Residence: Los Angeles, California
Date of Performance/Collection: 2/24/13
Primary Language: English
The informant told me a story very recently after a fraternity on campus offered him a bid to join their organization.
He was told to get into the car with two of the brothers and blindfolded. They dropped him along side of sidewalk. One of the brothers got out of the car with him and removed the blindfold. He raises both hands towards the informant, one with a red M&M and the other with a blue M&M. The brother said to him, “you can take the red pill and join us, and see how deep the rabbit hole goes. Or you can take the blue pill and go on with life without us.” The informant took the red M&M, and the brother nodded solemnly. Then he said, “This never happened,” and drove off, leaving my informant on the ground next to the sidewalk.
Analysis: This is clearly a reference to a popular movie called The Matrix (1999). Whether all fraternities have bid rituals referencing pop culture or if this was a one-off would take more research and collection. The reference may make the ritual more approachable to the new potential initiate, or give the fraternity a sense of coolness and make them seem hip and popular. The blindfold symbolizes the fact that the new member was blind to the world before he found the brotherhood.
Most fraternities are founded on history and tradition, so it is interesting to find this ritual that goes slightly against the grain, as it is a very current reference.
Annotation: “The Matrix”. Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved June 24, 2009.