The earliest college-style party I know of appears in "Mostellaria" (The Ghost), a farce by Plautus ca. 200 BCE, in which a young Athenian hosts a party for his buddies while his father is out of town on business. Dad comes home unexpectedly, guests are hurriedly hidden, and son spends the rest of the play trying to keep dad in the dark.
A college party is, by definition, designed to drive grown-ups crazy. It's the sine qua non of the term "impaired judgment."
Wow, I'm feeling a bit nostalgic here. Or not. Anyway, here's a new wrinkle.
At Loyola Marymount University in the Los Angeles suburb of Westchester, residents are blaming Twitter for a new wave of wild partying that disturbs neighbors' sleep and brings down their property values.
"Microblogging services like Twitter are not only allowing students to find out where their classmates are partying, but also when the gatherings are about to be shut down by the police,"reports Caitlin Moran in The Chronicle of Higher Education's Wired Campus.
A local news station quoted a Los Angeles police officer describing “100 or 150 kids” filing out of a house with “all the things lighting up in their hands” — presumably in response to a microblogged warning."Watch out for those spooky hordes of fleeing students armed with "all the things lighting up in their hands!" Technology is evil! And here's why, according to the blog WestchesterParent:
Instant messaging means instant party, and they can start quickly at any time of the day or evening. Just as quickly they can end abruptly and restart hours later as students move from party to party fed by today’s technology and making it more difficult for police to respond. [lilatovcocktail's note: emphasis is mine]The ability to spontaneously generate parties was well-documented in the 16-24 year old population long before social media came along.
Word-of-mouth raves were held in abandoned warehouses in the mid-80s. Prohibition-era speakeasies used code words or had the band play a certain song to alert patrons to police raids.
Blaming twitter for the increase in spontaneous partying is kind of like blaming beer kegs for the increase in student inebriation.
If they were smart, townies and law enforcment would get behind the technology, rather than getting bowled over by it. That's what the administration at Seattle University did last spring.
The Seattle Times reported that when SU officials discovered invitations to an off-campus student party on Facebook, Glen Butterworth, assistant to the dean of students, showed up on the students' doorstep and told them he knew of their plans and that city police and state liquor authorities would be enforcing any code violations.
The students grudgingly cancelled the party. "I was really mad, actually," said party co-host Gina Corsiglia.. "I thought it was pretty outrageous that he came physically to our doorstep ... It's none of [SU's] business ... It's a private residence."
On occasion, someone I know will send out word on twitter that the band they're listening at the Beachland Ballroom is terrific and we should come down. I appreciate that.
And I would go, too, if I wasn't so busy keeping my super-green lawn neatly cropped so that my property values don't go down.