Locker room talk


The latest from Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow brought back ugly memories. Kavanaugh made some coded references to a girl in his yearbook, and now claims they were innocent.

Kavanaugh and thirteen other Georgetown Prep boys described themselves in their high-school yearbook as “Renate Alumnius,” which other classmates have told the Times was a crude sexual boast. During his Senate hearing, Kavanaugh said that the reference was an endearment, saying, “she was a great friend of ours. We—a bunch of us went to dances with her. She hung out with us as a group.” He said that a “media circus that has been generated by this, though, and reported that it referred to sex. It did not.”

I don’t believe him. The other crap in his yearbook were sniggering references to drinking to excess and sex, and in the midst of all that, he’s making an affectionate, sentimental reference to a good friend? He’s lying.

This, on the other hand, is more believable.

but the classmate who submitted the statement said that he heard Kavanaugh “talk about Renate many times,” and that “the impression I formed at the time from listening to these conversations where Brett Kavanaugh was present was that Renate was the girl that everyone passed around for sex.” The classmate said that “Brett Kavanaugh had made up a rhyme using the REE NATE pronunciation of Renate’s name” and sang it in the hallways on the way to class. He recalled the rhyme going, “REE NATE, REE NATE, if you want a date, can’t get one until late, and you wanna get laid, you can make it with REE NATE.” He said that, while he might not be remembering the rhyme word-for-word, “the substance is 100 percent accurate.” He added, “I thought that this was sickening at the time I heard it, and it left an indelible mark in my memory.”

And then I remembered my unpleasant years of having to go through a boys’ locker room in high school. I didn’t like it — I’d take my quick shower, get dressed, and get out as fast as possible — but there were the jocks who reveled in it, strutting around naked, snapping towels at each other (or the nerds, more incentive for me to get out), and bragging about their hot dates. Worst of all was that Coach Earl would also come out and egg them on, asking about specific girls, and what they would do together, and the jocks would eagerly tell stories.

I remember in particular that there were a couple of names always getting thrown around with salacious details — names I knew of people who were quite nice and good in school and friendly and decent to others, but they had committed the crime of being attractive and dating a football player, who would then turn them into objects of lust in the locker room, and spread intimate details, whether true or not, that I’m sure they wouldn’t have wanted told to a gang of giggling apes. I doubt they did any of the things that were talked about — it was more that if you didn’t brag about your conquests, Coach would make sneering remarks about the size of your testicles, and you wouldn’t get high fives from your team mates.

Jeez, but I hated that place. It contributed greatly to my low opinion of douchebros.

But I didn’t tell anyone about their behavior, and in particular I didn’t tell any of the named girls what their so-called friends were saying about them behind their backs, because I knew how they’d respond. They’d feel like Renate.

Reached for comment, Dolphin noted that she had asked for her name to be removed from a statement signed by female supporters of Kavanaugh’s nomination. “If this report is true, I am profoundly hurt,” she said, of the account in the affidavit. “I did nothing to deserve this. There is nothing affectionate or respectful in bragging about making sexual conquests that never happened. I am not a political person, but my reputation matters to me and to my family. I would not have signed the letter if I had known about the yearbook references and this affidavit. It is heartbreaking if these guys who acted like my friends in high school were saying these nasty, false things about me behind my back.”

If I’d given any advice to my daughter on this matter, it would have been to never date a jock. But I didn’t, because I trusted her to make wise choices…but still, I always worried that someone was going to break her heart, because of those boys.

Comments

  1. davidnangle says

    His group of friends had only one female friend? I’m being sarcastic. I know it’s just another clumsy lie.

  2. Akira MacKenzie says

    Wait… he went to a CATHOLIC boarding school, right? Wouldn’t the prudish bluenosed administrators who put out the yearbook be curious what these phrases meant?

  3. Marissa van Eck says

    Skatje is one seriously sharp lady–I know, I met her a couple of times. Telling her to avoid jocks wouldn’t have gone amiss, but I’m sure she knows already. It’s the lifetime of good upbringing you and your wife gave her that allowed her to cultivate her self-respect and mental powers.

