Like a majority of college students, I didn’t belong to a frat or sorority. And like a majority of those, I had attitudes and prejudices about those that did. They weren’t terribly original, and I won’t recount them. I don’t have them anymore. Looking back with a bit of wisdom, Greek Life has a certain logic to it. It provides an extended family, with pertaining duties and obligations, to those who have just stepped away from their original family. It provides a social calendar and the support of one’s peers, at a time when those things are handy. A well-run frat or sorority provides leadership opportunities, academic standards, and service to the community.
But for people who never went Greek, a lot of the inside-baseball, hyperdramatic hysteria of Greek life – rushing, pledging, judging, competing — seems exactly that. Which may explain why Rebecca Martinson’s email rant to her sorority sisters has gone viral (scroll down to read the full text of the email). It’s the towering rage, with expletives used as punctuation, juxtaposed with the insignificance of the subject — her sisters failing to show adequate Sorority Spirit – that prompts hilarious reposting and now, even dramatic readings by actors.
Embarassments like this only have one kind of ending, and today Martinson resigned from her sorority. I likewise hope that Martinson learns from this, and that we all find someone else to abuse now that she’s paid the price for Internet notoriety. But when I read the email, I find myself wondering, did she have a point? Was there something, however trivial, that her sisters should have been doing, that they were not? And could she have found a way to express that which would have a) made clear how serious she took it, b) gotten the email’s recipients to respond in a way she thought positive, and c) NOT prompted anyone to make it public?
Well, let’s imagine that world. Let’s imagine that Martinson had angrily typed out her rant in, say, Microsoft Word, rather than an email browser, and then let it sit for a day, and then came back to it, and then revised her thoughts to something professional.
It may have looked like this: