Here in the United States of the Permanently Aggrieved, being offended has hit epidemic proportions, a Black Death plague upon individuality, honesty, and speech. It’s not just that people are too easily offended, which they most definitely are, it’s that so many of them actively seek things to be offended by each day.
It has gotten to the point where it is almost impossible to separate what is truly offensive, marginally offensive, and simply a case of someone in dire need of a Metamucil Jello shot so they can lighten the you-know-what up (they really work!).
Once offense is taken, overreaction is in order. It is against that backdrop that Harvard University canceled the remainder of its men’s soccer season because a bunch of stupid college boys acted like a bunch of stupid college boys:
The Harvard men’s soccer team has been suspended for the remainder of the season after the school discovered the team had repeatedly written and circulated vulgar, sexually explicit “scouting reports” about new recruits on the women’s team, in a practice that continued up to this year.
“The decision to cancel a season is serious and consequential,” Harvard President Drew Faust said in a statement Thursday. She wrote that “both the team’s behavior and the failure to be forthcoming when initially questioned are completely unacceptable, have no place at Harvard, and run counter to the mutual respect that is a core value of our community.”
Men’s soccer coach Pieter Lehrer said the team was “beyond disappointed” to see the season end this way, but would respect the decision.
Let me insert (potentially offensive term) a big, fat (offensive term) disclaimer here: I am not dismissing the behavior or offering excuses for the soccer team. They made the poor life choice to play a largely communist sport that is currently dominated by countries that really can’t win wars anymore so there is only so much sympathy I can give them.
This is about the overreaction and its role in trying to make the United States a country that also can’t win wars anymore. Sure, we’ll have better World Cup performances after that, but we will also be forced to eat vuvuzelas because there won’t be any food left in our newly commie (China will quickly annex us when we can’t win wars) hellhole.
There are, no doubt, still millions of Americans who would write this off by saying, “Boys will be boys.” We may call college males “men” but they are most definitely still boys. Millennia of observation have shown us that male humans don’t emotionally mature until death. Many cultures refer to embalming fluid as the “wisdom drug” for men. We notice women because we wouldn’t still be around as a species to have this discussion if we didn’t, and sometimes we are rude and offensive when we do.
That doesn’t mean that said boys get to be crass pigs towards women without any repercussions. These guys definitely need some lessons in not being utterly offensive morons. What they most definitely do not need, however, is more free time on their hands. Now a bunch of frothing idiot horndogs who should probably be running an extra mile or two every day after practice to be taught a lesson will spend a month with fewer responsibilities and no physical outlet.
Effing brilliant Harvard.
Let’s also not overlook the fact that kids who have the kind of childhood that prepares them for Harvard may not be loaded with social skills, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. Hell, half of these guys may have never spoken to a female who wasn’t inflatable or a cousin until they got to college (inflatable cousins are found in a different NCAA athletic conference-you’ll figure it out). It’s those guys who tend to be the most awful when talking about females. Other guys are too busy talking to females, which lends itself to greater levels of politeness.
I’m sure Harvard presumes that their young men are different, and that is probably true when it comes to academic ability (not intelligence, just academic ability). The emotional IQ of college-age males is remarkably low and static across all demographics, however. You can spend days scratching the surface on a 19-year-old boy and all you are going to find is more surface. If he remembers on his own to shower more than twice a week he’s practically ready for a MacArthur Genius grant.
There is nothing wrong with higher standards. Unfortunately we’ve sort of phased those out of the elementary and high school portion of the education process, which makes it super awkward when we finally introduce kids to them at the college level.
Stephen Kruiser is a professional stand-up comic and writer who has had the honor of entertaining U.S. troops all over the world.