  4. Owlmirror says

    What appears on my browser after “more believable” is a single dash that is actually a mangled blockquote, citing this part of the linked article:

    But the classmate who submitted the statement said that he heard Kavanaugh “talk about Renate many times,” and that “the impression I formed at the time from listening to these conversations where Brett Kavanaugh was present was that Renate was the girl that everyone passed around for sex.” The classmate said that “Brett Kavanaugh had made up a rhyme using the REE NATE pronunciation of Renate’s name” and sang it in the hallways on the way to class. He recalled the rhyme going, “REE NATE, REE NATE, if you want a date, can’t get one until late, and you wanna get laid, you can make it with REE NATE.” He said that, while he might not be remembering the rhyme word-for-word, “the substance is 100 percent accurate.” He added, “I thought that this was sickening at the time I heard it, and it left an indelible mark in my memory.”

  5. Jeremy Shaffer says

    Akira MacKenzie at 2:

    Wait… [Kavanaugh] went to a CATHOLIC boarding school, right? Wouldn’t the prudish bluenosed administrators who put out the yearbook be curious what these phrases meant?

    Since the woman this was about only learned of this recently, it was probably joke he and his buddies wrote in each other’s year books and not something that was put in at printing.

    I could be wrong about that, but even if I am I don’t think the administrators at the prep school would have cared. It wasn’t a prep school, but I did go to a private Catholic high school which had an excellent reputation. While my family wasn’t so well-off that they never struggled to pay the tuition, which was also the case for several other students there, a good majority of my classmates were from very wealthy families or had influential relatives within city government. Those of the latter could get away with quite a lot with little to no punishment even in light of the rather Catholic doctrine ruling the school.

  6. Kamaka says

    High school, I fucking hated it.

    And gym class was the worst, an excuse for asshole bullies to abuse.

    Dodgeball, I don’t know if it’s allowed any more. If it is, it shouldn’t be. I refused to play, it was a bullying game, I just stepped in front of a rubber ball on the first go and got the fuck out.

    The jock bullies can take that red rubber ball and shove it up their ass.

  7. Owlmirror says

    Since the woman this was about only learned of this recently, it was probably joke he and his buddies wrote in each other’s year books and not something that was put in at printing.
     
    I could be wrong about that,

    You are. Images of both Brett Kavanaugh’s and Mark Judge’s yearbook pages have been posted, as has the football team’s page, and all refer to Renate in the printed text next to the pictures.

    I don’t see any reason that anyone would go out of their way to show those printed references to her, at the time or afterwards.

    I wondered if it could be easily found, and confirmed: The entire Georgetown Prep yearbook (“Cupola”) from 1983 is online (not the whole thing – pages are missing).

    I found that Mark Judge is listed as the caption editor (pg 78 of the PDF).

    Since the PDF is searchable, I note that:
    The “Renate Alumni” with the football players on pg 20 of the PDF.
    Other refs are on pp 107, 116, 129, 130, 143 (Mark Judge), 144, 145 (Brett Kavanaugh), 162, 171, 187, 189 (Michael Walsh, which also includes the little rhyme about Renate) of the PDF.

    Well.

  8. lotharloo says

    @Owlmirror:
    Wow, nice work.

    Actually, page 189 literally has the rhyme:

    “You need a date,
    It’s getting late
    So don’t hesitate
    to call Renate.”

    It’s so fucking obvious. Kavanaugh is a big fucking liar.

  9. vucodlak says

    I never heard much “locker room talk,” and it’s not because I didn’t spend much time in locker rooms. I had 6 straight years of PE, same as everyone else I knew.

    Part of it is that the junior high and high schools I attended were either too poor (my regional high school/junior high) or too small (the upstart private LCMS high school I was transferred to in the middle of my sophomore year of high school) to host much in the way of sports programs. I’m firmly convinced that the spirit of competition that such programs foster poisons everything it touches.

    Part of it was that I wouldn’t have tolerated such talk from my male friends. If one of them had referred to a girl or woman as a “hosebag” or something similar (as Kavanaugh or one of his buddies did in their underground newspaper) it would have prompted a “what the fuck is wrong with you?” from me. It may or may not have escalated to a physical fight. Don’t get me wrong; I loved talking about all things sex, but you don’t talk about people that way. You have some respect.

