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Cockburn

The surprising ‘male self-awareness’ of Mark Judge and friends

‘Real Men Don’t Join Fraternities’, a piece by Mark Judge, has been quoted in a Washington Post story. Yet they’ve cherry-picked a single line to make him and Kavanaugh look bad...

October 2, 2018

1:21 PM

2 October 2018

1:21 PM

Throughout the chaos of the Senate Judiciary Committee grillings of Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh last week, one man’s absence was notable: Mark Judge, the ‘other man in the room’ during the alleged assault.

The conservative writer has been hiding out in a Delaware beach house during the hearings in DC, saying he won’t testify, which Sen. Chuck Grassley has accepted. So where might a curious reader look for an insight into the mind of this pivotal political figure du jour?

Well, much has been made of Judge’s accounts in his memoir, Confessions of a Gen-X Drunk. And Cockburn has previously touched on the revelations from his other writings in DC. But now let us turn our attention to a little-known culture magazine called Acculturated, for which Judge was a staff writer back in 2015, and whose most-read section his articles currently dominate.

mark judge most read acculturated

His most-read piece, entitled ‘Real Men Don’t Join Fraternities’, has been touched upon in a report by the Washington Post, who quote the line, ‘I’ll be the first one to defend guys being guys.’

But rather dishonestly, the Post are cherry-picking that snippet from Judge’s piece to suit their objective and stripping it of its wider context. On the whole, the article is a critique of frat culture:

‘It was the treatment of women that made me stay away from the Greek system. I still remember the incident. It involved a guy who had been one of my best friends in high school. We remained close when we went to different colleges, me to Catholic University in D.C., him to a state school in Virginia…My friend was home for summer vacation, and I noticed something in his room. It was an envelope that had been handed to him by one of his fraternity brothers. Inside was a photograph of a naked woman who had passed out at one of their parties. She was posed in the most demeaning, pornographic way imaginable. I held it up to my friend’s face: What the hell was this?

‘He had at least the decency to look ashamed. He mumbled something about his “crazy frat brother” who liked to do stuff like that. When girls got so drunk they passed out he took pictures of them (and no, conservatives, no woman, no matter how drunk, has “put herself” in that position). Later that same fraternity almost got closed down when it was revealed that they had drilled a hole into the women’s bathroom.

‘This wasn’t the typical male silliness that we had indulged in in high school. This was assault and a violation of the soul.’

Judge represents himself as a sensitive soul, horrified by the college conduct of one of his fratty high school friends. But surely there’s nothing else the Post have omitted about how Georgetown Prep students behaved? Oh wait…

‘In high school, some buddies and I always went down to the Eastern Shore every spring for “Beach Week,” the annual exodus of school kids to Ocean City, Maryland. At one party, we all had had a few beers and after the girls had gone home for the night, someone produced a camera and a couple guys started posing nude. It was a raucous evening and the intention was pure self-deprecation: guys were flexing like bodybuilders when they obviously weren’t, doing Mr. Universe poses and quoting Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. We had flirted with girls all night and mostly gotten nowhere (aside from a few kisses), and were now mocking ourselves as macho men. It was hilarious and completely healthy. The idea of stripping a girl naked and photographing her while she was unconscious was as plausible as the idea of walking up to our school headmaster and slapping him across the face. That kind of male self-awareness was completely absent in the fraternities I visited in college. It was replaced by senseless, blunt cruelty — the ethos that, according to the news, still rules America’s fraternities.’

While much of Judge’s writing is typical 2015 conservative fare — critical of liberals and feminists, pro-Gamergate — it intrigues Cockburn that this particular piece caught the eye of the Washington Post researchers. It’s more intriguing still that they chose to omit Judge’s musings on the ‘male self-awareness’ of his high school friends, presumably including Brett Kavanaugh, on their trips to the much-discussed ‘Beach Week’.


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