The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Column: Grinnell students are more judgmental than we claim

Ah, springtime. In this column, the last of my college career, I would like to reflect on something I have noticed about Grinnell over the years—for all its claims of being tolerant, this school has a legendary rumor mill. Rumors about Dagohir (Dag) members, especially, constitute some of the ugliest of the bunch. While I am loath to repeat them here, in fear of their further propagation, I feel that to be dispelled they must be confronted outright.

Take this first, oft-repeated rumor. “Dag house—doesn’t that place have orgies?” The answer is: no, it doesn’t. Nor has it ever. Despite this rumor’s falsity, the fantastical allegation has existed since before my first-year at Grinnell, and it has become so legendary that for a time it even became an inside joke among Dag house members. That the rumor morphed over time from merely one alleged orgy, itself untrue, into an out-and-out Bang Bros extravaganza attests to the scale of the Grinnell rumor mill. Dag house might have had some wild parties in its past, but Roman-style orgies have never been a part of the organization.

That’s a milder one, however. Some of them border on the insane. Consider this one: “I heard that in order to join Dag you have to fuck the leaders of the organization.” Frankly, this rumor should both disconcert and outrage anyone who hears it. Essentially, it alleges that Dag leaders engage in sexual quid pro quo with their members, an activity both illegal and, more importantly, morally repugnant. As exotic as it may seem, joining Dag does not require sexual initiation. What possible purpose, indeed, could this rumor serve, besides to make the group seem bizarrely foreign and therefore more worthy of idle chatter?

I shouldn’t have to say it, but since rumors about Dag never seem to die, I’ll go ahead and say it anyway: stop it. These rumors are immensely damaging to your fellow students. By spreading these rumors, you only sow prejudice on campus among your classmates. For some, to be called a “Dag kid” is a veritable epithet. For a school that prides itself on its acceptance of various lifestyles, even Grinnell seems to have its limits.

As inherently strange as playing with foam swords may seem, there is no reason to hyperbolize the group’s strangeness by sexualizing their activities. Long story short, the next time you see some students playing Dag, walk up to them and ask if you can play. Chances are the players will be more than eager to hand you a weapon, teach you the rules and get you in the game. Like any club, Dag just wants to have fun and they’d be happy if you joined them as well. No sexual initiation required.

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