Monday, November 24, 2014

The Rolling Stone and UVA

When I saw that Rolling Stone magazine had written a story about UVA I didn’t know what to think. There was a time when I read Rolling Stone, mostly back when P.J. O’Rourke wrote travel articles for them. But ever since I and Rolling Stone stopped caring about Rock and Roll, I stopped caring about Rolling Stone.

I saw it first on my nephew’s Facebook wall and then discovered that it was everywhere. It was a long and well written piece about a freshman who goes to a frat party, gets gang raped and then literally nothing happens. I won’t repeat all of the article here. I’ll just assume that you’ve read it. But if you haven’t, do yourself a favor and take the time to read the piece…now.

First of all, as someone who has attended a few frat parties back in the day, I should point out that UVA is certainly not unique when it comes to frat-boy debauchery. Although I never witnessed, let alone participated in, anything approaching the happenings at Phi Kappa Psi, there were stories. On one occasion there were photographs. Back then even as a fun-loving, thrill-seeking 20 year old, they were sickening. Today, as a father, I am enraged.

The part of the article that has done the enraging isn’t the actual crime as much as the reaction to the crime by the victims' three “friends.” After finding their friend, who had just been repeatedly raped for over 3 hours by a cowardly band of eight attackers, their biggest concern isn’t for her safety and protection. No, no. They stand there beside their shaking traumatized friend and contemplate what this might mean for future invitations to frat parties for them if they actually take her to the hospital and report this attack to the authorities! Later in the story, after our victim has spent weeks isolating herself from everyone in her dorm, a girl is quoted offering this terrifying opinion, “You’re still upset about that? Why didn’t you just have fun with it…all those hot Phi Kappa Psi guys?”

Civilization, culture, polite society, are words we use to describe what we like to think is a more enlightened existence than our forbearers in less advanced times had to endure. In truth, these words serve as a thin veneer with which we paint over the ugliness of our hearts. We flatter ourselves by thinking that human beings have evolved beyond paganism. What I read in that article was essentially describing the lawless, hedonistic pursuit of pleasure fancied up in pearls.

There exists nowhere in the mind of any rational person an excuse for this type of behavior. If I hear one more dissertation about how the girl should have known what she was getting herself into, or those boys were just acting out what they see in pornography, I’m going to throw up. Oh, the poor, confused young things! Bullshit. No one in that dark room at the Phi Kappa Psi frat house was confused about anything. They knew exactly what they were doing and also that they would get away with it. Virginia’s finest.

People today roll their eyes whenever anyone starts talking about morality and virtue, as if these things no longer have a place in our newly liberated, values-free culture whose only surviving virtue seems to be tolerance. But perhaps it might be time to revisit centuries old virtues like honor and respect. Maybe it’s a mistake to cast the word judgmental on the scrap heap of history. I make no apologies for being judgmental. I have looked at the behavior of these frat boys and I am ready to declare my judgment that they are worthless pagans who should all be sentenced to life in prison for what used to be called “rape” in this country.

We need to stop kidding ourselves. Our advanced civilization…is neither advanced, nor civil.