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News Opinion Editorial

In defense of UM's most profane (former) sorority sister

A member of the University of Maryland's Delta Gamma chapter resigned this week after a profanity-laced tirade she wrote to her sisters about their failure to flirt effectively with the brothers of Sigma Nu, with whom they had been paired for Greek Week, became the laughingstock of the Internet. Whether it was the letter itself, or the dramatic reading by actor Michael Shannon on the website (an Oscar-worthy exercise in keeping a straight face that racked up nearly 3 million views in four days), the national Delta Gamma organization deemed the young woman an embarrassment and officially disavowed her work.

I come now in her defense.

It would be impossible to spend much time going over the details of what she wrote, since so little of it can be reproduced in a family newspaper. It runs to 881 words, and 57 of them, or about one out of every 15, is unprintable. I will take the liberty to quote one bit, both because it gives the general flavor of the piece and because it is the single longest stretch of text that does not contain profanity. The author asks whether the recipients of the email are developmentally disabled (in somewhat less polite terms) and goes on:

"That's not a rhetorical question, I LITERALLY want you to email me back telling me if you're mentally slow so I can make sure you don't go to anymore night time events. If Sigma Nu openly said 'Yeah we're gonna invite Zeta over,' would you be happy? WOULD YOU? No you wouldn't, so WHY THE..." and there the all-caps swearing resumes.

You may be tempted to agree with the national chapter that the email was "highly inappropriate and unacceptable by any standard." But that is not, in fact, true. If she were, say, a Marine drill sergeant, such a rant would likely make her a revered, even legendary figure. If Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had given this speech while White House chief of staff to the Democratic caucus on the eve of the Obamacare vote, substituting the word "Republican" for "Zeta," no one would have batted an eye.

Strip away the profanity and ignore for a moment the utter triviality of the subject matter, and you've got yourself one powerful bit of writing. Where would we be if, instead of firing off emails to the Delta Gams, she was engaging in some polite discussion with Democratic Sens. Max Baucus, Heidi Heitkamp, Mark Pryor and Mark Begich about their decision to buck the opinion of 90 percent of the American public and block an expansion of the national gun background check system? This young woman is not an embarrassment. She's someone whose talents are underutilized.

—Andrew A. Green

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