It’s All Greek
Stephanie d’Arc Taylor considers the role of ritual in shaping America's strained Greek system.

  • Words Stephanie d’Arc Taylor

The video opens on three young women standing at the front door of a large, stately house. They are dressed in uniform, their hair shimmering through the haze of a South Texas August. They give rehearsed speeches to convey welcome. Brilliant smiles gleam below inscrutable eyes. Then they open the doors, and the levees break. Dozens of identical sets of manicured hands and heads appear, grinning identical grins that border on the maniacal. A sea of young white women with glistening hair and teeth. The heads and hands move rhythmically, in unison, as if marshaled by an unseen drum major. They are yelling “woo.”

The effect is unsettling and ponderous, like a postcard from Baudrillard’s desert of the real. You feel the impulse to close the browser, to stand up, take a minute to process what you’ve seen. But when the video ends, the player automatically loads another video, with similar identical floating heads, clapping in time and baring perfect white teeth. There are thousands...

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