Karaoke Night/A Student Response

This article represents the writer’s opinion and not that of the Phillipian Editorial Board. I had thought, or at least ventured to hope, that the Living Arts staff at The Phillipian had come to the admittedly startling conclusion that, despite my venerable status as Phillips Academy’s preeminent social butterfly, I am not the best person to turn to for articles on Friday-night events. So when asked if I would cover Karaoke Night the first Friday of Fall Term, I seriously considered investing in a corduroy blazer, ordering testosterone syringes from Yahoo! Auctions guaranteed to cultivate patchy facial hair, and shoplifting the early works of Joni Mitchell in LP format to announce my “Blue Period.” As I made clear in my coverage of a similar event last year, Karaoke is only entertaining if drunk middle-aged housewives and/or seventeen-year-old Japanese schoolgirls fond of dressing up as infants are involved. Unless the Student Activities Board wants to shell out the sixty dollars plus tax to Stone Brewing Co dot com charges these days for a 7.75 gallon “Pony” keg, I advise against slotting Karaoke to open the school year in the future. A good first Friday night can set the tone for the rest of the term and maintain among freshmen the vital and curiously prevalent self-delusion that boarding school will open the door into a world of quaint, antiquated social engagements and gleeful misadventures. We are not a college and I understand we cannot have Clap Your Hands Say Yeah in Ryley every weekend, but come on, we can think of better Friday-night entertainment than laughing at freshmen boys whose voices crack as they sing Kasey and JoJo. We are a school with resources most institutions can only envy and brilliant people scattered throughout our student body, faculty, and staff. I know it is unfair for students to blame their shenanigans on a lack of more compelling activities. However, is it not only rational that a more exciting and intellectually stimulating events calendar might hoist at least a few students out of weekend routines which revolve around waggery? It is, admittedly, a difficult task to plan activities which will appeal to a 1,000 students. But anyone who is truly watching can notice a steady decline in the quality of student life at Andover and its peer institutions. A good portion of the blame doubtlessly rests with students who are content to spend their weekends in their dorm rooms performing extra problem sets with great titillation. Certainly culpable is the endless drudgery of defending against legal liability that inevitably accompanies the day-to-day operation of a boarding school in the twenty-first century. Not every weekend requires some sort of extraordinary ceremonial escapade or epic performance, and we may never escape the perpetual threat of offensive legal action which plagues Andover. Part of what I initially found interesting about this school was the relative freedom that student organizations enjoyed, often operating as independent, self-perpetuating entities. There is no doubt that Andover successfully markets itself as a place where dynamic and assertive young people take control of their own lives. Yet still we manage to “entertain” ourselves with less than pitch perfect renditions of “Hips Don’t Lie.”