Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

A Little Bit of Secret Society Humor

I enjoy secret societies. I think they’re fantastic, all of them. Skulls, Masons, Mithraists, the Sacred Order of the Funkmasters General – they’re my favorite people.

Do I enjoy the fraternity? The dark, hidden rooms of unknown power? The mystical force that can only be felt by pouting and saying, “No girls allowed. So there.”? No. I enjoy the humor.

The humor?

Yes. Let’s take a look at Georgetown’s favorite back alleyway fraternizers – the Stewards. Like any good secret society, we don’t know much about them. They’re all male, they claim they have something to do with service, you have to be invited into their ranks, etc. They are actually two (we think) Steward societies and, somehow, Manny Miranda (SFS ’82) is involved somewhere in there.

But this column isn’t about facts – our stealthy friends aren’t big fans of leaving behind evidence. Instead of unwieldy truth, the fun of the Stewards is in hearsay and conjecture. That’s where comedy is made.

For example, tell a friend that someone he knows is a Steward. Watch in glee as he reacts as if you’ve told him that person is gay.

“What!? He’s a Steward? But he doesn’t look like a Steward! I’ve hung out with him for two years and he’s never acted like a Steward. What will my parents think?”

Two minutes later: “I guess it’s okay. I mean, I have many friends who happen to be Stewards.”

So what will your parents think? In my two years at Georgetown, I have heard the Stewards called: chauvinist, racist, unnecessary, orthodox Catholic, evil, overzealous business school students, overzealous SFSers, just plain overzealous, Georgetown Academy editors and so on.These generally unflattering descriptions show us the Stewards have become a myth, a symbol of the East Coast old boys’ networks which many of us, upon reaching Georgetown, swore we would never become part of.

“He’s a Steward! Burn him!”

“No, no you’re a Steward! Let’s burn you!”

“This is all just one big Steward trick! They’re crafty ones, they are. Let’s burn everyone!”

And before you know it, white boys across campus are being burned at the stake in Red Square for alleged Stewardness. Tragic.

Usually, we just make fun of furtive fellows, laughing at their secretive ways and getting a good chuckle when one of their flock is outed. Then again, we can go too far in making grand Steward conspiracy theories – the Stewards paid $10,000 to buy one of their keys back off of eBay, for example – and we ourselves become sources of humor.

So rather than aspiring to become knowledgeable in all things Steward, narrow your focus and have fun at the expense of individual Stewards. Find someone you know who is a member and play this little game:

“So you’re a Steward?”

“I’m not going to answer that.”

“Really? Because I’ve always heard they’re this horribly elitist groups of white boys who .” and complete with your favorite Steward insult.

“They’re not like that at all.”

“Okay, but how can you know that, unless, of course, you ARE a Steward! Hmmm .”

“I’m not going to answer that.”

“So you’re not going to deny that you’re not a Steward?”

“No, I mean yes – no. I’m tired. Can’t we just watch `The Simpsons?'”

“Sure. I personally love the one where Homer joins the Stonecutters. But I don’t know much about secret societies. I wish there was someone here that did,” and just glare.

The possibilities are endless. Ask him if he’s ever been to the war room or, perchance, if he’s ever met Manny Miranda and gotten to touch his Coat of Many Colors.

At the end of the day, who really cares if we actually know anything about our favorite secret society? If, one day, we head down to Copley Crypt and see that they’re all sitting there quietly and not spanking each other with paddles, shouting out, “Thank you sir, may I have another?” Well, I think something’s lost.

I don’t care what the Stewards actually do. Admittedly, it would be great to see them set up at SAC Fair, refusing to admit that they exist:

“I’ve always been interested in the Stewards. How can I join?”

“What Stewards? Why are you asking us? We’re not Stewards, we’re not Stewards at all.”

“But your sign says, `Second Steward Society?'”

“It’s a typo. Take this pamphlet. You never saw me.” Our SAC Steward tosses down a smoke bomb and disappears in a cloud of dust.

Mysterious.

Who wants to find out that the Stewards are just another group of Georgetowners in a tiny room somewhere inflating their own importance (See also: GUSA, Philodemic, etc.)? Not me. I want to hold on to our collective Steward myths – not because of some mission they actually fulfill. No, as far as I can tell, the Stewards are here to make us laugh. Manny and Company give Georgetown something it sorely needs: an enemy. Not an evil enemy, like the Soviets in Red Dawn, but rather an opponent more like the French: comical, ambiguous, baguette-wielding. What could be funnier than that?

I should know. I am a Steward.

Manny and I are tight.

Slowly Losing My Mind appears every other Friday in The Hoya.

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