GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE ITEM:
- Verbal Folklore – Tradition
- Language: English
- Country of origin: United States
- Informant: Robert Barret Noone
- Date Collected: 11/10/19
- Robert Barret Noone is an active member of three years Dartmouth Men’s Ultimate Frisbee Team, known by its name, Pain Train. He is a member of the class of 2021 and an Engineering major. He started playing frisbee in a local league the summer before college. Born on October 7, 1998, he is from Philadelphia, PA. His favorite frisbee throwing technique is the IO flick.
- Cultural Context: Many freshmen sign up for the frisbee email listserv, known as SPEW, during freshman fall at the activities fair and then remain on the list throughout the entirety of their Dartmouth career. Used for logistics and planning as well as distribution of team folklore, SPEW stands for Society for the Protection of Elvish Welfare. This was a name from that the team adopted from the movie Harry Potter many years ago, when Harry Potter had a much larger presence and influence on the program. SPEW is an email distribution list used as a means of communication for the program. Since it is technically not a college regulated listserv, students that do not want to be on the email chain have a hard time getting off of it since they are not as familiar with it. SPEW is used throughout the school year. Peak usage of SPEW usually occurs at the beginning of the fall, to communicate information about tryout and open practices, near big weekends in the fall and spring, leading up to an event called HPP, and in the winter, when Frisbee Formal asks and responses are sent out to the entire distribution list. The title of SPEW OVERLORD is passed down at banquet when the reigning OVERLORD bequests their title to an underclassmen who they feel will preserve the integrity of the email server.
- Social Context: This ritual was documented in a one-on-one interview in Novack. This item of folklore fosters community within the program because it serves as a means of communication among players. Throughout the year, SPEW also serves as a tool for community members to meet each other; formal invites are sent and responded to, spring break and Collis dates are organized as planned, and much more is accomplished all through this means.
- SPEW – Listserv
- “So SPEW is the email listserv that the Ultimate Frisbee Program uses. It’s used for a variety of things, sometimes for program-wide logistics or planning events but a lot of the time it’s people screwing around and being weird. It’s used a lot in conjunction with certain events like every term we have HPP which stands for Harry Potter Party. And leading up to it [HPP] some upperclassmen have email accounts with the names of various Harry Potter characters and they send out emails mainly intended to confuse the freshmen I think, you know just explaining, like a weird banter back and forth, slowly revealing little pieces of the event, and eventually saying like ‘this is what you need to do.’ It’s fun, I think. But, that also lines up a lot with when people try to get off of SPEW. I don’t know the details behind it but I think it’s not like a formal listserv – it’s something weirder that you can’t just unsubscribe from. So usually when there’s these rapid fire emails from Harry Potter characters you get people who aren’t involved in the program asking to get off the listserv. Usually like one person sends an email saying “Hey, can you please take me off this email list?” and there’s a cascade of six or seven more people saying “yeah, me too.” I think that’s always really funny especially when someone on the program will send out saying “Yeah, please text this number for inquiries and usually just gives someone’s random number. Oliver Chartock’s number was given last year at some point and he got like ten different texts from people asking to get off the listserv even though he doesn’t have the power to do that. SPEW overlord is a position that is bequested down through the frisbee program, and that’s the person who is technically in charge of SPEW and they usually send out some wierd or passive aggressive emails about people being weird. They usually sign their emails with “SPEW OVERLORD.” They’re usually the person that doesn’t – like when there are a bunch of requests to get off the listserv – they usually respond with like “hahaha you’re trapped forever!” It’s passed down from people who kinda have that troll-y mindset. They pass it down to someone they think is going to use it and have fun with it.”
- “Mainly intended to confuse the freshmen”
- The use of SPEW as Verbal Folklore within the Ultimate Frisbee Community seems to be declining, as other means of communication, such as GroupMe, on Dartmouth Campus are increasing in popularity. If SPEW usage continues to decline, the traditions associated with it may fade away.
- Luke Cuomo and Annett Gawerc