You Take the Good, You Take the Bad, You Take em Both, and There You Have

15 06 2022

Columbia

The lawsuit from the Mizzou hazing death last fall serves as a backdrop for this story, which looks at the history of college fraternity hazing in the United States. A total of 281 deaths in the last 184 years.

And that’s supposed to be shocking and world changing? That’s only three every two years on average. ATVs are more dangerous to men in the college fraternity age range.

It’s time for Uncle Blogmeister to sit the world down on his lap and teach it one of those facts of life. Yes, that means you, too; You don’t get a pass just because you already live in Columbia. Get the gum out of your mouth and open your ears.

Here goes:

Young men are jackasses. Always have been, always will be.

No matter where you look in human history, the time between the onset of puberty and full brain maturation has always been a statistically treacherous one for adolescents and young men. It’s probably also true for a lot of other mammal species, and I think even a lot of birds are that way too.

In fact, in countries and cultures that have kept reliable enough statistics for a long enough time, this kind of thing is precisely how we know the average age of the onset of male puberty is slowly decreasing. With girls, their puberty onset is really easy to discern, don’t need to get all biological or anatomical here. Which means their averages over time are also easy to calculate. Again, provided the culture’s statistics gathering is on point.

But with us, it’s not as straightforward.

There is a way to tell, though, but it involves ferreting things out of statistics. It’s called “mortality bump.” It’s when we hit puberty, all that new testosterone starts feeing a not yet ripened brain. That’s when we start behaving like jackasses, we do risky brainless dipshitty things, and it often gets us killed. Which means that, plotting the male mortality rate against age for a given year, you can see when the boys generally hit puberty. And, in turn taking that result and plotting over many years, you can see the male puberty onset average declining. In Western Europe, it generally means declining two years per century from 1800 to 2000, from 17-something in 1800 to 13-something in 2000.

We also know that boys’ choirs in the seventeenth century were such that they wanted only prepubescent boys, and let them go when they hit puberty and their voices dropped. There and then, between the 17th and 18th birthdays is when the most common ageing out of boys choirs happened.

Parenthetically, that’s where this “18” number insofar as legal adulthood came from, from the fact that, on average, and for a very long time, a young man’s 18th birthday was his first after puberty onset.

Now, let’s circle back around to this question of college frats and hazing.

If all you have is a three hazing deaths per two year average, then I think that’s a pretty low number indicative of a very safe activity, relatively speaking, considering the target audience, and considering how many guys have been in frats in the last 184 years.

Let me put it another way: If frats never existed, then it’s not as if all 281 of these victims would have gone on to live long full accomplished lives. I think many of them would have died in the puberty-to-brain-maturation danger years from other jackass causes, of which there are and have been very many. Furthermore, without frats, I think that many more jackass deaths would have happened, because the frats were there as a “safer” alternative to far many and more treacherous ways for young men to blow off their jackass energy.

Moral of the story: As long as young men exist, young men dying for jackass reasons will exist. I can add to that, that as long as young men exist, riots will happen. Honestly, while the precipitating cause of any one given riot can vary, the proximate cause of rioting in general, no matter where you look geographically or when you look through history, is the existence of young men. In a way, rioting is just mass public male adolescent and young adult jackassery in the service of showing off some sort of power and influence that usually includes collateral damage and innocent victims.

In both cases, we all know how societies have historically tried to alleviate this problem: Conscription.

However, look for my rational and reasoned explanation to fall on deaf ears. It’s because The Great and The Good (journalists, academics, soyboys, etc.) have it out for frats, mainly out of personal jealousy, that they could never get into one. And that’s just as true for my current country as it is for my native one — Antifa going on a violent attack against frat houses is about a twice a year on average occurrence here. (Ironically, Antifa is sort of a “by any other means” frat house.) Parenthetically, this is one of the psychological reasons why social media are on a censorship rage. It’s revenge of the nerds, the nerds finally getting in a position of power to be able to exact long track vengeance on the jocks who picked on them back in high school.

Related: My prediction from 2017 about the future of fraternities


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3 responses

15 06 2022
Sebastian Hawks

I disagree that these kids won the Darwin Award, many of them did not originate the scheme that caused their demise and reluctantly went along with it…usually chugging large quantities of distilled spirits as some sort of sanction for failing some “test.” The darn kids running these frats are supposed to know distilled spirits are potentially lethal, that’s how Amy Winehouse ironically met her death after being forced off heroin. You don’t “chug” spirits, particularly the overproof stuff. Even “neat” drinks get watered down to around 30% alcohol. The upperclassmen who insist on forcing this dangerous practice are at fault.

I disagree about 17-18 being where the voice changes, more like 14-16. I was Shanghaied into some extra curricular narration contest as a sophomore in High School on Saturday mornings when I wanted to sleep in because of a low voice and I hadn’t been one of the early bloomers or anything so I know it was well before 17-18 when my voice changed.

15 06 2022
countenance

17-18 was when the voice changed in the 17th century.

15 06 2022
Hard Right

I’m surprised there are so few nigger casualties. They used to make their pledges go to class with chains around their necks to remind them of slabery. Rumor had it that they even branded them.

It's your dime, spill it. And also...NO TROLLS ALLOWED~!

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