Give Me Primal Scream, or Give Me Death

Students gather in Harvard Yard at midnight on Thursday for Primal Scream.
Students gather in Harvard Yard at midnight on Thursday for Primal Scream.
What's it gonna be? Primal (Clothed) Scream?
What's it gonna be? Primal (Clothed) Scream? By Ryosuke Takashima

Yesterday, the 29th President of Harvard was announced—Lawrence S. Bacow. Now, I don’t know much about him because I didn’t read William F. Lee's email. It looked really long. But the one thing that I do know about Larry is that he ended Tufts’s Naked Quad Run. As a student with questionable collegiate priorities, this concerns me. Is President Bacow going to terminate Primal Scream?

Primal Scream is one of the few nights of the year when I both go outside and interact with other human beings. In a 2011 op-ed, Bacow cited twelve student hospitalizations, an arrest, and two students with 0.3 blood alcohol content levels as sufficient reason to finally end the Naked Quad Run tradition. Now, as someone who watches Cops, I can confirm that getting arrested and getting boozily hospitalized does not seem fun or safe. As someone who goes to Harvard, however, I can attest to the fact that students here don’t really get the chance to go insane often. I suppose that one could argue that Harvard-Yale counts, but I would disagree that blasting ‘Mr. Brightside’ at 11 a.m. amongst a sea of students who don’t know what football is suffices as such an activity. Plus, the Scream usually becomes an anxiously brisk walk by the time that the mob clumps up in front of the John Harvard Statue—nothing that a tube of Neosporin and a Band-Aid couldn’t fix up.

If President Bacow takes away Primal Scream, I probably won’t do anything, but boy, will I be mildly upset. My only solace after a semester of getting my self-confidence and intellect slain by classes that stress me out is donning my birthday suit and pretending that I’m in good enough shape to run around the Yard once. Primal Scream is beautiful. This December, I saw four guys hoist a freshman and carry him around as one unit of nude brotherhood. I saw a 'Seven Nation Army' chant break out amongst complete strangers. I saw half of the band see another person naked for the first time. Yes, it was a nightmare, but it was a wonderful one.

If there is one cause that Harvard ought to rally behind this spring, it is protecting our precious Scream. Without it, who knows how stressed students will be when finals start? I can only imagine the fear in the eyes of a poor freshman who doesn’t have a proper excuse for doing terribly on their first exam. Let us keep this, Larry. Primal Scream is what we want. Primal Scream is what we need.

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