived offenses pretty perfectly, and I agree wholeheartedly.
“It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more… than a whine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what.”
Unfortunately, we don’t live in a world that rational. Still, it’s interesting to look back on the roots of the “offensive” parties. I like to imagine the first fraternities threw parties mocking the Irish and hung a placard that read “Fuck Santa Anna” onto the rear of their buggies. Regardless of when themed fraternity parties actually started, these photos from a 1930 party thrown by the Tufts chapter of Delta Upsilon are proof that they’ve been around for a while.
Obviously we don’t know how the party turned out. It could have been a gas (the 1930s equivalent of a rager) or not, but I like to think that the DU brothers snagged plenty of grandma pelt that evening after everyone happily swilled bathtub gin, and then donated the proceeds (and any leftover gin) to local tramps. But hey, I’m an optimist.
[via Tufts Digital Library]