In two short years as president, Donald Trump has chosen two Supreme Court nominees and a new Fed Chairman… ALL THREE MEN ATTENDED THE SAME HIGH SCHOOL. I mean, that’s insane… Right? Jerome Powell, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh — One high school, three of the most powerful appointed positions in the nation? That high school is Georgetown Preparatory Academy, commonly known as “Georgetown Prep.” It is a private, all-boys Jesuit boarding school, it is one of the most exclusive, expensive schools in the nation ($60,280 per year), and it has recently come under fire as stories of sexual assault and even gang rape (though President Trump is prohibiting the FBI from looking into these claims) have surfaced with the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. And so, as we watch this cartoon happening in real time…
… I have been thinking about Georgetown Prep, and the lengths white men will go to to protect their power and privilege. During his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Brett Kavanaugh actually said the following nonsense:
“I got into Yale Law School. I had no connections there. I got in there by working my butt off.”
This sort of “I did it all by myself/Born-on-third-base-thought-he-hit-a-triple” BS narrative is classic White Privilege Delusion. BOTH his parents were attorneys — His mother a Circuit Court Judge in Maryland — And yet he somehow believes that he “pulled himself up by his own bootstraps” all the way into Yale Law. I’m sure his acceptance letter had nothing to do with the fact that his parents were able to afford to send him to a school that costs more for nine months of schooling than most Americans make in a year… A school that pops out Senators and CEOs and Supreme Court Justices like it’s just the “natural result” of the 8:1 student to teacher ratio, and had nothing to do with the considerable means of the families who can afford to send their kids there. And to top it all off, he is actually a YALE LEGACY, as his grandfather attended Yale for his undergraduate studies.
And so a lot of attention has been paid recently to what went down at Georgetown Prep in the early 80’s. And listen, EVERYONE knows this was a different time (HERE is a great article about the Rape Culture of the 80s). Getting girls drunk to take advantage of them sexually was like an 80’s movies trope. In Sixteen Candles, Jake basically hands over his passed out ex-girlfriend to The Geek to have sex with. By today’s standards, that is RAPE. In the 80’s, this was treated like a PUNCHLINE. But even for that time, the stuff that Brett Kavanaugh and his friends wrote down on their senior pages in the Georgetown Prep yearbook was pure craziness. Here is part of Brett Kavanaugh’s page:
What kind of prep school allows high school boys to write whatever they want, and then prints it in their Yearbook?? There are even references to the KKK in other boys’ entries, but Brett Kavanaugh seemed more preoccupied with alcohol and sex. I was in middle school during the 1980’s, and I recognized a lot of what he wrote about. He testified before congress that the word “Boof” had to do with flatulence. It doesn’t. It is slang for anal sex. Butt F*ck — the “BF” sound that led to “Boof — All the same thing… And there are hundreds of thousands of suburban white guys who grew up in the 80’s who could tell you the same thing. It’s been on the Urban Dictionary for years. They know it, I know it, and Brett Kavanaugh knows it — AKA the guy who was the principle author of the Starr Report, which justified the impeachment of Bill Clinton based on the fact that he LIED UNDER OATH ABOUT SEX STUFF FROM HIS PAST (THIS ARTICLE is long, but it proves beyond any doubt that Kavanaugh knowingly lied). He also lied about “The Devil’s Triangle,” which is a sexual slang term for “two guys with one girl.” After two men (he and his good friend and classmate Mark Judge) were named as taking part in a sexual assault against one girl, it makes a little more sense why he would lie about the definition of THAT one (He said it was a drinking game… A dishonest definition which got changed IN REAL TIME on the Wikipedia entry for that term).
It SHOULD be obvious to everyone who watched him respond to these allegations that he does not possess the right temperament to sit as a Supreme Court Justice… But that is not what I’m writing about here. If you don’t already see that, chances are pretty good you are not still reading this post. My question is this: WHAT KIND OF SCHOOL LETS 16 YEAR OLD BOYS WRITE THAT SORT OF CRAP ON THEIR YEARBOOK PAGE?!? The answer is: A school that is acutely aware that the student body’s parents are all very powerful people. “Keg City Club?” “100 Kegs or Bust?” “Beach Week Ralph Club?” These are all CLEAR references to a 16 year old drinking to excess (Brett said he was 16 during his false “Boof” explanation, but then he LIED and acted like he was old enough to drink as a senior, when the legal drinking age changed from 18 to 21). Not to mention the lies about hurtful “Renate Alumni” the boys made up about a girl from another school…
His history of misogyny and heavy drinking continued into college with his participation in the DKE fraternity — a group of young men who were notorious for assaulting women on campus, and a fraternity that eventually got kicked out of Yale after their members chanted “NO MEANS YES! YES MEANS ANAL!” outside of the Yale Women’s Center. Brett even proudly carried a flag made of women’s panties. They were privileged white men from wealthy white families vowing to look out for each other, and promising to put themselves in positions where they can keep tilting the scales in their favor… To preserve their Power and their Privilege. Or, as this perfect tweet pointed out…
In a statement, Georgetown Prep condemned the treatment the school has gotten in the wake of these allegations, saying, “The image that has been presented on social media and in various news outlets depicts recklessness, illegal conduct, and lack of respect for persons. Worse, many blame these faults on institutional indifference.” “INSTITUTIONAL INDIFFERENCE.” THANK you!That’s exactly the phrase I was looking for… There existed (and still exists) a systemic, institutional indifference to the evils that were perpetrated by young, white men under a heading of “Boys Will Be Boys.” We have failed our boys…
And before you spend any time Not-All-White-Men-ing me, or explaining to me how the problems of abuse and general assholery are not limited to White Men, let me assure you: I’m aware. There are abusive, broken people everywhere… But the REAL problem is the combination of abusive people with Wealth and Power and Privilege. THAT’s when things get dangerous. And when the one’s with the the Wealth & Power & Privilege start stacking the deck in their favor (or in their kids’ favor) and funneling their kids into positions of power after a lifetime of never being told NO… Well, THAT’s when injustice thrives.
