Web Exclusives: TigersRoar

Letter Box


A Letter from an alumnus about the Triangle Show

December 21, 2001

The current Triangle show is vulgar and unfunny. Examples: "Yeast infection, menstruation," as partial descriptors of the current president of Princeton; a "clumsy" amputee, totally without arms and legs whose brother is a "retard," and a skit about "butt cracks."

By mutual agreement, my wife and I left the Triangle show at intermission. The applause had been tepid, and several people around me had stopped applauding altogether. We were disgusted, and I was embarrassed for Princeton.

I invite the chair of the sociology department or a past chair, such as Professor Bressler, to put this show in a sociological context to help me understand why there was no wit, charm, grace, or much redeeming social value. Biting satire and clever irreverence are fine, but there was precious little of that. Is it that the generation that grew up with Beavis and Butthead and Jerry Seinfeld discussing "orgasms" etc., is condemned to laugh at bodily functions and at a man who has no arms and legs? Goethe said that what a person laughs at reveals more about him than anything else. What does the show say about the players? About Princeton?

With the exception of the skit about "Beowulf," the applause was polite, at best. My expectations had been so high when I first walked into the auditorium, then, to see an entire "Dutch" skit based on the single, vulgar pun "a finger in the dike" was more than a letdown, What was unsettling was that I assumed I was glimpsing the humor of the future leaders of the country, of business and of education.

Although I realize that Shakespeare’s plays included bawdy puns and ribald humor, he was playing to a wide range of taste and intelligence and he had to appeal to an audience on several different levels. That is not however, the case with the Princeton University audience. Had the show been, for the most part, funny, I would have excused it and not written this letter, which is my first ever to PAW. I am truly sorry for the undergrads in the show because they obviously do not know how bad the show is.

Arch C. McColl III ’70
Dallas, Tex.

Respond to this letter
Send a letter to PAW

Go back to our online Letter Box Table of Contents


Current Issue    Online Archives    Printed Issue Archives
Advertising Info    Reader Services    Search    Contact PAW    Your Class Secretary