The Washington Post has a good story on Christine Blasey Ford, and let’s get this out of the way: she’s also a product of wealthy, preppy, privileged, private school and country club culture. I despise those people. That they are the class that dominates politics is one of the big problems with this country.
But she got out — she fled as far as she could from the kind of people that Brett Kavanaugh instead chose to wallow with. The kind of people who thought getting drunk until they vomited was the height of fun.
Every summer, the “Holton girls” would pack into a rented house for Beach Week, an annual bacchanal of high-schoolers from around the region. The prep schools that formed Ford’s overlapping social circles usually gathered at a Delaware beach town each year. Kavanaugh, in his senior-year yearbook, cited his own membership in the “Beach Week Ralph Club.”
Like Kavanaugh, Ford was part of that alcohol-fueled culture. But those unchaperoned parties, at beach rentals and Bethesda basements alike, frequently left the girls feeling embattled.
“The boys were pretty brutal,” Evers said. “They would do what they could to get you drunk, and do whatever they would try to do to you.”
And then those boys go on to become lawyers and politicians, and do whatever they would try to do to the American people.
I have to say that this Twitter thread (read it all here) pretty much has American culture pegged.
Asshole Culture has carved out a very clear, unsavory role in American film, literature and life. Entitled, wealthy, bros who take what they want, treat everyone around them like shit and then rise to positions of power is practically a cliche it's so common.
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) September 22, 2018
Remember those cheap comedies from the ’80s, like Porkies or Revenge of the Nerds? I remember laughing at them, but what they were really doing is instilling in us a forgiveness for the excesses of Asshole Culture. Sure, they’re committing rape, they’re humiliating women, they’re praising turning the tables on bullies by becoming bullies yourselves, but boys will be boys, and isn’t it funny to peek in the girls’ showers or their bedroom windows and see boobies?
Try watching them now. They haven’t stood the test of time, and are painful to see, because now (I hope!) we can all see that the underdogs are all privileged white boys who have managed to succeed only by finding a new group of victims, usually women, to exercise power over. They are stories about clawing your way up the hierarchy by stomping hard on people, where you win by being cunning and brutal and making your opponents suffer, and your reward is getting the girl, whether she likes it or not.
And today, Cthulhu help us, it’s the people who absorbed those messages who now run the country.
You know, it pains me to say it, because I loved the anti-establishment message of another of those ’80s comedies, Animal House, and it actually does have some funny moments, but…it’s part of the problem. It celebrates sexism (don’t you like to see boobies?), and it is underdogs battling the privileged, but it’s two frat houses fighting for dominance. It’s the frat system that is the problem, and no one ever seems to think of leaving the whole rotten edifice. Then the hero is Bluto Blutarski, who is a crass, crude, ignorant failure who uses bluster and unearned confidence to claw his way up the ladder…he is the archetype of Trump. Real-life Blutarskis are not funny anymore.
It is sort of funny in a laugh-through-the-tears, ironic way that in the closing credits of the movie, they say that Blutarski goes on to become a US senator. It’s too true. That’s why we can still laugh. But do you still laugh when you see all the Blutos actually running congress? Becoming Supreme Court judges? Getting elected president? I don’t think so.