I don’t think it’s flattering for adults to engage with their alma mater too much after graduating. I feel like it makes you seem like the kid who keeps coming back to visit their high school until they’re so old that it gets weird. That being said, I really do need to pop in here real quick to rant about the Rhett Bench.
Why. Does. The. Rhett. Bench. Exist?
A video released by the University claims that the purpose of this bench — which was donated by the BU Alumni Council, but just imagine if they used your money for this thing — is to “foster BU traditions.”
Some might argue that good traditions form organically, but I’m glad to know there are folks on the BU Alumni Council (which I want to emphasize that I am not a part of, despite being an alumnus) is spending their time, effort, and someone’s money (again, not mine) manufacturing traditions for the BU community. Hopefully they’ve also allocated some of their operating budget towards generating school spirit by the end of Q4.
The Utah-based sculptor of the statue also told the Daily Free Press that he’s made three other school mascot benches this year alone, so hey, I guess it’s a popular (or unoriginal) idea! Take a look at some other horrific mascot benches to decide for yourself.
Further on the subject of traditions, take a minute to think of as many BU traditions as you can. (Getting orange chicken from the GSU Panda Express and suntanning at the BU Beach don’t count — ya basic.)
The ones that probably come to mind are the spray paint rock (also kind of basic) and the one about how you can’t step on the seal in Marsh Plaza or you won’t graduate in four years. Why is the most well-known school tradition about being cursed to fail? Probably because, to the school, it’s actually an aspirational tale about receiving your extra tuition payments.
Point is, BU doesn’t have too many distinctive traditions to begin with. The BU admissions website lists Marathon Monday as a school tradition. Really, BU? You’re going to take credit for the Boston Marathon?
It’s not even the Rhett Bench itself that bothers me: I’m troubled by its existential implications. It is not merely a statue of Rhett the Terrier, but a statue of a man wearing a Rhett the Terrier costume. The distinction here is important and unsettling.
When I look at the Rhett Bench, I imagine a man trapped inside the costume, encased in a bronze sarcophagus in a perpetually laid back “cool dude” pose. Repeatedly being made to imagine this is not a school tradition. What would happen if someone in an actual Rhett costume came and sat down on the Rhett bench? I shudder at the thought.
At the end of the day, though, my opinions on this don’t matter because I am no longer a BU student, and I will hopefully never sit down on the Rhett Bench. But, at a glance, I think it is silly and a touch uninspired. In my opinion, the only tradition that should come out of the Rhett Bench is mocking the Rhett Bench.
I guess it would also be funny if people started planking on it.