We have a very special set of overwrought emails today, as this particular collection of haughtily typed words features a celebrity guest: Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman! What follows is a conversation that took place on a Stanford dormitory listserv in 2007. Our tipster sets the scene:
Hello Deadspin! I am a Stanford grad, and when I was a freshman, I lived in the same dorm as Richard Sherman (Seahawks cornerback). I actually like Richard a lot and have no beef with him, but I wanted to share with you this pretty funny story. It's the most Richard Sherman thing ever.
In my dorm West Lag (like in many dorms at Stanford), there was a tradition that on Valentine's Day, the men in the dorm would wake up early, bang on the doors of the women to wake them up, bring them to the dorm lounge, and sing to them. We sang Boyz II Men's "I'll Make Love to You." It's a cheesy, fun tradition, but one of the upperclassmen in the dorm was not amused, and she blasted out this email to the dorm listserv, which goes out to all the residents of the dorm.
To the emails! (all names have been changed at our tipster's request):
Some of us have midterms this morning. If you really wanted people to have a happy Valentine's Day, why the FUCK would wake us up at 6 in the goddamn morning? What the hell is wrong with you? You should have just SHUT THE FUCK UP.
And now, a well-intentioned response from another student that will only serve to further set things off. That's how these things always start:
I'm sorry for those who were disturbed by the commotion this morning, but i just wanted to say thank you to all the guys. It was a bit early but it was a really sweet idea, and i really appreciated it. Happy Valentine's Day!
Now it's time for the resident faculty member to get involved and try to calm things down:
Dear West Lag Residents,
I understand that there was some unhappiness in the dorm this morning due to the noise that accompanied the traditional Valentine's Day rollout. This event has a long history in dorms that house frosh residents, and the intent of the West Lag staff was to support the tradition and to get Valentine's Day off to a memorable start. We're sorry about any inconvenience that resulted from the activity.
We ask residents who have a problem with any dorm event or activity to share their concerns with a staff member. Messages to the chat list can certainly comment on life in West Lag, but we ask that any message sent to the list maintain a civil tone—please refrain from name-calling, insults, and profanity.
But wait! We've got another student who wants to chime in, and in true college-dipshit fashion, turn this into a conversation about heternormativity:
I don't mean to be disrespectful to [Steve] but given all the useless junk that comes through the westlag chat, I don't understand how a discussion of the valentine's day round up thing is inappropriate. Personally, I find the tradition pointless, but more importantly, it seems to imply that romantic love is something reserved only for heterosexual relationships. Did it ever cross anyone's mind that it may be awkward for a gay man to be forcefully pulled out of bed at 5AM and demanded to give a rose and then sing a song entitled "I'll Make Love to You" to a woman?
Sigh. And we're off. Welcome to college:
I completely agree with [Bob]. As someone who works in the LGBT CRC, I have heard many complaints by different individuals in the queer community about this Stanford tradition. Just because something is a tradition doesn't make it right and it doesn't diminish its capacity to oppress. The tradition of having men give women flowers is totally heteronormative and it sends a clear message to residents that Valentine's Day is a day of celebration of heterosexual love.
This tradition also enforces gender roles in which the woman is passive and the man is active. There are also ethical issues around supporting flower industries which cause numerous health problems in Latin American women who cultivate the flowers that are then exported to the U.S. If you are someone who likes to give or receive flowers, you should read up on this industry. Given this information it seems obviously ironic to express love for a woman in the United States by giving her a flower grown in poison.
And now, finally, our special guest wades into the discussion, and he responds to all of this exactly how you'd expect him to:
To all You assholes complaining,
If you dint like it live in another dorm next year then because tradition is tradition and If your Homosexual don't celebrate the holidayy if its that big of a deal but im tired of yall complaining about a couple of hours of sleep yall are some assholes. Stop bitching and fuckin adapt I wake up that early everyday and I aint complaining so you guys really need to just shut the fuck up. Everyone else had fun so fuck the people who are complaining
Richard Sherman, everyone! Of course, there's a chance our tipster is lying to us and this is a different Richard Sherman who also attended Stanford in 2007. Then again, Sherman is absolutely the kind of guy who would write an unpunctuated email that includes the phrase "Stop bitching and fuckin adapt."