Last week two Duke University fraternities thought it would be hilarious and cool to email crude, tasteless Halloween party invitations to a select group of 300 lucky ladies. Ordinarily, crude and tasteless is the ordre du jour of any correspondence between Duke frat boys and other human beings: Recipients simply delete the junk and go about their day.
But in this particular instance, someone wasn't about to just let it go: The morning after the festivities, the Duke campus was plastered with copies of the allegedly offensive emails. Angry handwritten messages were scrawled along the bottom including this one: If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.
Having read both emails I can honestly say that, yes, I am outraged. Here I thought these emails would be laugh-out-loud funny. I barely cracked a smile at most of their one-liners. This is supposed to be one of the best schools in the country, correct? Honestly, I expect more out of these Duke frat boys!
Both emails have me wondering what sort of writing prerequisites Duke requires of its students and if perhaps the school should look into focusing more on writing in its curriculum.
Take this sentence, for instance:
Whether you are dressing up as a slutty nurse, a slutty doctor, a slutty schoolgirl or just a total slut, we invite you to find shelter in the confines of Partners D.
This is what we in the writing trade call a "cliche" -- something to be avoided at all costs. Making fun of women for wearing revealing outfits on Halloween is the opposite of original. Plus, isn't this the whole point of the holiday?
Here's another less-than-stellar gem:
Congratulations for not having the physique to pull off Snooki this year.
Didn't anyone ever instruct these guys to be clear and concise when writing? In other words, don't write around the issue, just say it: If you want to make a fat girl joke, then just come out and say it: Congratulations for not being fat. Done and done.
And, finally, this choice line cannot go ignored:
Fear is riding the C1 with Helen Keller at the helm (not because she's deaf and blind but because she's a woman).
There are sooooo many better Helen Keller jokes out there. Is this the only one they could think of? Perhaps they need to be introduced to a good friend of mine called Google.
Next time the frat bros plan on being crude, sexist, offensive, and all around repulsive, maybe they could put a little more heart into it? Because these just reek of half-ass lameness.
Were you offended by the Duke emails? Or should boys just be allowed to be boys *giggle*?
Image via vosburg_09/Flickr