Have you ever lived in, or even really visited an honest-to-god college town? You know the type — a small town nestled away somewhere, dominated by the school, dozens of bars with cheap beer and storied pasts. Through my rather long academic career I lived in two — Fayetteville, Ark., and Chapel Hill, N.C. Both, I would say, quintessential college towns. And I’m here to tell you, there were scores of Brett Kavanaughs running around. And that’s what I was reminded of while watching Brett Kavanaugh’s sniveling, tantrum-like testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Am I connecting too many dots by linking Brett Kavanaugh’s deplorable actions to the LGBT community? In a word, no. If anything of the actions of Brett Kavanaughs out there tell us, if they have no respect for women, they’ll have none for others, especially members of our community.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved my time in Fayetteville. It was a beautiful place to live. But again, the Brett Kavanaughs, those entitled frat boys all dressed the same, us queer kids would cringe when they came rolling through spaces — acting as they pleased with no regard for others, especially us. I was also a teaching assistant during my time there, teaching literature and history courses. Kavanaugh answered many questions by making lame attempts at turning the questions back on the other person, like so many frat boys giving a report on a book of which the spine had never been cracked, “well, that’s a good question, what do you think the central theme of Moby Dick was?”
This is who I saw when I saw Kavanaugh testify. The crybaby who didn’t understand that handing in no work would eventually mean not passing the class. I especially saw it when he displayed obvious contempt for the female senators as they asked their questions. His back-and-forth with Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar was especially troubling. She said she was ‘stunned’ by their exchange. I was disgusted at his how-dare-you, vitriolic attitude toward her and others.
And I realize I’m painting frats with a rather large and broad brush. I have lots of gay friends that went Greek. I was the only one in my family that didn’t. And maybe they’ve changed since my college years. But, maybe they haven’t really. And the prep school and subsequent college years of those days in many ways produced Brett Kavanaugh. I’m guessing hundreds of people out there have a Brett Kavanaugh lurking in their past.
My experience with this type of person is nowhere near as bad as others. I was just called ‘faggot’ here and there. No big deal, really. Thankfully I never suffered any physical violence. Others did for sure. But I hope these kids now, and from then, are watching the Kavanaugh controversy play out and taking a hard look at their actions. Their ‘good word’ will no longer be unquestionably accepted; in fact it seems their days of being on top are very much numbered.
Yes, Kavanaugh may still be confirmed. Though I predict he won’t. Or at least I sincerely hope he won’t. But if so, there is a little bit of a silver lining in all of this. It is that the heyday of the Kavanaughs out there, the Day of White Straight Male, and their time of acting with impunity in all things, is coming to a close. And if you were ever bashed by the Bretts, or even just mildly annoyed by their presence, know that you may still get justice yet.
Brock Thompson is a D.C.-based writer. He contributes regularly to the Blade.