There is a powerful group of people in the world who feel like teaching our sons that they can’t “take what they want” is some sort of feminization of boys which will end up destroying the country. They look at empathy and compassion as weaknesses. They look at cruelty toward women as some displaced sign of strength. They scoff at accusations of “Toxic Masculinity.” And that same group of people looks at the Equality women are seeking as a THREAT to their power and privilege. They are starting to feel cornered… And when animals feel threatened and cornered, they make faces like this:
I went to a small, private high school in the early 90’s, and I can’t even begin to list all of the things I said and did while I was in high school for which I now feel ashamed. I am a completely different person NOW than I was in high school. I’m sure there were COUNTLESS times and ways that I said things which dehumanized people who were LGBTQ+. I’m sure the words “Faggot” and “Retarded” passed my lips on a daily basis. I know I made jokes about minorities. I can’t imagine all the ways that I demeaned and objectified young women. There were certainly times in high school and college that I put sexual pressure on girls to do things they weren’t ready to do. PEOPLE CHANGE. In so many ways, I was an unbelievable ass hole in high school. I don’t believe that every man who was an ass hole in high school deserves to sentenced to a life of only being allowed to work at a gas station…
But if someone I grew up with came to me and told me that my immaturity in high school… my 80’s consciousness… my gross Toxic Masculinity… my brokenness… If someone told me that these things HARMED them while we were in school together, I sure the hell wouldn’t be making the face of a cornered animal. I would be weeping. I would be asking for forgiveness. I would be making the face of a man who was focused on the righting of wrongs.
I didn’t drink in high school — I saw what it did to my father’s life — so I remember most of the things that happened (probably because I wasn’t treasurer of the “Keg City Club”). Brett Kavanaugh might be telling the truth about not having any memory of his assault on Christine Blasey Ford… But I guarantee you he remembers drinking to excess on multiple, multiple occasions. And his lies about this fact disqualify him from sitting on our nation’s highest court. There was INSTITUTIONAL INDIFFERENCE to him and those other young boys — by the high school, by the college, and by their parents. They let those kids brag about their drinking in a CATHOLIC SCHOOL YEARBOOK, for crying out loud… And there was and is Systemic, Societal Indifference to the TOXICITY of the definition of manhood we taught and teach our boys — especially white boys. And that is something we ALL will have to atone for…
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I other news, I messed up and initially spelled Kavanaugh with a “C.” One of the drawbacks of WordPress is that if you change the title, it doesn’t change it on the preview that people share. I apologize to those of you who got three notifications of a new blog post in your inbox… (so to speak). I’ll try not to let it happen again…
Excellent article! Totally agree. Nothing to add. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Thanks so much for reading, Lindi.
I’ve read a lot of words about Brett in the last week. This is the passage that made yours different. Thank you for your vulnerability.
“But if someone I grew up with came to me and told me that my immaturity in high school… my 80’s consciousness… my gross Toxic Masculinity… my brokenness… If someone told me that these things HARMED them while we were in school together, I sure the hell wouldn’t be making the face of a cornered animal. I would be weeping. I would be asking for forgiveness. I would be making the face of a man who was focused on the righting of wrongs.”
Thanks man. No one should be kicked out of society for being a drunk ass hole frat boy when they were a teen.
But if you haven’t progressed enough as a human being to acknowledge that you were 1) a drunk, 2) an ass hole, and 3) a frat boy, society should put pressure on you to make that acknowledgment.
And if the more power you have, the more pressure needs to be applied…
Thank you, again, dear friend.
Love you, James.
I went to an all-girl Catholic high school in the ’60’s, and there is no way on God’s green earth that that kind of entry would have been allowed in the yearbook. Did you also notice in Kavanaugh’s testimony, that he said he almost exclusively associated with girls from Catholic schools. None of those public loose women for Brett. No sir.
Love your blog. Helps me keep my faith in God. Just not the God that Donald and Brett and the Evangelicals (and even the Catholics) are pushing.
Thank you so much, Alice.
“I don’t believe that every man who was an ass hole in high school deserves to sentenced to a life of only being allowed to work at a gas station…” I’m glad someone besides me believes this. I feel horrible for stuff I did drunk in my teens. Although I think attempted rape is a pretty severe offense, I’m actually most disgusted that Kavanaugh can’t “man-up” enough to admit he did it and apologize. As a side note, I went to high school from 1977-80 a mile or so away from Georgetown Prep. My cross country team used to go there on Saturday mornings at sunrise to run their golf course. And on Saturday nights we went back to hang out on the fairways, drink beer and play frisbee. No point here, just some good memories. I didn’t actually know any of the students.
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