Bill Maher has never been shy about who or what receives his harsh criticism on his show. This week, he focused on fraternities during his Friday episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, saying they were like cults and that it was time for them to go away.
“New rule. Before he leaves office, President Obama must send in the National Guard to desegregate American’s last bastion of societal-approved racism: college fraternities.”
College fraternities have had no shortage of media attention in recent weeks, and it’s hardly been good. Penn State University’s Kappa Delta Rho got into trouble after a visitor to the fraternity saw a topless picture of herself on a private Facebook page one of the boys had forgotten to close. Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s University of Oklahoma chapter was disbanded immediately after video of a racist chant aboard a party bus went viral.
Some national fraternity leaders have begun investigations into their chapters to see if any more similar issues exist, but to Maher, fraternities are more negative than positive.
“That’s right, fellas. Gather up your beer funnels and your a– paddles and your lacrosse sticks and your big red plastic drinking cups and get the f–k out. Sorry brah. From now on, if you want to live with forty other dudes and hold secret homoerotic ceremonies, you’re going to have to join the seminary.”
Maher also pointed out the hazing techniques fraternities use on pledges and the deaths that have resulted from them.
“Since 1970, there’s been at least one hazing-related death every year as pledges routinely endure alcohol poisoning, sleep deprivation, waterboarding, being dressed in diapers, buried in trash, force-fed cat food. Jesus, why not just pledge ISIS?”
Some current and former fraternity members were disheartened at the bad press fraternities have been receiving lately, many recounting their positive experiences and explaining that this was a case where a few bad frats were ruining it for everyone else.
“I can assure you that this ‘chant’ was not adopted by the SAE charter at TX State (aka SWT),” Reddit user yourheynis said. “It is sad to see these fraternities continue to give SAE and the entire Greek system a bad name.”
But Maher’s problem with fraternities stretches beyond the controversial news of recent weeks and into something more critical of the tradition and existence of fraternities themselves.
“Of all the bad things fraternities do, the absolute worst is that they take young people at the exact moment when they should be learning to be individuals and turn them into s–t-eating, orders-following group thinkers.”
It’s unlikely that fraternities will be going anywhere soon, persuasive as Bill Maher can be, but it is possible that the influx of negative press will be able to incite meaningful changes. Many universities have been quick to react to instances of racism and abuse, but this is also an issue fraternities will need to deal with themselves.
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