In terms of fraternity heroes, Will Ferrell probably sits somewhere between Bob Marley songs and and Animal House posters, which is why Ferrell's recent kind of, sort of suggestion that the Greek system should maybe be abolished is sort of shocking. At a Q+A at SXSW, former Old School star and one-time frat brother himself Ferrell was asked about fraternities, and gave a surprisingly thoughtful response.
The incident in Oklahoma, that is a real argument for getting rid of the system altogether, in my opinion, even having been through a fraternity. Because when you break it down, it really is about creating cliques and clubs and being exclusionary. Fraternities were started as academic societies that were supposed to have a philanthropic arm to them. And when it’s governed by those kind of rules, then they’re still beneficial. But you gotta be careful. I was lucky in that the one I was in, we were really kind of the anti-fraternity fraternity. We were considered good enough to get the exchanges with the good sororities. We couldn’t get anyone to vote on anything, but if you needed 40 guys to show up and build a 20-foot-tall papier-mâché version of the Matterhorn, we were there and ready. But we didn’t take it too seriously. It was just about having fun. But I think it’s an interesting dilemma for universities these days.
And a thousand frat bros cried out at once, as if pierced through the heart. Of course, as Ferrell acknowledged, fraternities do offer a lot of good to incoming college students. And yet, one wonders if that good outweighs the bad.Discuss
OK. Let's calm down. This is just one study, and obviously there are other studies (which we have covered extensively), because nobody likes to hear Millennials may be lacking in basic skills—least of all us. Nevertheless, in the interest of fair reporting, you should know that a new study does suggest that while Millennials are the best educated generation in American history, they are still, to use this report's words, "unskilled." That is, Millennials lag far behind other countries in terms of basic skills, like reading proficiency and numeracy. Half of American Millennials couldn't meet the minimum standard for reading proficiency (putting the U.S. in third to last place among the countries surveyed). That's better than numeracy, in which American Millennials came in dead last. In fact, an American Millennial with a four-year college education scores about the same on basic skills as a high school graduate from Japan, the Netherlands or Finland.
The report says that "A decade ago, the skill level of American adults was judged 'mediocre.' Now it is below even that. Millennials, who will form the backbone of this nation's future, are not poised to lift us out of this predicament; in fact, the lack of adequate skills in this population has become a challenge for us to confront." Discuss
In January of 2014, Sam Priestley was probably about as good as you are at ping pong, if not a little worse. But he resolved to play a few matches every day for a solid year, and put together a video of his progress. It's pretty amazing to watch him slowly improve, little by little. According to the video, his goal was to crack the Top 250 players ranking in his native England—a mighty lofty goal he did not quite achieve—but he most certainly became better at it than you are ... Discuss
Back in 2000, the cruel, indeterminable hand of fate drove a wedge between two dear friends who deserved better. Tom Hanks and Wilson, a volleyball, were split by space and time, their friendship rent asunder by forces beyond their control. One was (spoiler alert, if you haven't seen Castaway, but this was in 2000, so you really should have seen Castaway by now. You've had enough time) rescued and taken back to America. The other spent his days adrift at sea, alone but for his own sober thoughts. But the tides of change wax even as they wane, and some friendships are forged by a furnace hotter than those of nature and chance. The bond between Wilson and Hanks was too strong to remain forever riven, and at last night's New York Rangers game, they made their happy reunion public, as is the custom of the times. So may all our lost friendships be one day found anew in the gladdening light of that sun that does not permit loneliness to long endure ... Discuss