    Perhaps the biggest part of it is that I had a lot of female friends. I’ve always had female friends, since my first friend when I was 2 or 3. I can think of 7 women from high school alone who I was particularly close to. I actually talked more about sex with them than I did with my male friends, and they didn’t use this dehumanizing language, even as they got into considerably more gory details.

    I really think it’s an enormous mistake to allow schools to engage in gender segregation, even the private ones. I’ve heard all the arguments about how much easier it is to have schools without the “distractions” of integration, but none of them hold water. Kids have got to learn to view people of other genders as people, not aliens.

    And no more fucking competitive sports for children, either. It warps their minds.

  10. Kamaka says

    @12

    “I’m firmly convinced that the spirit of competition that such programs foster poisons everything it touches.”

    You have me thinking. Way back when, female athletes were few and far between. A high school girl on the basketball team couldn’t get a date, they were all “Dykes”. Of course what that really meant is they thought for themselves.

    Now it seems all the girls play sports, soccer and the like. Is that a bad thing?

  11. says

    The coach was hyper competitive, and also hyper macho, hyper militaristic, and hyper patriotic. He was a lot like Trump, actually, and created a thoroughly malignant atmosphere that allowed that crap to thrive.

  12. Kamaka says

    PZ @ 13

    I wouldn’t take “Coach’s” crap. I stood up to the fucker and his physically abusive ways, but he sure made it known to me he wanted to beat my ass.

    He cornered me in a hallway and was ready to throw a punch when a schoolmate intervened shouting “Hit him! Hit him!”

    This from a “teacher”. Fond memories from high school in the 70’s.

  13. Kamaka says

    @9 QFT

    “It’s so fucking obvious. Kavanaugh is a big fucking liar.”

    You left out the word “despicable”.

  14. jrkrideau says

    @10 vucodlak

    really think it’s an enormous mistake to allow schools to engage in gender segregation,

    Yes, I have been thinking this for lo these many years.

    When I was an undergrad, some of my best friends came from a very classy all-male school and, every once in a while I got the fleeting impress that they looked at women a bit strangely. Nothing serious, but it stayed with me.

    @ 13 PZ

    I only had phys. ed. in Gr. 12. Our teacher, who was also the football coach, was known behind his back as Marshmallow.

  15. vucodlak says

    @ Kamaka, #11

    Now it seems all the girls play sports, soccer and the like. Is that a bad thing?

    I think so, though the absence of an equivalent of toxic masculinity in girls’/women’s sports makes them less objectionable. It still promotes zero-sum attitudes and the idea that the world is (and should be) divided into winners and losers, though, which is one of my chief objections to teaching children to compete. By the time children are old enough that they can see that world works best when people engage in cooperation, rather than competition, they’ve already had it drilled into their heads that we should all be fighting it out until someone comes out on top for years.

    I know some people say that sports does teach cooperation in teamwork, but all that does is teach kids to value their group above all others.

    @ PZ Myers, #13

    I’m sorry you had to put up with such a contemptable shithead. He was clearly someone who should never have been anywhere near any living thing. Except for hornets. Japanese giant hornets.

    If any of my coaches had been that bad, I’d probably have been arrested.

    Nobody showered in any of my PE classes. In my middle school/first high school there wasn’t much point showering in the first and last couple of months in the year, as the school had no air conditioning. There were showers, but they never saw use. Nobody even stripped completely. The tradition of getting naked in front of unfriendly parties was dead and buried, where it belonged. It really doesn’t have any purpose beyond sadism and ugly posturing anyway.

  16. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    What happened to her is bullshit. But… she is going to say that she wasn’t political, when she signed something to defend a man’s reputation for a Supreme Court job against allegations of rape? Sorry, but when your friend is openly political and you defend him, you’re defending his politics.

    Maybe some people will realize what accountability means from this.

  17. Doubting Thomas says

    Thinking back on my own similar experiences in public school and how I hated the whole experience. I never would have graduated at all had it not been for parental expectations. That ended in ’65 and I headed off into rebellion at last. I’ve wondered just how much such experiences led to and fostered the current disrespect for education that seems to exist. I did actually go on to a degree in Psychology. That was my attempt to heal myself.

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