“Buckle up because this column is about to get uncomfortable,” warned Dr. E. Kolinsky, a professor at Duke's Nobel Prize-winning Department of Physics, as she strapped passengers into a 200,000 pound titanium cylinder that comprised the body of Duke’s newest construction project: a space shuttle.
Sick of unwanted, mediocre grinding at Shooters (amongst a litany of far more serious offenses), a team of female engineers at Duke began quietly pushing the boundaries of modern science last year with the goal of finding more intelligent and less douchey life somewhere amongst the stars. Eventually, they discovered a universe that was identical to ours in every way except for the lack of a correlation between its indigenous frat culture and sexual assault. Having constructed a space shuttle in just weeks, a select few scientists are now about to head into the beyond.
Towering over campus skyline at 800-feet tall and dwarfing the Duke chapel, the transportation rocket looked more out of place than Tallman Trask at a NAACP rally. Named “The Concept of Actually Doing Some Self-Reflection,” the finished shuttle was a state-of-the-art masterpiece; loaded with every Meryl Streep movie in existence (and the first 19 seasons of “The Bachelor” on emergency DVD backup), the scientists were more than equipped to endure the 14-month interstellar journey to paradise.
Attempting to defy gender stereotypes, the chief pilot even insisted on replacing the conventional flight navigation voice-over system with the audiobook version of Hillary Clinton’s “What Happened” on loop. However, as organized as it may seem, the project has faced huge setbacks during its development.
“Our projectile equations failed for weeks before we realized that part of the formula included dividing a polynomial by the number of lawsuits involving sexual assault that Duke has correctly handled in the past few years. Unfortunately, as every mathematician will tell you, it turns out you can’t divide by zero,” explained the team’s trajectory designer. “Once we got that bulls**t out of the way, we quickly cracked the equations and now we’re ready to launch.”
But as news of the space venture spread, men on campus quickly announced their own revelation: they had discovered, for the first time in Duke history, that they did not already inhabit this parallel universe. Monday Monday sat down with them to record reactions that ranged from sheer ignorance to blatant denial.
“So you’re saying...that we...live on a planet...where sexual assault...and frat culture…are linked...somehow...?” said a Sigma Nu sophomore, pausing between each few words to put on another layer of Vineyard Vines clothing. “I don’t know what kind of wraparound sunglasses you’re viewing the world through…” he panted, finishing the interview sweating profusely, “but I don’t see things that way.”
“Say what you want, but I’m a stats major and my professor told me that correlation does not equal causation,” exclaimed a smug DTD junior who refused to believe his continually sore wrist had anything to do with his chronic masturbation problem.
Unsure as to whether or not they were considered a part of “frat culture,” members of Wayne Manor and Duke’s various all-male sports teams were also called on to comment.
Monday Monday received the same stock response from each of the sportsmen. “We all chose Duke because of how dedicated we are to its rigorous academic program. We’re student athletes, so partying is unfortunately something we don’t get the time to do.” Members of Wayne Manor explained, “This isn’t our problem—I mean, we’re just a bunch of guys. We couldn’t be further from a frat.” They promptly left to play some Spikeball: Ostentatious Edition™.
Genetic testing done by Duke’s biology department would later find that the biome cultures grown from both the Wayne and athlete samples matched the Duke frat control culture, with the DNA machine’s output screen reading, “Are you f***ing kidding me? They’re basically identical.”
Finally, when asked why he was standing silently in the corner, a senior in KSig simply said, “Hey don’t make this about me—I don’t even exist.”
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Monday Monday was hard-pressed to find a single individual that would comment on the bombshell revelation while actually divulging his full name, until one brother was finally brave enough to speak up. The young man, named Obvious McObviousface, would not give his fraternity affiliation but did go on the record with his statement.
“Let’s be honest with ourselves: the correlation exists. Nobody is saying that every person in every frat is a monster, but collectively, we need to get our s**t together. Because every day we fail to do so, another person’s life gets torn to shreds.”
“Even when groups make the right call and go through the process of removing a member, it’s plain lazy to assume that the work is done—like we’ve simply excised a tumour. It’s an institutional, systematic issue and it’s only going to improve with some acknowledgement of the problem and some serious action. Step up: get P.A.C.T. trained, go to a Men’s Project event, don’t be an a**hole. For f**k’s sake—it’s not rocket science.”
Unable to comprehend the enormous amount of common sense contained in McObviousface’s words, frat brothers across campus banded together blindly to stop the rocket’s launch, complaining that the booster noises were “whiny,” “annoying,” and—crucially—made them feel uncomfortable. From KA to SAE to PiKapp to ATO to ADPhi and back again to DSig, the fraternities across Duke united for the March Against Girl’s Aviation (or “MAGA” for short). Within hours, the scientists found themselves staring down a crowd bulging with more Greek testosterone than the entire cast of the movie “300.”
But the rocketeers were not to be deterred. On Monday, Feb. 19, the shuttle made its maiden voyage and blasted out vast plumes of smoke as it launched through our stratosphere and into the great beyond of a better universe. As it took off, hundreds of participants in frat culture stood just beyond the launch zone, angrily shouting and waving signs as “The Concept of Actually Doing Some Self-Reflection” flew right over their heads.
“Told you it’d pay off,” said a grinning Dr. Kolinsky, watching proudly from the observation deck.
Correction: Monday Monday earlier stated mistakenly that Duke’s Department of Physics was “Nobel Prize-winning.” As of yet, the Department has been awarded no such title but Monday Monday would like to comfort them with the knowledge that somewhere out there in a parallel universe, many dimensions away, there is a Duke Department of Physics with a Nobel Prize. Just not this one.
There is also a universe where this type of error will be made each and every week. Unfortunately, it is the one Monday Monday inhabits.