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Men Defending Behaving Badly Badly

« March 2015 »

Memo to the anonymous Penn State fratboy: YOU ARE DUMB.

The idea that frat boys are dumb assholes is a stereotype, and one I'm sure that dumb, asshole frat boys would wholeheartedly reject if "wholeheartedly" weren't a four syllable word. But when I see a story about a member of Penn State's Kappa Delta Rho fraternity defending his brothers in the midst of a scandal, I cannot help but think that he is embodying and reinforcing the stereotype in a big way.

The scandal comes during a time of, and probably because of, increased scrutiny of fraternities after the Oklahoma Racist Chant Incident. The Penn State frat wasn't racist, that I know of. They did, however, run a couple of private Facebook groups for nearly 150 frat members that they used to post pictures of incapacitated undressed women without their consent.

Which is a shitty thing to do. But today's frat boys grew up in the modern era of spin, and watching the unnamed KDR member try to apply the principles of modern spin to this case in an interview with Phillymag is pathetic and hilarious. ACTUAL QUOTES TIME!

"Thus it is laughably pathetic to see the media spring on an occasional incident such as this, especially a media complicit in overturning the same sexual mores and moral standards that for millennia had at least to some extent curbed outright licentiousness." - The anonymous frat boy, who I will henceforth refer to as "McDudenik", trying to be smart.

First of all, if you're going to look up synonyms for "horny" on an online thesaurus, you should probably click through to the definitions, because what's going on here isn't really "licentiousness". I know you thought putting a somewhat obscure, long name on it would make it seem less egregious (that means "fucked up", by the way), but you failed to stick the landing.

Also, it wasn't the media that made it socially acceptable to post naked pictures of unconscious women on the Internet acceptable, when it would have been unthinkable in a more civilized, moral age. It was the Internet that made it socially possible to do this, when it would have been totally thinkable but not physically possible in a less technologically advanced age.

"...when somebody happens to be caught doing the same thing that everyone else is doing … they're just tossed in the crowd, you know. Like back in the Middle Ages, they would find a witch or somebody who the community thought was a witch or something like that and toss them to the crowd, you know? When the person's no different than anyone else.

It is an undeniable truth that people who get caught doing something wrong get punished at a significantly higher rate than people who don't. And while this is clearly unfair, there's really no practical way around it unless we decide "someone else got away with it" is a valid way to avoid consequences, and that way lies anarchy.

Also, someone should check McDudenik's transcript, and if he got anything higher than a D+ in Historical Analogies, then his professor needs a talking to.

"It's not funny. Funny's not always the right word. It's satire. There's a certain stereotypical Greek life culture and, as you see in movies, people try to live up to that and people try to kind of incorporate those elements..."

McDudenik uses the word "satire" twice in the interview. On neither occasion does he use it correctly. He uses it in the sense of "something I've heard people claim to get away with being a horrible asshole", which is, I suppose, accurate from a usage standpoint, but he's simultaneously saying that what the frat did was a part of everyday life AND a satire of a part of everyday life, which isn't satire. It is, however, hilarious.

All he really says is "I don't want me or my friends to get in trouble for this." This is an understandable sentiment. Nobody likes getting in trouble. But if you're going to attempt a faux-intellectual defense of a horrible idea, you're going to have to be a LOT better at it. Luckily, Tom Friedman just posted a column wondering whether or not we should be helping ISIS against Iran, instead of the other way around, so at least you've got something to study before next semester.

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