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James Newman

Professor Doran

ENC 2135

February 14, 2017

Its More Than a Party

I will analyze the movie Goat, the article Why Hazing is Good for you, the television

series Blue Mountain State, and an interview with a student in a fraternity here at Florida State.

I will be examining how these four genres shape and influence our understanding of students in

fraternities. By comparing whether the four genres reinforce or resist the stereotypes associated

with students in fraternities it expands our understanding of how to perceive an identity.

The movie Goat is about a 19 year old student who was brutally mugged when giving a

stranger a ride from a party. After taking time off from school to recover Brad enrolls in a small

college with plans of joining the same fraternity as his older brother. This movie specifically

targets high school and college students. Men in fraternities can relate to how the movie portrays

the pledging experience. And for those who are eager or curious to join a fraternity it creates a

vivid picture of what pledging a fraternity entails. It explores masculinity and the dark side of

frat culture, specifically the hazing involved with pledging a fraternity. The opening scene takes

you through a typical fraternal party, binge drinking, loud music, cocaine and girl on girl

action. All of which, the main character Brad is visibly at odds with. When asked to do cocaine

with his brother Brett, he shies away, quickly giving an excuse. Upon leaving the party is when

the mugging occurs. His assailants left him utterly emasculated, begging for mercy, and nearly

beaten to death. This violent act sets a dark tone, with ramifications visible throughout the rest of
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plot. When he recovers, Brad gets rid of his glasses and begins to party, drink, take home girls,

and join a fraternity. It is evident through Brads actions that he is trying to regain his masculine

confidence in order to get past his trauma. The movie uses pathos to emotionally capture its

audience. For example, Brad being beaten to near death for his car makes the audience

emotionally invested in his wellbeing throughout the rest of the movie. The mugging ruined his

self-image because he didnt fight back. He is then further demoralized when the authorities are

in disbelief that he gave a ride to a stranger. Suspecting that it must have been a drug deal gone

awry he later asks his brother Brett, Do you think Im a pussy? I dont know why I didnt fight

back. The brothers of the fraternity are all portrayed as archetypical, all muscles, good looking,

womanizers, with nothing more on their mind than partying. As Brads hell week begins, he

endures a series of demeaning hazing rituals that are intended to mold him into a fraternity man

and create a sense of comradery. In reality rituals like making pledges take rounds after rounds of

shots and even confining some to a dogs cage to be peed on does nothing more than sustain the

cycle of inane hazing rituals. When hazing is done in that sense, the pledges that make it through

the process are filled with anger, which later comes out when they are finally able to do to the

next pledge class what was done to them in order to earn a place among the brotherhood. Like

many other American movies portraying fraternal life Goat reinforces all the negative

stereotypes of frat culture. Rarely is there a scene not involving alcohol, sex, drugs, or violence.

In the article Why is Hazing is Good for you the author Hans Dix challenges the

negative stereotypes associated with hazing in fraternities and sheds light on what hazing does

when its performed constructively. The article relies on ethos and pathos in conveying his
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message. The author uses ethos by arguing that from his experience, when hazing is done right it

is beneficial, It taught me discipline, it taught me strength, and it helped me check my vastly

overinflated freshman ego. To put it shortly, its one of the best things to ever happened to me.

Pathos is incorporated in his introduction when he expresses his frustration with the medias

biased one-sided coverage of the negative aspects of hazing, Im tired of the unopposed reports

and constant circle-jerks going on about an issue that they know next to nothing about. The

article targets people looking to learn more about hazing from a source with experience instead

of opinions formulated from the culmination of misfortunate events arising from incorrect

hazing. The author sets a clear tone for article in the second paragraph, While it may be in the

low T liberal dudes and feminist carbon copies best interest that these types of traditions be

extinguished, as they pose a strong threat to their set of beliefs, it is up to us as men to maintain

them. The author is implying that those in opposition of hazing are too weak to endure it and

that it is a long standing tradition separates the strong from the weak. When he refers to hazing

hes not talking about the violence and liquor abuse that is highlighted in Goat. Im talking

about a dark, smoky room full of blindfolded pledges doing wall sits while reciting the

fraternitys creed in unison over and over again like Hari Krishna. Constructive hazing creates a

sense of camaraderie and lasting friendship by holding every pledge accountable for one another.

