It was July of 1978, Senator Grassley, and we were on summer break when I called Chris, one of my college roommates. “Have you seen this new movie, Animal House?” I said. “It’s like… they were there.”
This photo is from the 1978-’79 Ohio University yearbook, on the same page as the Eta Kappa Nu fraternity. I resurrect the image and present it to the public as an honest representation of my college years. Three of us lived in an off-campus apartment, the center of a sprawling group of friends calling themselves The Derelicts, as the sign says. Before John Belushi’s Bluto from Animal House there was a Zimbo. That’s him holding the sword. Chris is in the first row, on the right, holding my dog, Hormel. That’s me in the top row, on the left, peering into a beer bottle.
We drank virtually every night. The parties were iconic. We poured beer on the long hallway leading to the bedrooms, took a running start and dove head-first to see who slid the farthest. We played host to toga parties and tributes to The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Phil – that’s him right above the second E in Derelicts – was dressed as Meatloaf, his girlfriend Andria was his groupie, Columbia. They took his Harley up the elevator to the sixth floor and roared into the living room. It was the finest entrance to a party I’ve ever seen.
I remember sitting in the living room one Sunday morning, drinking coffee in the midst of post-party debris, and glancing up at the ceiling. There was a footprint on it. How did that get up there?
There are many more stories, but you get the idea. And why resurrect this ancient history?
Brett Kavanaugh, of course.
Yeah, we’ve seen Kavanaugh’s yearbook. Did the yearbook adviser have a night job as a screenwriter for the Porky’s films? It’s ancient history, but no less disturbing for it. I avoid generalizing about people, but that Kavanaugh looked like a privileged rich shit whose sense of entitlement included a future as Supreme Court justice. A sense of entitlement that also gave him permission, it has been credibly alleged, to put his hands on a woman’s body, without her consent.
In theory, you grow up and move on. But some piece of your history remains with you. It’s the learning piece. It’s the piece that says, “I’m not going to drink virtually every night. I’m not that guy anymore.”
And if that ancient history comes back at you, you own it. You don’t lie and blame others.
Kavanaugh’s hearing was about a serious accusation of sexual assault. And a judge whose answers were evasive, and sometimes outright lies. His accusers were the liars, he said. He snarled and spoke contemptuously to the senators who dared question him. He still looked like a privileged rich shit whose sense of entitlement was being challenged.
And he was defended by a group of entitled old rich guys determined to resist the changes that the rest of us are welcoming. We’re ready for the 21st century. They are the resistance.
You’ve heard this defense of Kavanaugh: “What young guy hasn’t done something like that?”
The Derelicts came from a different world. We were not children of entitlement. I don’t think any of us had rich parents. Yale is a prestige school, Ohio University is not. The Derelicts partied hard, and I’ve lost track of many of them, but I’m pretty sure they all shook out as solid citizens. I know some of them became software engineers, environmental geologists, graphic artists, art quilters and writers.
And I am certain of this, Senator Grassley: Not one of The Derelicts ever committed an act of sexual assault or harassment. We weren’t Yale smart, but we knew better.
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