Boulder, Columnists, Higher Education, Jon Caldara, Uncategorized

Caldara: The fun police come for CSU’s ‘Undie Run’

Remember the stupid but wonderfully stupid things you did in college? Good chance you remember the drunken parties and group silliness more than the lectures you were supposed to be attending.

There was a point to pointless fun for fun’s sake. It’s the spice of life. It marked time, created memories, lifted our spirits and gave us a sense of belonging. Of course, it always affronted somebody, but that was part of the magic.

Every generation had their time. College kids once swallowed live goldfish and embarked on panty-raids, which today would be labeled proof of rape-culture.

Among the many causalities of our hyper-sensitive, woke society is the death of the pointless, perhaps offensive, fun.

Today the buzz-kills at Colorado State University are trying to snuff out the Undie Run. This prestigious collegiate tradition happens before the start of final exams as students run across campus clothed in only their underwear.

Not quite the high-brow sophistication of full-on streaking, which along with Led Zeppelin IV were the only real achievements of the 1970s, the Undie Run is a tip-of-the-hat to the public nudity of old.

CSU officials have emailed parents asking them to discourage their kids from participating.

There was a time when the range of helicopter parenting could not extend to college, which was the key ingredient in college fun.

CSU’s many nanny worries include, “After-parties where students remain in their underwear, creating a tone that breeds harmful situations for our students.”

Tone? Today’s kids are deluged with squishy, vague terms like “tone.” So, exactly what should be the tone of a college kegger?

The professionally offended don’t get that the sterile, humorless world they’ve created leads directly to an equal and opposite reaction. That is, they created Donald Trump, but won’t admit it.

Group stupidity celebrates the delicious idiocy that is humanity. It blows off steam, which if unchecked can boil into something truly harmful.

The Running of the Bulls blows off steam and celebrates life. Men run alongside rampaging bulls through the streets of Pamplona, Spain, (most women aren’t dumb enough to do this) risking being trampled and gored, often to death.

It is patently stupid. It proves Darwin’s theory of natural selection, cleansing the gene pool of irresponsible people. So why have so many over time, including Ernest Hemmingway, celebrated this pure absurdity? Because despite what PETA bemoans, it is awesome and life-affirming, that’s why.

Going to the University of Colorado in Boulder during the 1980s, I was fortunate to catch the last few breaths of political incorrectness before the professionally offended and easily-triggered shoved a pillow over its face.

The students of CU celebrated not just murder but the sickening act of cannibalism. Alferd Packer Day honored Colorado’s only convicted cannibal with drunkenness, live music and contests of dexterity. Those contests included eating a 50-pound pizza in an hour without vomiting, the raw onion eating contest, and the raw meat eating contest. The crowd would chant “PUKE, PUKE, PUKE!” And the contestants never disappointed.

Like Alferd (not Alfred) Packer himself, this grand tradition is no longer.

On Halloween the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder would play host to the “Mall Crawl” where we’d pack the street to gawk at each other’s wild costumes in a carnival that could rival the best Bourbon Street could offer. The Mall Crawl was shut down.

At midnight, after the kids are safely in bed, the Naked Pumpkin Run would begin. The participants of this Halloween ceremony would hollow out pumpkins and wear them like helmets and run naked. Let me repeat — children are not around.

This good-natured ritual ended forever when the Boulder authorities charged the participants with offenses that would have placed them all on the sex-offender registry. They all had to accept plea deals to avoid a life-ruining sentence. Streaking a sex crime? Party over.

The Kenetics had costumed teams peddling homemade contraptions into Boulder Reservoir where most just sank while drunken crowds cheered on. Back when 3.2 beer could fuel on-campus fun, the Trivia Bowl pitted naughty teams against each other in a battle of inane facts.

This list of forgotten offensive antics could go on.

But the left’s anthem is best articulated by the timeless quote of Dean Wormer in the classic movie Animal House, “No more fun of any kind!”

What a sad time to go to college.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.


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