The New York Post published an article yesterday that focuses on, as they put it, the “booze- and sex-fueled parties” that crop up around this time within the NYC private school scene. Apparently, The Post required not one, but the combined efforts of two journalists to write this hackneyed and generally useless 459-word article, which centers around the school I attended for the first 18 years of my life, Horace Mann.
“They’re 1 percenter brats gone wild,” the article begins, in an innovative attempt to label all NYC private school kids as 1 percenters. A new angle for The Post, if it were opposite day. They then expound on these parties, either with details so obvious they are actually painful to read, like, “The gigs are alcohol-free, so many students get drunk or high beforehand,” or with statements that are cloaked in fallacy. And while I appreciate the insight, ladies, I think it would benefit the general public if you two actually composed a trustworthy and detailed account of these parties, perhaps with tips on how to stay safe and out of trouble, rather than a swiftly-composed disparagement of the kids who attend said parties.
Then The Post came out with another follow-up piece today, by the same two prolific journalists, except now focusing the disparagement on the parents of these children. They write, “Despite strong warnings from the administration to stop allowing their kids to attend the wild booze and sex bashes, ritzy moms and dads fear that if their kids aren’t partying with their peers, their social status will be jeopardized.” Ms. Palmeri and Ms. Marsh are implying that these moms and dads are exhibiting poor parenting skills, when in reality, it’s not that black and white. Sure some parents could put their foot down and I can assure you many already have, but this also comes with its own danger. By doing this, parents run the risk of isolating their child, forcing him or her into a state of resentment and ultimately sabotaging any possibility of having an honest and open relationship with their children. Also, what proof do Ms. Palmeri and Ms. Marsh have of this aside from their one quote from an obscure “Horace Mann mom” who apparently said, “The parents want their kids to fit in at any price.”
No parents are eagerly awaiting the day their kid gets to go out and party, especially if these parents are raising their kid in NYC. That’s just a fact. And if they do bar their children from attending these specific parties, it won’t necessarily ensure complete safety. For, again, I can assure you their kids will find other ways of getting their hands on alcohol; getting obliterated isn’t only reserved for these parties. Whether it’s going to the girl’s house whose parents are never home, raiding the liquor cabinet of one of their friend’s alcoholic moms, or going to a restaurant that they know will serve minors, it will happen. When I was in 9th grade at Horace Mann, my 5 girl friends and I went to Circus before that year’s Homecoming Party, an uptown restaurant run by Italians who took pleasure in serving minors. We each had three passion fruit cocktails and then my parents picked us all up in our family car and drove us to the party. So perhaps the best way for parents to approach these parties is by letting their child go, but also opening up a public discourse around them.
To imply that these parents are raising their children poorly is to also claim the same for all parents of Horace Mann grads; The Post suggests that this is the first time the administration has warned parents against letting their children attend these parties when in fact it’s not. In reality, the HM administration has always sent out letters like this, every year around this time, renouncing any association with or responsibility for these parties. These events are not sponsored or associated with the school—despite often being called “Homecoming Parties”—and the HM administration wants to make that clear.
Which brings up another point. Since when are these events called “rando parties?” From the dawn of them until about 2009, no one had ever called them that. The Post also, quite hilariously, refers to them as “sex bashes.” In my experience, there was hardly any sex going on at these parties, or even after them for that matter. There was always a lot of “hooking up,” i.e. making out, but sex was scant.
The Post also gives “1Oak in Chelsea” as an example of where these parties are held—yet another fallacious argument as these parties were always typically held in loft spaces uptown.
But perhaps the most offensive element of the work and clearly ARDUOUS effort put into both of these articles is that which was entirely overlooked. Ms. Palmeri and Ms. Marsh quote the Horace Mann newspaper, which wrote, “Some of the boys are predatory,” and in the next breath this is all but forgotten. And yet, if there’s one aspect of these parties anyone could call dangerous I would say it’s just that: the power that the older, usually senior boys have over the freshmen girls. The senior boys typically run the parties. They make freshmen pay more, regard freshmen girls as commodities and treat them as such. They are the reason these girls drink excessively. And the reason why these girls dress so “scantily clad.” By stating, “The gigs are alcohol-free, so many students get drunk or high beforehand,” The Post is blatantly overlooking the effect these boys have on younger girls, implying that the only reason for excessive intoxication is because the parties don’t serve alcohol. There is a real and precarious dynamic going on that I urge The Post to investigate, rather than lingering on fruitless and generally erroneous details.