Friday, November 28, 2008

Free the YPMB!

The Game (always capitalized) between Yale and hahvud has a long and storied history, albeit most of the stories involve alcohol. Shortly after this past Saturday's Game, the YPMB alum network lit up with a rapid fire of emails. Tom Duffy, the director of Bands at Yale, had suspended the YPMB (Yale Precision Marching Band). The reason given was that one of the props used in the Yale halftime show at The Game, a replica of the Berlin wall, had numerous obscenities painted on it, notably "fuck harvard."

OK, it's rude. It's juvenile. But it's also something that Mr. Duffy should have checked prior to the actual show! If he had seen the prop and said "paint over the swear words," then he would have had a reason to punish the Band members, at least those who made the props, when they appeared in the show. However, punishing the entire Band for the work of a few is wrong, particularly when no warning was given. Also, by suspending the winter season, the actual people who made the props are not the ones being punished! The Band does not use props at the basketball and hockey games that Mr. Duffy is cancelling. Not one of the people being punished is responsible for the problem.

The other point I want to make about this is that I only know about this problem because Mr. Duffy got so upset. I'm in frikin' Istanbul! As far as I can tell from talking to friends who were there and from reading the YDN and New Haven Register articles, no one in the stands saw the obscene words. The only person complaining is Mr. Duffy himself; the first that any of us heard about this was in his own email. And what he's complaining about is language that can be seen on t-shirts throughout the stadium itself. This story apparently made the front page of the New Haven Register (as one person commented, it must have been a slow news day).

I care about this because I am a YPMB alum. I love the Band; it was a fantastic part of my Yale experience, and I am still friends with many of my fellow Bandies. Tom Duffy, please let it go.

For something that will cheer you up after this, please see:

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