It had been quite some time since I had gone through my T&V email. Sifting through junk mail and spam offers from that oafish brand chubbies, I found a diamond in the rough when I received an email from Zeke, a student at BB&N. Zeke is the representative of a clothing line called “men of the sea.” What Zeke brought to my attention was not only another clever example of prep school students swimming against the current, but also another story of a prep school administration oppressing its students and their freedom of expression.
The story Zeke shared with me begins in the bitter cold month of February on campus. BB&N advertises their dress code as being the 6 B’s (no boobs, back, butt, belly, bra, or boxers). So, surely no students would have been bold enough to have violated these rules. However, shortly after launching his company with his brother, Zeke was called into the Dean’s office. Throughout the school day, the men of the sea had been selling inventory to their classmates. Like a tidal wave, the students of BB&N flooded the campus showcasing their new favorite brand. Coming from the student body, this was a sign of support for their classmates and good taste in an up-and-coming preppy brand. Apparently, some opposed the brand. One could suppose that some students or faculty may have even been looking for an excuse to get Zeke in trouble. But, that is neither here, nor there.
In the office, the Dean explained to Zeke how he thought the brand was inappropriate because some students had complained to him that they were offensive. Countering the Dean, Zeke argued that the logo could not be deemed inappropriate since sperm is a subject of discussion in mandatory biology and sex-ed coursework. Additionally, BB&N had hosted assemblies on sex and healthy relationships. [Side note: assemblies like these are often used by pubescent preps to make witty sexual wisecracks and are hardly productive educational platforms. Unless of course, you decide to ask the sex-ed expert about the theoretical possibility for a couple to execute the Nantucket Sleigh Ride.]
Zeke told me this: “To me, this knee-jerk reaction of labeling something you may not particularly like as ‘offensive’ is a disgusting behavior. I questioned whether I could come to him and say a Nike logo was offensive to me and that I wanted Nike banned from the school. He didn’t have a good answer to this other than that it was his judgement call. Sounds pretty tyrannical.” This logic is socially relevant in the war on political correctness today which is one of the reasons why we champion freedom fighters like the men of the sea.
By March, The Vanguard, a student-run newspaper at BB&N had interviewed Zeke and his brother. An article was composed profiling the boys, their brand, and the administration’s choice to abolish it from campus. According to Zeke, “To further assert the administration’s tyranny and hindering of freedom of expression and speech, the administration did not allow the article to be published.”
Our staff does not agree with many policies made by prep school administrations these days. For example, when The Boss was a senior, he was forced to take down a video of the headmaster breaking up a staged lucha libre fight on halloween or face the threat of expulsion. We want to know your opinion. Should the brand have been banished from campus? Has it been banished from your campus? What do you think?