To say the least, Princeton's mostly satirical marching band was not well received at the Citadel this past weekend. The culture clash led to several confrontations, a heartily booed football halftime show, and plenty of hard feelings.
The problems started as the band marched to the game. The Princeton musicians accidentally "scrambled" onto revered Citadel land (the "Avenue of Remembrance," a campus street that honors the college's war dead) and, coupled with "humor" of questionable taste and quality, managed to seriously provoke the Charleston cadets.
According to the Princeton band, the cadets attempted to intimidate the band—before, during, and after the game—by making homophobic and derogatory remarks, stealing musicians' hats, breaking a clarinet, and roughing up and spitting on band members. Later, the band was booed into oblivion at its halftime show. Check out all the angry YouTube glory here. After the game, the harassment reduced some of the band members to tears, ending only when police intervened.
Citadel officials would not confirm or deny any of the band's claims, saying it would rather move forward. The college's president, Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa, offered a mild apology. "If we are dedicated to the values of the Citadel, we must hold cadets to a higher standard," he said in a statement. "We will use this episode as a learning experience to reinforce with cadets that they are representatives of the Citadel, and that their behavior redounds to the reputation of the college."
The Princeton band points out that its entire show, which its president says is the tamest of his four years, was approved by Citadel officials. But the president also admits "members did not in all cases respond to the provocations as well as we would hope."
Meanwhile, at least one local, a columnist with the Charleston Post and Courier newspaper, agreed that the band members took their irreverence too far.
Such a show of contempt deserved to be booed even by an objective audience. Their show, which included band members humping each other on the field, crossed several lines of respect and decency.
The entire Corps of Cadets should be given a medal for standing up for their school.
The Princeton Band, meanwhile, should be ashamed. All those pseudo-intellectuals and not a single brain among them.