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February 08, 1988 - Image 28

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-02-08

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Greek rejection
isn't lethal cut
By Lori Darvas
Daily Northwestern
Northwestern U., IL
Rush is over.
The songs have been sung; the wel-
come signs are up; and the actives are
enthusiastically introducing their new
brothers and sisters to Greek life. But
beneath the excitement, there are peo-
ple hidden behind undecorated doors.
They're pretending that they really
don't want to be part of the Greek sys-
tem. They're trying to convince them-
selves that it doesn't hurt to go through
rush and get rejected.
I know the feeling. I rushed a sorority
during the winter quarter of my sopho-
more year, and I was cut. It hurt.
Rushing had been a spur of the moment
decision. I thought Greek life would
hold the answers to my problems. The
house could be my home away from
home, and my sisters could be an ex-
tended family to lend me the support
and love I needed.
So I rushed two of my friends' soror-
ities, and after a few visits decided to
concentrate on one. I solicited advice
from all my Greek friends. I borrowed
clothes from all my fashionable friends.
Rush was fun, though a little nerver-
acking. Contrary to popular rumor, no-
body asked about my fathers occupa-
Originally, 26 girls rushed the house.
After the first cut, 16 of us were invited
back to the house for a warm, sen-
timental "white rose ceremony." Every-
one stood in a circle, singing, while the
sorority president gave the pledges a
candle and a wish that their love would
shine on us.
Inthoughtsthis was the official id ses-
sion, ecause I didn't think they would
waste anything so sentimental on just a
rushee. I found out the next day that it
was only a ceremony. A note under my
door informed me that there just wasn't
enough room in that particular chapter.
To soothe my bruised ego, I burned the
note with the candle. After the, tears
subsided, I tried to figure out what went
wrong. I analyzed all of my actions,
trying to remember what I said and
whom I had said it to.
The girls had been so friendly and
sincere. I liked them and thought they
liked me. The next morning I found
another note- this one from one of the
actives. She told me she was sorry about
the rejection and she hoped we could
still be friends. The note meant a lot to
me. It told me the past few weeks had
not been wasted. I still see the girls that
rushed me, in classes or in the library,
proudly displaying the letters I never
got to wear. After almost two years, I
still look at them, trying to determine
what they have that I lack.
But I don't hate them. I know Greek
life isn't for everyone. If it were then
there would be no de-pledging and
Northwestern U. could convert most of
the dorms into houses. I know enough
people who love being Greek, so it must
be right for them.
Being cut from the sorority was a
mixed blessing. I had counted on using
my Greek connections to solve my prob-
lems. After being cut, I was forced to
help myself. And it worked. Everything
I ever wanted is within my non-Greek
reach. So all the people that rushed and

were rejected should take heart. Life at
NU can be alot of fun, no matter who
you are.

Author blasts Higher Education

By Theresa Joyce
Indiana-Purdue U., Indianapolis
Why do you suppose so many people
are pretending to read "The Closing of
the American Mind: How Higher
Education Has Failed Democracy and
Impoverished the Souls of Today's Stu-
dents," by Allan Bloom?
Perhaps if they had indeed read the
book in detail, there would be more arti-
cles or letters strongly challenging
Bloom's assertions rather than the flow-
ery praises of "intellectual enlighten-
ment" from dailies, news weeklies and
college officials across the country and
around the world.
Although Bloom dogmatically pon-
tificates on all that is wrong with Amer-
ican society, specifically: books, music,
relationships, divorce, sex, and the self,
it was his chapter on "The State & The
University," that stopped this reviewer/
student dead in her tracks.
American universities fail to provoke
serious thought among students, Bloom
asserts. He feels that universities are
similar to modern factories, spewing
out robot-like students trained for pro-
fessional careers versus social thought.
For Bloom to suggest that today's stu-
dents are being spoon-fed professional
training rather than overall liberal
education is a sweeping generalization.
Sure, some students say, "I want to
study medicine," but I don't think they
mean to pursue this at the expense of
history, literature and the arts.
Supplemental courses are required
by all departments, regardless of de-

