Chapter 7. Cheering

What we’ve been taught

Is it expected? Is it fun? Is it spontaneous or rehearsed? Does it make you feel better? Does it encourage others? Does it manifest a deep instinctual need? How do you do it? On queue? Whipped into a synchronized frenzy? With rhythm and rhyme? In a cacophony of “Hear, hear”? By screaming without tone or consonant? Is it true that if you cheer as they do that you’ll feel as they do too? This wasn’t something my father taught me, but quietly discouraged. If I saw any sense in it maybe it wouldn’t be so annoying.

Not the last hurrah

Not a jeer. Not dismay. Not in bad sport. Not alone. Not chaotic. No longer huzza, hooah, or whoop. But is it fine to act silly, mouth nonsense, repeat opaque tradition, and call for violence?

Bronx cheer

I say let them have it, the old raspberry; they have earned our contempt. Everyone let out a voiceless linguolabial trill, and let’s see if it gives them a thrill.

In a spirit of fun

Give them a Bronx cheer but don’t be mean; do it with a spirit of fun, laughing joyfully not at them, but for them; help them lighten up, get them to do it with you, get everyone to do it, encourage a quartet, a band, a symphonic orchestra all playing their raspberries in harmony.


See the chapter on screaming.