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October 13, 2006 > Opinion > NOD must maintain naked party partisanship

NOD must maintain naked party partisanship

Come the end of October, students will get the chance to support their party of choice. But with support will come complaints — that the party lost its heart, that its just pandering to the center, that its raising taxes to pay for things we do not need. Yes, with games, an alcohol-free section and $8 tickets, Weiss College’s Night of Decadence party is heading down the wrong path.

Growing up in Houston, I had always heard about the craziness of NOD, which is basically that lots of Rice students get naked and drunk in a heaving heap of delighted discoverers. And while NOD has always been a point of contention on campus, there has always been Sid Richardson College’s alternative of NOI — Night of Innocence. This 30-odd year old yin-yang partnership has ensured students can get their fix of either naughty nude nocturnalism or pajama-clad cartoonery. But developments from Octobers in the recent past, coupled with this year’s plans, show a NOD that is straying from its roots and turning into the worst thing imaginable — a normal Rice party.

In the Thresher news article (“Wiess to host ‘NOD-ical Adventure’ Oct. 28,” Oct. 6), a student said the “creative theme” — NOD-ical Adventure: A Salute to Seamen — would result in some wacky costumes. I wonder whether people will wear the one they wore to Lovett College’s ocean-themed party a few weeks ago. Or the one they wore to that same party last year. Or the year before. Or the year before.

Point is, the seamen joke has been done. NOD used to always have some sort of apocalyptic theme commemorating the downfall of decency and society that the party symbolized — like Caligula or Armageddon. We could put a 21st-century spin on that tradition — Grey Goo: NOD Goes Nano. Plus, because of its established reputation, NOD can get away with hilarious themes that would be too edgy for other parties. My vote — NOD in Iraq: Get Bombed.

Though Rice seems on the way to having an ocean-themed party for each of the Seven Seas, seeing the Acabowl made up like a pier does sound tempting. NOD decorations are always very impressive, but not nearly as worthwhile as the ones at Lovett’s Casino Party, because Lovett’s does not cost $8 per person.

NOD originally began as a fall continuation of a spontaneous Rights of Spring party — a celebration of sexual rebirth that resulted from burning play props and drinking a punch that doubled as paint thinner. Over the next years it gained a band, elaborate decorations and, correspondingly, an attendance fee. But that does not mean it still needs one. Sid’s ’80s Party and Brown College’s Bacchanalia both have a complete band and lights arrangement without a fee. Lovett’s Casino Party has massive decorations without a fee. And Hanszen College’s Mardi Gras Party has naked people without a fee.

Perhaps the NOD budget just needs careful trimming. Decorations are nice, and games can be fun, but that is not the point of NOD. The goal of NOD should be that by the end of the night, everyone who wants to get some should get some — healthily, respectfully and kinkily. Anything that does not contribute to that end goal should be cut. Will the games contribute?

Cut ‘em. Will a non-student DJ contribute? Cut ‘em. Will a non-alcoholic section beyond what is required by the Alcohol Policy contribute? Oh they had better cut that.

In the end, NOD should hold to its extremist party partisanship and not give in to some imagined pseudo-sober center. Let those who feel uncomfortable go to NOI or stand on the Weiss balcony and just enjoy the entertaining view. Let Sid serve as the conservative party — public decency-wise, that is. Reaching for the center would only turn lovely lady NOD into some sort of compromising Hillary Clinton, and I don’t think anybody wants that.

Evan Mintz is a Hanszen College junior and opinion and Backpage editor.

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