If the pledge doesnt know the creed, its as if all the pledges dont know the creed. By holding

each other accountable it creates trust and group of individuals that help each other to succeed.

The author's diction reinforces the identity that men in fraternities are more strong minded and

superior to those who arent, Back in the early days, young men were often sent out on their
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own to go kill a lion, or forced to be bitten by bugs, or to fight one another until incapacitation.

They were rituals given to the young men as a rite of passage, once they completed the task, they

were heralded and celebrated, welcomed into the tribe as respected men and viewed as people

one could rely on. This article resists the negative stereotypes of hazing portrayed in Goat and

Blue Mountain State by arguing that when hazing is done correctly it creates a sense of

camaraderie and discipline. Goat characterizes fraternal life with violence, sexual conquests,

drug abuse, and binge drinking. While, Why Hazing Is Good for You attributes it to discipline,

respect among peers, and reliability.

Blue Mountain State is a comedic television series that takes place in a fictional

university. The show the follows the starting quarterbacks rise to fame on the BMS football

team. The show uses violence, excessive drug use, sex, hazing, and out of control partying to

satire an exaggerated frat boy culture. It relies on pathos by tapping into people's needs and

desires. It targets the primal need of security, wanting to be part of a group, wanting to be

appreciated, and trying to fit into and be a part of something larger than oneself.

Blue Mountain State caters to a young audience by using over the top cartoonish humor in a

college setting. The first scene of the show sets a clear tone. The two main characters Alex

Moran-the starting quarterback-and Sammy Cacciatore-the team mascot-are chugging beers on

the first day of class. Both Alex and Sammy make a pledge to each other to party as hard as they

possibly can before the best four years of their life are over. There is an unrealistic portrayal of

Greek Life in this show. The partying part of the spectrum is highlighted, however, the side of

fraternities that is centered on integrity, philanthropy, and scholarship is all overlooked.

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The last genre I will be analyzing in my essay is an interview from a senior here at

Florida State University, who is a brother in a top tier fraternity. In the interview I asked him to

give me a summary of his experience in a fraternity and whether he found the stereotypes present

in the other genres I analyzed to be true or not. Additionally, he shed light on other stereotypes

present in frat culture. This genre derives its credibility through its use of ethos because the

person being interviewed has been a part of fraternal life for four years. For the sake of

anonymity, I will call the interviewee John. John has observed that frat culture is very

homophobic. His fraternity, just like all other fraternities on campus, would not knowingly give a

homosexual a bid. He has also noticed that the demographic of students joining fraternities are

highly over-privileged. He said, students in fraternities pay $800 dollars in dues a semester just

to party and that doesnt even include all the money spent on going out to the bar multiple times

a week. For students in fraternities that is just the norm. Johns summary reinforced negative

stereotypes such as binge drinking, drug abuse, and sexual conquests. He stated that, from the

moment I began pledging a fraternity I was getting alcohol shoved down my throat. I was

constantly pressured to do drugs and always told that college is about having sex with as many

women as possible. His account also reinforced the positive stereotypes aforementioned in

Why Hazing is Good for you. You have to be mentally and physically tough to make it

through the pledging process. I cant remember how many nights I spent doing hours of planks

and push-ups with a four-page paper due the next morning. John explained that because of the

adversity he endured with his pledge class he realized the true meaning of brotherhood through

camaraderie.Although the other genres discussed reinforce the negative stereotypes present in

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frat culture they fail to consider the magnitude of the bonds formed within fraternal life. The frat

environment creates a sense of community where you can experiment and get valuable advice

from brothers who have experienced your struggles. Through their support, you gain confidence

in difficult times and often inspiration to pursue your dreams.

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Work Cited

Dix, Hans. "Why Hazing Is Good For You." Total Frat Move. Total Frat Move, 9 Jan. 2015. Web.

13 Feb. 2017.

Goat. Dir. Andrew Need. Perf. Nick Jonas and Ben Schnetzer. The Film Arcade and Paramount

Pictures, 2016. Film.

Romano, Chris, and Eric Falconer, prods. "Its Called Hazing, Look It Up." Blue Mountain

State. Spike. 11 Jan. 2010. Television.