Video proves what I’d always suspected… I could have been having a much better time as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan

Inspired, I’m assuming, by the success of Girls Gone Wild, a pair of undergraduate filmmakers from the east coast have been traveling the country, documenting the debauchery of American undergraduates. And, unfortunately for the University for Michigan, they’ve already stopped in Ann Arbor twice. Here’s their most recent footage.

This, I think it’s safe to say, was not my experience as a young man at U-M. I’d always suspected, as I stood behind the filthy counter of the pizza place that I worked at, selling slices of shitty “za” to drunken fratholes, after the bars closed, that these kinds of things were happening, but, until now, I was never able to confirm it. (I’ve tried to block those early food service years out, but I can clearly remember that they called pizza, “za.” I can also remember that they’d get pissed when, upon asking me how many slices were in a pie, I told them that I had the technology to cut a pizza into as many slices as they wanted.) And, now that I see it, I’m feeling a little jealous. The feeling of superiority is admittedly quite a bit greater than the feeling of jealousy, but there’s definitely some jealousy mixed in there… I wonder if it’s too late to pledge a frat.

To hear the filmmakers tell it, they’re just out to document what it’s like in college today. And, based on the 2011 footage they shot in Ann Arbor, I might have believed them. This new footage, however, strikes me as something different altogether. While there was certainly underage drinking in the first video, it didn’t seem to me as though the behavior was being glorified to the same extent. In the most recent video, however, I think it’s hard to deny that’s what’s going on. Maybe it’s the rap soundtrack, and the constant dropping of the n-word, but it seems to me as though their artistic vision is really beginning to mature. (I suspect, if they come back to Michigan a third time, we might see some nudity.)

The men behind the series (Arya Toufanian, a junior at George Washington University, and Jeffrie Ray, a sophomore at the School of Visual Arts in New York City) say their hope is to parlay this series, which they call “I’m Shmacked,” into a feature film, or television project of some kind.

As I don’t want to come across as terribly old, bitter and uptight, I’ll refrain from making any statements about the students pictured in this video. I will say, however, that I’m surprised. I mean, I know that American culture is undergoing a certain degree of Jersey Shorification, but I thought that the University of Michigan was a little less far along the path.

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  1. Posted September 20, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    If it’s any consolation, the undergrads in the classes I’ve been in in the past couple of years have been pretty boring.

  2. Edward
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    You can be sure that this video will become relevant the next time there’s a drinking related death on the campus of U-M. Does anyone know how, if at all, the University has responded to this?

  3. koosh
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Why are you covering up the fact that a professor at EMU and a frequent poster to this sight beat up a student in his class?

  4. Thom Elliott
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    The nihilisitic yuppie larvae of a desperate people, hopelessly lost in a moral wilderness the likes of which the world hasn’t seen since Caligula”s Rome. I actually feel sorry for their lot, thier lives could only be frittered away in empty moment after empty moment, guzzleing booze, playing out stereotypes, objectifying themselves, and then they die as meaninglessly as they lived. I’m shocked anyone could find this degenerate morass as anything but banal, there is nothing surprising about the vulgar and entitled spawn of mindless, amoral, upper middle class capitalist robots flooding the streets of A2. This is the future of the West, this is what modern medievalism looks like.

  5. anonymous
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Thes are the people who pay my salary at UM. Please don’t rock the boat. Without these Rick kids from out of state, I’d likely lose my job.

  6. Mr. Y
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    How exactly is Mark helping to “cover up” this non incident at EMU to which you refer?

    Here are the details, in case anyone is interested.

  7. Posted September 21, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Mark, I’d bet you didn’t spend a ton of times at the frats while an undergrad. The douchebags have always been there. Jersey Shore-ification is pretty apt now, back then it was the Long Island-fication.

  8. Posted September 21, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Mark, this is big news! Higbee beats a student bloody and you say nothing!

  9. koosh
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Who’s Higbee?

  10. Posted September 21, 2012 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Despite having initially accused Mark of covering up the incident, you appear to not even know the accused’s name.


  11. Eel
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I can identify a number of students who should be beaten in this video.

  12. beermaestro
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Isn’t this the result of helicopter parenting? As someone from ‘Gen X’, we were pretty much left to our devices when it came to growing up, including alcohol and drugs, so by the time I got to Eastern, drinking was just…meh. These kids, on the other hand, get their first taste of real freedom and probably alcohol, and go crzy

  13. dot dot dash
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    The truly grotesque thing about this video is the realization that we’ll be working for these people one day.

  14. Posted September 21, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I think most people really overestimate a lot of things in life–how much sex they are having/had in college, number of sex partners, amount of alcohol/drugs consumed in college and so on. I saw this video earlier in the month and it struck me as the same sort of thing–an exaggerated view of college life. Granted–I went to a small school but I was in a sorority and there wasn’t nearly as much debauchery as most people think there was. I guess I’m taking the optimistic view in that these are the minority of kids out there.

    Having said that, beermaestro has a good point. Maybe these bitches go cray at the first sign of freedom?

