Confusion Corner: Heckle society forward
February 3, 2011
Our society is coddling us. Standardized test requirements are at once both laughably and depressingly low, to the point that they have become literacy tests. News has been dumbed down to appeal to the lowest common denominator — it’s no coincidence that every politician is now either a “nazi,” “socialist” or “patriot.” For God’s sake, at Taco Bell, their menu is literally pictures you can point to and grunt.
So, how do we cure this general malaise, Griffins? We, the future leaders of the world — the future football coaches, secretaries of defense and hosts of satiric news shows — have a responsibility to right this wrong and show America how to, as Leonardo da Vinci originally said, “grow the hell up.” That is why I am here to write a Defense of Heckling.
We’ve all seen the old paradigm of hecklers: jealous, talentless schmucks who wait around comedy clubs to hurl their insults at performers who are just trying to make a living. That is not what I am advocating, because that is not productive. I assert that heckling ought to be used as tool. If constructive criticism is a gentle push in the right direction, heckling is an unexpected shove out of a moving car.
Last weekend, several of my fraternity brothers and I went to the William and Mary Club Ice Hockey game to support the team and my little, Matt Levey ’13, three-time conference player of the week. We designated sober, responsible drivers, and then the rest of us proceeded to get utterly destroyed. Upon our arrival at the venue, we had the idea to look up the opposing team’s roster on our smartphones so that we could heckle using first names, shouting comments such as “I love you, Dean.” We banged on the glass, made helpful suggestions about how the opposing team’s goalie could play better — “Dude, just give up!” — and suggested how the players should properly understand the importance of their roles — “Your whole team is counting on you and you’re letting them down, number five!” And you know what? They played better. Well, okay, they didn’t — the Tribe spanked them 9-3 — but they now know that their level of performance was unacceptable. Sure, their parents will tell them they “tried hard” and they “gave it their best shot,” but that will not do them any good. If they want to get better, they need friends (read: drunken hockey fans) to explain to them why and how their current performance could be improved, and to obnoxiously tell them their hockey pants look cute.
So, let’s take this field-proven principle and apply it to other areas. Your professor is droning on about the annual gross domestic product of Botswana? Try a chant of, “Not ex-cit-ing, clap, clap, clap clap clap.”
Might you get kicked out of class? Certainly. But professor Ambien up there will get the message. Line moving too slowly in the Commons Dining Hall? Try, “We want stuff-fing!” You may ask, “but what if I don’t really want stuffing?” And, so I ask you, does it matter? The general efficiency will improve, and everyone will hurry along, not wanting to be the next victim of your vindictive and hurtful assistance.
Tribe fans, this is not just my advice. College President Taylor Reveley, a man if ever there was one, was at the hockey game Saturday. He and I talked hockey for a solid five minutes. And during the most boisterous and spirited moments of our heckling, he was 10 feet away, smiling, telling us he loved our enthusiasm for the Tribe. Of course, he probably worded it more like, “Gentlemen, your fervor and zest arouse a passion in my bosom unlike any it has previously known. Excellent.”
So, go out and heckle. Heckle your teachers, heckle your friends, heckle your significant others. Because remember, if you don’t heckle, you’re a socialist. Right, Mr. Beck?
__Jason Rogers is a Confusion Corner columnist and he thinks that if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.__