The Society convened on April 19 for the thirteenth time this semester for the Dean Gordon Debate to examine the question Resolved: The bro, and not the hipster, represents the greatest threat to Western civilization.
Mr. Richard Rinaldi and Mr. Kevin Diasti, making his affirmation, spoke on the affirmation. Ms. Bibiana Pesant and Mr. Daniel Kendrick, making his induction, spoke on the negation.
Bearing in mind Ms. Green’s reminders that the Dean Gordon Debate is about wit, which still includes decency and eloquence, the Society gathered this Thursday, clad in popped collars, glorious pastels, skinny jeans, and plaid galore, ready to (attempt to) be funny. Mr. Diasti began the evening with a story about his descent to the land of bro-dom that is the frat house basement. Here, as the sounds of Asher Roth and Miley Cyrus filled the room, he was surrounded by girls wearing fabric strips they called skirts and boys affirming their masculinity by throwing balls in cups ten feet in front of them. Listening to their conversations–if you can really call it that–he concluded that frat bros perpetuate three things: superficiality and valuing money above all else, ignorance of female empowerment, and the revival of a labeling system. Ultimately, quoting the wise words of a one Mr. Derrick Zoolander, “I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good-looking.” And we, a group of really, really, ridiculously good-looking people, we do what we do for eloquence in defense of liberty. Mr. Kendrick painted a picture of the noble founders of our country, coming here to create a great land to which our ancestors immigrated; but something is threatening this legacy of greatness, and that is the hipster. The hipster represents everything opposed to our way of life. While we like practicality, hipster keep their successful methods secret and abandon them if they become known. While we like commerce and free enterprise, the hipster finds success far too mainstream. And worst of all, “The hipster doesn’t have honesty; he has irony.” He is pushing us to a point where we can no longer even distinguish between right and wrong. Ultimately, in a hipster universe we couldn’t even have democracy because anyone with enough votes to actually be elected would be automatically disqualified for being too mainstream. The bro on the other hand is honest and simple and does not try to hard to succeed or disdain non-bros. “Bro-dom is often a stage but hipsterism is a disease that lasts a lifetime.” Mr. Rinaldi then countered that bros do not grow out of it and they actually run the world because they get really important jobs. He supported this with his own story working on a group project with the tobacco-chewing, non-homework-doing species, better known as the MSBro, who will in fact be employed and running the world after graduation. So while the hipsters were off painting, it was the bros that orchestrated the financial collapse. He then gave a “hypothetical example” of if a bro, say someone who had been his frat house president and a rugby star at Yale then dabbled in oil and worked for his dad, ended up becoming president and having to make important decisions for the future of the country. “Thank God that’s just a hypothetical!” He concluded with the Hipster Paradox: they are anti-mainstream culture so they can never become the majority without ceasing to be hipsters. But it is the bros that will “infiltrate and permeate” all the most important jobs. Finally Ms. Pesant argued that bros, who are funding our economy, have been here since the dawn of civilization and are necessary for it to continue because they keep culture by perpetuating norms like strength and masculinity, enforcing survival of the fittest. In pre-history, she argued, the bro always won because the hipster couldn’t even catch his own animals. Later the bros were the ones out cultivating the American wilderness. Ultimately, we don’t know what the hipster stands for because he is characterized by inconstancy of purpose.
Mr. Spagnuolo began the floor speeches by asking who can threaten America more: the bros who care only for women and beer and are out there producing little baby bros, or the hipsters who ironically don’t do anything with women and who wear such tight pants it really wouldn’t matter if they did? He concluded that we can either “bro out or fade out.” Mr. Donovan added the examples of bro and hipster dystopias. Sure, the hipsters might do drugs but they would have great ideas, whereas the bros would be running around wrestling and eating all day. Many of the small little men who came up with the ideas that founded our society would not have survived in this Spartan land. Ms. Melendez countered that hipsters are merely wannabe nerds who just aren’t quite good enough. Mr. Petallides argued that the truth is much darker; these are all part of a dark sacrament going on in frat houses, gyms, and tanning salons, as they wait for the coming of the Brosiah when the streets will flow with Natty. On the other hand, the hipster is like the panda–lazy and apathetic, and able to be silenced as easily as simply banging a gavel. Ms. Regen, as a writer for The Voice, countered that hipsterism is insidiously sneaking into our culture, even our very own Philodemic leadership, and that hipster values have permeated Western civilization. She caution, “Soon you will all be hipsters, and you should be very, very afraid.” Ms. Daniels finally brought up women, pointing out that the bro, in his Sperries, pastel shorts, and lax tank, with the perfect hair gently blowing in the wind as he rolls his Natty Caddy down the street, has a paralyzing effect on women. So, she concluded, “If you believe in women, negate the bro.” Following on the negation Mr. Dulik presented another hypothetical, asking what would happen if a hipster was in the White House. “What if we ironically elected a guy with zero political accomplishments and then when he got there instead of creating jobs, he did the exact opposite?” He concluded, “That is not an America I want to live in.” Ms. Wood pointed out that we have been ignoring the most dangerous type of bro: SFS Bro, who will have international power and can be heard uttering phrases during war simulation games like, “Yeah, bro, it’s totally cool to just nuke ’em.” Chancellor Iacono countered, “Bros are silly but hipsters fill you with rage.” On the affirmation, Ms. Green presented Rousseau as the first hipster, but asked who could be the intellectual father of the bros? She concluded that Rousseau, who is bizarre yet intelligent, is still better than the group without any intelligence. Mr. Manchester, decked out in a pink shirt with the collar popped, sunglasses, and spiked hair, argued, “We run the world. What do you do? Boom.” Finally Mr. Medina urged the Society to abstain because he is both, so the answer is procreation. Throwing together Mr. Manchester, a bro, and Mr. Spagunolo, a hipster, he emerged, dubbing himself the Messiah, and earning himself a $5 fine.
Ms. Pesant brought up women again, concluding that while there are problems with dating a bro, hipsters do the same amount of damage with practices like “Hipster Sexual,” which she found out about on UrbanDictionary. She argued that hipsters will not fade away because they are still here. Ultimately, they revel in mediocrity and are insincere and inauthentic. Mr. Rinaldi countered that no one explained why the hipster is a threat, but brought photo proof of the bro mistreating senior citizens, taking the Christ out of Christmas, and giving support to those who oppose uncontrolled Second Amendment Rights. Mr. Kendrick then brought up Nietzsche’s slave and master moralities, arguing that the hipster is the epitome of the slave morality. They are weak and unsuccessful yet are convincing the world that they are better, whereas the bros pursue greatness and strength but are threatened by the hipster’s push for mediocrity. Finally Mr. Diasti argued that when the hipster gets upset, he doesn’t pull out a gun, but instead he writes on his blog and takes tinted Instagram photos. He also called into question the authenticity of the bro’s masculinity, asking, “Can you tell me that pastel shorts, argyle sweaters, and a haircut more expensive than your girlfriend’s is really masculine?” Ultimately, he argued that while it’s easy to get lost in the daily routine, the hipster values perspective and reflection, remembering why he does what he does, and “isn’t the life worth living the one you’re supposed to live?”
The keynoters awarded the Dean Gordon Cup to Mr. Petallides.
The Society voted 46-7-17 to affirm the resolution.
Emily R. Coccia