  15. Posted September 21, 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    As for the EMU incident, why the hell was that even in the .com? Is it just another way for it to shit down Ypsi’s throat? Look here–I had a junior high teacher who made people scrape the gum off of desks and then chew it if he caught them chewing gum. Telling some grown person to wake their ass up–even if he did kick his chair–is not news. I know that the bleeding hearts will be all, “Maybe the kid works 5 jobs and was tired!” Maybe so but this is still a non-issue.

    Hey, wouldn’t it be fun if the kid who fell asleep was in the Schmacked video?!

  16. Anonymous Mike
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I don’t care that Higbee woke a student up. I think it reflects more poorly on him that someone fell asleep in his class.

  17. j
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    George Washington University has neither a football team or student housing that lends itself to this kind of debauchery. Most of GW’s greek housing is owned and patrolled by the university so their parties “suck”. Most people live in tiny apartments rather than group houses and there is no tailgating so parties are always small. Going to UMich fratdouche parties must be an absurd experience for Arya. Probably the same for the School of Visual Arts kid.

  18. KKT
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Kids today suck. Period.

    Yes, kids have always gone crazy when they’ve gone off to college, but this is something different. We’ve got a generation of spoiled little brats on our hands, and we’re going to pay the price for it.

  19. Brainless
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Sorry folks, I fail to see what all the fuss is here. This looked pretty tame to me. Some beer, some weed and some dancing. Just some kids being kids. Not sure how any of this equates to the drunksploitation of GGW.

    And Thom, seriously dude, give it a rest. Your thesaurus called and said that your touch started to feel “a little rapey” (his words, not mine).

  20. Elf
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    It’s not just beer. These kids are chugging hard liquor. Furthermore, this was filmed on a day when there were multiple fights on campus, which led to arrests and hospital visits. Granted, it could have been worse. They could have filmed older frat guys taking advantage of drunken freshman girls, and people vomiting blood.

  21. Dennis
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    My dad told that once I got to the age where I started complaining about “kids today” I should kill myself. He did, and I wished more people followed his advice.

  22. roots
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    To some extent, I agree with Peter Baker. I infiltrated a few frat parties while at U-M ten years ago, and they were full of douchebags. Also, the production quality on this piece seems to enhance the gross factor.

    I did find the chugging of shit vodka to be extra repulsive, but then I reminded myself that these rock stars are the same fools who will be violently barfing 15 minutes later. So glamorous!

  23. anonymous
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    How exactly did things transpire, if you don’t mind my asking? Was your dad just sitting there, at the dinner table, eating a bowl of soup, when he caught himself saying something about “kids today,” and immediately plunged a butter knife into his heart?

  24. Dennis
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    My father killed himself because he had pancreatic cancer and didn’t want to drag things out. And he used car exhaust if you’re curious. No butter knives.

  25. j
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s hilarious when boomers and gen-x-ers complain about kids today. So little self-awareness.

  26. Posted September 21, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    In my defense, I was complaining about “kids today” when I was a kid. This has nothing to do with me being old and bitter.

  27. Emma
    Posted September 22, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Dudes, RELAX, it’s so fun to party, you should try it, you’re never too old.

  28. Dan Richardson
    Posted September 22, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    I watched it with the sound off, and it didn’t seem like much of a big deal. Typical.

  29. Posted September 22, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    “Isn’t this the result of helicopter parenting? As someone from ‘Gen X’, we were pretty much left to our devices when it came to growing up, including alcohol and drugs, so by the time I got to Eastern, drinking was just…meh. These kids, on the other hand, get their first taste of real freedom and probably alcohol, and go crzy”

    I had moat monster parents and this didn’t happen to me. Although I did enjoy some drinking, and lots of late night dumb movie watching, and even a few times sneaking over to U of M and pretending to be a student there to get some free nasty ass keg beer in a red solo cup, I NEVER did this.

    However, there were several kids in my high school class who were already doing this when they were like 16 and 17. It’s not helicopter parenting, it’s parents who don’t give a rat’s ass about their kids. This is a direct reflection on the greater american thuoghtless culture, an America that likes a good time in the here and now, that strives after instant gratification, and that likes really cheap nasty beer.

    Curse you Snooki and Jwoww!!

  30. Posted September 22, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    The best line is at the 3 minute mark. “If you don’t go to Michigan, you’re a peasant.”

    If you don’t go to Michigan you’re part of that 47%.

  31. Mike
    Posted October 3, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if those pilots at 3:43 had any idea what this was being filmed for? All that’s missing is a bottle of strawberry Boone’s in each hand.

  32. Posted January 9, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I’m Shmacked is a scam and Arya Toufanian is a crook! Go here and read this:

3 Trackbacks

  1. By Ypsi/Arbor Exit Interview: Josh Chamberlain on September 29, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    […] and consider it my home. I just left because I wanted to go to school in Cincinnati.MARK: I watched a video the other day, of binge-drinking undergrads at U-M on a football Saturday, and it reminded me of […]

  2. By My day in the Ann Arbor drunk tank on November 23, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    […] a freshman, abandoned by her friends, and found collapsed in an alley. As kids are inundated with media glorifying binge drinking, shouldn’t there at least be a channel or two telling sharing the consequences of said […]

  3. […] might recall, I posted about the experience here, and it led to a pretty good conversation about the culture of game day binge drinking at U-M. Well, one of the people who read that behind-the-scenes look at the U-M emergency room on game day […]

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