The thing that’s so irksome about freshmen — or “first-years,” if you’re a Gender Studies concentrator — is that they are having more fun than you. The rest of us are weary from their loud bursts of ecstatic liberty; freshman are newly free, yet safely cooped up beneath the big Brown shelter — and they want the world to know.
Then it’s over and bam!: you’re an upperclassmen and you abruptly inherit the solemn duty of mocking them, the fun-havers. Lucky for us, it turns out that teasing the newcomers is a lot of fun.
But our Brown impulse to deride the Young and Gradeless used to be much crueler. For this Blog edition of Ra Ra Brunonia we turn to the aptly called Encyclopedia Brunoniana by Martha Mitchell. According to Mitchell, since 1907, Brown’s Cammarian Club, a selective and elite cabal (and early student government), mandated that all first year students don a special brand of beanie called Eton caps. These things were fucking awful. They were, essentially, small brown-colored skullcaps. These harsh hats were unflattering, unfashionable, and, most crucially, marked you as a fun-haver — which meant your smug freshman head belonged in a toilet. [Read more →]