[img id="80532" align="alignleft"] Sitting through Monday’s interminable Student Government (SG) debate, I couldn’t help but think of the things I’d rather be doing with my time: watching TV, doing homework, gnawing off a limb. The debate was excruciating for the same reason it always is—the Moose Party once again proved that if you like your obnoxiousness to be enormously distracting and served with a side of misogyny, U of C frat guys have got you covered.
The Moose Party, for those unfamiliar, is comprised of Delta Upsilon (DU) brothers, and just completed its 14th consecutive unsuccessful run for the Executive Slate. A centerpiece of the Moose campaign is packing the annual SG debate with drunk frat guys, who proceed to heckle rival campaigns.
To call the Moose Party a joke is unfair—jokes are supposed to be funny. The Moose Party, on the other hand, is predicated on the idea that the only thing more hilarious than a frat boy is a drunk frat boy. Thus, those of us unlucky enough to be present at the SG debate were treated to gems such as a DUer repeatedly yelling the word “Penis!” (which is funny because guys have penises), Moose Party partisans whistling loudly so as to interfere with a rival candidate’s answers (which is funny because frat guys just do crazy stuff like that sometimes), and some Moose supporters shouting sexist remarks whenever outgoing undergraduate liaison Hollie Gilman’s name was mentioned (which is funny because she’s a girl).
What was lacking from the Moose Party’s performance, however, was any sort of actual humor. The Moose Party and its followers operate from a nihilistic standpoint. They take it for granted that SG is useless and that everyone’s time is better spent hearing frat guys yell incoherently about replacing course books with a VHS copy of Independence Day (part of the Party’s “platform”). Such an approach, however, is thoroughly anti-intellectual and belied by reality. As much as we like moaning about it, SG is clearly a more nuanced organization than some give it credit for. Over the past year, for example, SG played a leading role in reopening the A-Level, resolving the #171 bus stop controversy, and convincing the Student Care Center to distribute Plan B again.
This is not to say that SG is never ridiculous, or that those who seek to join it are not worthy of mockery. Indeed, I kept waiting for Moose to pick up on one of the many ripe targets for satire. Where was their response to the vapidity of the YEP slate, whose campaign posters feature three first-years staring vaguely (but importantly) into the distance, and whose platform is so empty and full of platitudes I’m not convinced they are not actually an elaborate satire? Moose’s take on the meaningless and bland calls for transparency, communication, and student involvement that were the centerpiece of every slate’s campaign was nowhere to be found. Instead, we got a Moose telling a joke about Kevin Costner. Are they really so busy they can’t even find current pop culture references to use? Faced with the option of engaging with their surroundings and actually saying something worthwhile, the Moose Party chose to rely on the worst, laziest type of humor possible: humor disconnected from reality and encouraging a self-congratulating cynicism for those unwilling to think.
Not that the Moose Party isn’t convinced of its own cleverness. Attempting to salvage some credibility from its overwhelming uselessness, Moose presidential candidate and College third-year Andrew Galluchi claims that the Party is exposing the “frivolity” of the elections, offering the useless Reynolds Club LCD screen (or “TV screen,” as Galluchi incorrectly called it) as the ultimate example of SG’s irrelevance. Setting aside the fact that the screen in question was purchased more than three years ago, who, exactly, does the Moose Party think takes SG so seriously that they need to be shown its frivolity? Most of the students at the debate work for the Maroon, currently serve on SG, or had abandoned lucidity for the haze of drunkenness (to be fair, not all of the drunk frat guys were Moose supporters; a small, but obnoxious minority came out in support of the YEP slate which was, entirely coincidentally, the only slate to feature a tall, attractive first-year female as a candidate). Few on campus take SG seriously at all, a truth which destroys Galluchi’s attempt at rationalization.
On the one hand, it is a bit silly to be overly critical of the Moose Party and its gang of morons. The Moose Party and its campaign exist to promote an annual DU party (the fun kind, not the political type). Furthermore, the idiocy of Moose and its supporters is at least partly a front, born from the joy of public intoxication and release for people who are too meek to be rude as individuals but feel comfortable acting on their more feral impulses when reinforced by a group of like-minded dolts. And yet, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that the joke party for political office actually say something funny.
Zack Hill, a member of the Maroon Editorial Board, is a fourth-year in the College majoring in NELC. His column appears on alternate Fridays.