It’s no secret that Mt. A is home to an extraordinary amount of talented individuals. It makes perfect sense then that each year Mt. A students should honour their own with some kind of recognition for their achievements. The annual ASCARS recognize everything from Mountie of the Year to Residence of the Year but one award has absolutely no place at Mt. A; Brutal of the Year.
Brutal of the Year is designed to recognize an individual or group that did something so extraordinarily stupid or gross (brutal, if you will) that it will be the scuttlebutt on campus for months to come. I hate to rain on the parade that is the ASCARS but this award amounts to nothing more than bullying. “Oh come on now John, its just some light hearted fun and besides, who takes that award seriously anyway?” might be a typical response to criticisms of this award. I’m sure that this award is just some light hearted fun for everyone sitting in the audience laughing at someone who has, in someway, humiliated themselves in some form over the course of the year. Haven’t we all embarrassed ourselves at some point at Mt. A? For most of us, I think it is safe to assume that we don’t want our dirty laundry to be aired for a crowd in Con Hall to have a good, hearty laugh about.
To be fair, if one is nominated for Brutal of the Year and doesn’t feel comfortable with this they have the option to have their name taken off the nomination list. However, I don’t think that the option of turning down the nomination in anyway justifies laughing at a fellow student for something embarrassing in their past, whether or not they relish the negative attention they are receiving. What needs to be understood here is that what this award boils down to is students laughing at other students, disregarding the fact that they themselves have also done extremely embarrassing things in the past.
I’ve been known to share embarrassing stories but when I do, I do so with friends who understand me and wouldn’t ever think of judging me for things in my past. The difference between accepting Brutal of the Year and sharing an embarrassing story with friends is that friends don’t judge, but many in the audience at the ASCARS will most certainly be judging the recipient of such an award. Whether we like to admit it or not, this award amounts to bullying and its something we should all be appalled by. If a person is being bullied but plays along with the bullies are they not still being bullied? The answer to this question is of course yes, and so even if a person is willing to accept their Brutal of the Year nomination they are still being subjected to bullying.
Awards should celebrate achievements, not embarrassing moments. Awards should be about respecting one’s peers, not bullying them. It is my hope that anyone nominated for this year’s Brutal of the Year will have the good sense to know that they are being bullied and politely refuse to cooperate.