_ __94 L~
-T Y 'S U E L TO W
clared major. Bloom feels that when
students arrive at a university, they are
besieged with a variety of departments,
and a bewildering variety of courses.
"There is no official guidance, no uni-
versity-wide agreement about what he
should study. Nor does he find readily
available examples, either among stu-
dents or professors, of a unified use of
the university's resources," says Bloom.
Perhaps this view is typical of large,
traditional campuses, but certainly not
of the smaller urban campus, where
university officials literally go out of
their way to ensure that students not
only receive the guidance they need, but
are surrounded by "real world" instruc-
tors, working professionals devoting
their time and energy to continuing

education programs.
How then does one explain why some
college officials applaud Bloom's boo
as "rich" and "absorbing," displaying
the book prominently on the proverbial
coffee table? I find it hard to believe th
they've read what he says about them:
"Most professors are specialists, con-
cerned only with their own fields, or
their own personal advancement," he
writes. As a result, "Students must
navigate among a collection of carnival
barkers, each trying to lure him to a
particular sideshow."
The one thing that his book does is
force readers to take a stand. After all
Bloom is entitled to voice his opinion
He takes advantage of his position as a
professor of social thought at the Uni-
versity of Chicago to do just that. The
section of Bloom's book attracting the
most attention is not the inflammatory
chapters on music, sex and the student
lifestyle, but the second section in which
he exposes the meaninglessness of
words such as "sensitivity," "commit-
ment," "values" and "creativity"'-th
self-defining vocabulary of the 60s an
70s. Bloom argues that these phrases
"don't explain anything to anybody."
However, the 40s generation had its
limited vocabulary of political thought
with terms such as "red scare," "loose
lips sink ships," and "parlor pink" ex-
plaining nothing, but representing im-
portant ideas to those who used them.
Explaining this book proves rather
difficult. So much information is accom
panied by references and quotes from
Socrates, Heidegger, Rousseau and
many others, that interpreting the book
requires a graduate degree in philoso-
phy. Bloom is first a professor, and his
book tends to read like a textbook - it
plods. Bloom does, however, invite se-
rious and critical reflection on the state
of our minds and souls.

He's just hearsing around



By David Elmore
The Shorthorn
U. of Texas, Arlington
He wanted a dependable-but-cheap
car. Nothing great. One thieves would
bypass. One that perhaps was a little
different. One that would last. So Bruce
Buchanan bought a white hearse from a
local funeral home one night two years
ago. The communications junior has
never looked back-except when he
heard sounds coming from his back
When he-bought the hearse, Bucha-
nan didn't find anything strange about
owning a vehicle with a dubious reputa-
tion. And he couldn't wait to show his
father his new wheels. "The first place I
went was home," he said. "Dad was
proud at first that I had bought a car.
But when he came out to look at it, I
thought he was going to die."
Buchanan was surprised to learn that

hearses were so inexpensive. He
assumed bigger always meant more
money. But he found that funeral
homes usually sell them when they get
too many dents or deteriorate into a
grave condition. He cites one specific
rule about owning a hearse. "Never take
a date out for the first time in it."
Although Buchanan intended the
hearse for personal transportation, it
has caught the attention of his Sigma
Nu fraternity brothers, who have
adopted it.
"It's more of an animal house hearse,"
he said. "I don't put much money into it,
and it's so ugly, it's atrocious." Another
problem is that the hearse has a musty
smell, "but not from death," Buchanan
says. "You can tell on long trips when
you sleep in the back. People get back
there and get that weird look on their
face, and say, 'Hey, I can smell that for-
maldehyde stuff."

Continued From Page 13
Janowitz began to come into her
own at the start of the 80s, as her
stories began to appear in The New
Yorker and The Paris Review. At
the same time, she began to be
identified as a regular feature of
the downtown club crowd as a free-
lance columnist for Andy Warhol's
Interview. It is with Warhol that
Janowitz public persona begins to
make sense. "One very nice thing
he said to me was that he wished I
had been there in the 60s, to write
about the art scene and the night-
life ... because he didn't feel that
anyone did it."
Although Janowitz's celebrity
has begunto take on a career all its
own, she seems nonchalant about
her fame. "I mean I don't care, it's
nice to make a living from my writ-
ing, is the main thing." Janowitz is
often seen as a member of the
much-maligned "Blank Genera-
tion" group of authors such as Bret
Ellis and Jay McInerney who claim
as their province the trendiest
clubs, flashiest clothes, and most
expensive drugs of todays sub-
yuppie culture. "I don't think our
work is alike," says Janowitz. "But
I think it's that we're reaching an
audience that wasn't going out and
buying books before."
Whether or not Cannibal makes
it to the best-seller lists, Janowitz
will continue writing. Like any true
club-goer, she is somewhat wary of
the longevity of things, including
her fiction.





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