It is with pride and relief that I commend the Freshman Class Council’s decision to change the theme of the upcoming Freshman Screw in response to concerns voiced by members of the Black Student Alliance at Yale. The new theme? “A Midwinters Night’s Dream.”
BSAY President Jamilah Prince-Stewart ’09 was quoted in Thursday’s News stating, “For some people, [Gone With the Wind] reads as a movie about the enslavement of black people.” Never having seen the movie itself, I was shocked. Have all those relatives and friends just been lying through their teeth when they described the movie as being about things like “romance”? I was perhaps foolhardy to trust IMDB’s account of “the history of a selfish woman who doesn’t want to admit her feelings about the man she loves, and finally loses him.” Because the film, of course, is about the enslavement of black people.
One might as well “wear a slave costume,” to quote Brandee Blocker ‘12, who also e-mailed the FCC to register her complaints.
When FCC members met to discuss the Screw theme — no doubt at midnight, in the Skull & Bones tomb, wearing white sheets over their heads — they had one goal in mind: a highly offensive theme. One that would make the black community uncomfortable, and maybe even bring some kinky slave costumes out of the woodwork.
Closer inspection of the minutes of that meeting, had they not been burned, would probably reveal several other alternatives vying with the cinematic classic. “Fun in the Sun” was suggested for its connotations of skin cancer and shark attacks. “Your Knight in Shining Armor” was seen as especially attractive for its references to certain key aspects the Middle Ages, such as plague, male chauvinism, religious intolerance, and wanton slaughter.
Reportedly clocking in at a close second to “Gone With the Wind” was “A Midwinters Night’s Dream.” The allusion to the Elizabethan era in which Shakespeare lived was powerful, conjuring up images of an autocracy where the slave trade was in full swing and women could not even act in female parts on stage. (The extra “s” in “Midwinters” was meant as a jab at those who have trouble with grammar and/or typing, especially the arthritic and dyslexic.) Second-best but still suitably insulting, I cannot find fault with its use as a fall-back position for a representative body confronted with the righteous outrage of its constituents.
In conclusion, I will still be attending the freshman screw — but I guess I’ll have to leave my horsewhip and manacles at home.
The writer is a freshman in Davenport College.