Brett Kavanaugh: Culture of alcoholism and debauchery revealed at prep school Supreme Court pick attended at time of alleged sexual assault

Journalist and former classmate Mark Judge references a 'Bart O’Kavanaugh' character who passes out drunk and throws up in a car in a 1997 memoir

Avi Selk
Tuesday 18 September 2018 16:31 BST
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh delivers opening statement

A quote from a playwright runs alongside the family photos on Mark Judge’s page in his high school yearbook: “Certain women should be struck regularly, like gongs.”

Mr Judge’s yearbook entry appears one page before the bio of his classmate at Georgetown Preparatory – federal judge and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Both men graduated in 1983 – a year after they allegedly locked a girl inside a bedroom at a house party, where she says a drunken Mr Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and tried to strip her while a similarly drunken Mr Judge watched and laughed.

Both men have denied the accusation, which Christine Blasey Ford went public with this week in The Washington Post. Mr Judge subsequently told The New York Times that not only did he never see a sexual assault, but that such behaviour would be wildly out of character for the Catholic-raised-and-educated boys who went to Georgetown Prep in the early 80s.

What Mr Judge has written in his career as a journalist and author is another matter.

In two memoirs, Mr Judge depicted his high school as a nest of debauchery where students attended “masturbation class”, “lusted after girls” from nearby Catholic schools, and drank themselves into stupors at parties. He has since renounced that lifestyle and refashioned himself as a conservative moralist – albeit one who has written about “the wonderful beauty of uncontrollable male passion”.

Mr Judge credits Georgetown Prep as the place he learned to write, even as he blames it for sending him down the path to alcoholism and immorality.

He was caption editor for his yearbook, which included lines like “ebony and ivory” beneath a photo of a white and a black student, and “Do these guys beat their wives?” beneath a group photo of several boys.

In his 2005 memoir, “God and Man at Georgetown Prep,” he wrote that he co-published the school’s underground student newspaper in his senior year, dedicating it largely to documenting the school’s party scene. One issue pictured a music teacher at a bachelor party “chugging a beer, surrounded by a group of us with raised mugs, sitting down while being entertained by the stripper”.

Mr Judge never wrote about any sexual violence at those parties, nor did he mention Mr Kavanaugh attending any. But Mr Judge’s 1997 memoir, “Wasted”, references a “Bart O’Kavanaugh” character who passes out drunk and throws up in a car.

In Mr Judge’s telling, it took him years to realise the error of his high school ways. He eventually got sober, rediscovered Catholicism and briefly took a teaching job at Georgetown University.

Academia didn’t suit Mr Judge, apparently. He left the school in the mid-90s and wrote his first column for The Weekly Standard about his experience there:

“I saw course descriptions requiring students to read comic books and watch the feminist film Thelma and Louise,” he wrote, “and academic papers proclaiming that all courses not named ‘Women’s Studies’ or ‘African-American (or other) Studies’ are ‘men’s studies ... white-defined, ethnocentric, and implicitly racist’.”

Mr Judge has written dozens of columns in the decades since, including several for this newspaper. Femininity, masculinity and sexuality are perennial themes. He has written that safety razors are too feminine, that former president Barack Obama is practically a woman, and that gay men have infiltrated the priesthood.

He has also written repeatedly about his thoughts on sexual violence, which might make him an interesting character witness if Ms Ford’s accusations against Mr Kavanaugh result in a prolonged public investigation.

In general, Mr Judge has been unsparing of men accused of assault, including the conservative Senate candidate Roy Moore. But his condemnation of male aggression sometimes bleeds into critiques on women’s behaviour, as when he wrote last year for Acculturated:

“There’s never any excuse to rape, a crime that I think is almost akin to murder because the rapist kills a part of the human soul. And yet what women wear and their body language also send signals about their sexuality.”

Two years earlier, in an ode to “sexy” pulp novels, Mr Judge lamented “social justice warriors” who confuse rape with innocent demonstrations of masculinity. He wrote then of “an ambiguous middle ground, where the woman seems interested and indicates, whether verbally or not, that the man needs to prove himself to her”.

“If that man is any kind of man, he’ll allow himself to feel the awesome power, the wonderful beauty, of uncontrollable male passion,” Mr Judge continued. To illustrate his point, he linked to a scene from the 1981 film Body Heat, in which the hero forcibly breaks into a woman’s home, and is rewarded with a kiss.

The Washington Post

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