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A Nash-ural alternative

After the unabashed success of Nasher Noir, with more than 1,500 (1,500?!) students essentially teetotaling to the delight of the Durham community's Thursday night, faulty rationale follows that the museum should hold a weekly "Martini Thursday" event, theming each one to a different color cocktail dress for maximum variety and elegance. Whether you enjoyed the classy art, the classy drinks or just dressing up classy, it is apparent that "you" exemplify the class that Duke aspires to. No wonder you enjoyed it so much. In fact, they should put you on next week's flyer.

Well, sure, swanky schmoozing is fine, and we can all appreciate maintaining a sanitary atmosphere for old money (and new money!), but hors d'oeuvres and a no-limit AmEx card aren't going to raise Duke's U.S. News rating back up to academically hygienic levels. Actually, maybe it will. What do I know?

But there was a Duke I read an obituary about that chased diversity of experience with a net, not a stick. This highly fictionalized character didn't drink steep cocktails exclusively; it sampled, from wine to beer to malt liquor, to even the occasional non-alcoholic beverage on the weekends. This hypothetical object of fantasy was Huck Finn floating into the unknown with his friend named.Discovery, ready to experience the theoretically unfeasible. This residue of an alternate reality knew how to enjoy life the old-fashioned way: Do something, get bored, do something else, repeat and never learn the error of your ways.

And with that in mind, I propose we write our own book.together. Title? "Duke: Yeah, I Went There." Of course, it's only a working title, but I think the double entendre will garner interest from publishers. Yes, we'll write it together, chapter after chapter about our weekly "welcome alternatives" to unvaried binge drinking. I'm excited, aren't you? Because if we thrive on diversity in theory, why not in socializing as well?

And with that in soul, I propose next week's event: "The UMWA Biannual Coal Miner's Union Barbecue: A Soot and Overalls Affair." If Nasher Noir was Manhattan art gallery, UMWABCMUB is West Virginia coal town, and just as authentic.

You and yours are invited to come in all manner of small-town garb, from overalls and plaid to overalls and flannel, as long as you are covered in coal dust. Bring the kids and your Black Lung medication for extra points, but no need to bring your head lamps; this is a party! Be ready for an unadulterated, Southern yet industrialized spread of pork, sauce, and fixins' galore. Mmm.pork.

Of course, being a Duke event without enough merit to garner guests alone, the soiree will provide a complimentary drink. How could it not and still be an accredited Duke festivity? And getting your free shot of moonshine will be easy. All you have to do is wait patiently in a line of 1,500 strong for your Duke scrip, or "fake money." After that just mosey (not walk) on over to the company store and see if there's any sauce left.

Safety Nazis, be calm: ALE will be there to guard the ale and ensure it stays a "welcome alternative" and not a "welcome identical" to the fraternity barbecue. And how can it not be different? Coal miners drink a lot harder than college students. Besides, worrying about alcohol consumption is overrated at an event like this. Don't worry, with all the crap in your lungs, you'll be lucky to live past 50 anyway.

Well, this party is selling itself to the Duke administration. It doesn't get more inclusive than a coal miner's barbecue. If West Virginia is only 95.2 percent Caucasian now, think about how diverse it was 80 years ago before it had roads. And minorities.

This blue-collar bash has every bit as much broad appeal as Nasher Noir, and pushes the limits of eclectic taste. I believe it promotes an interest in broadening experience through different environments and interactions. As they say in the great city of San Francisco, "Don't knock it til' you try it."

Ashwin Bhirud is a Trinity senior. His column runs every other Friday.


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