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.