Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tom Wolfe on conservative monkeys

Hoyt's strong suit was humor, irony, insouciance, and being coolly gross, Animal House-style. In the American lit classes, they were always talking about The Catcher in the Rye, but Holden Caulfield was a whining, neurotic wuss. For his, Hoyt's, generation it was Animal House. He must have watched it ten times himself ... The part where Belushi smacks his cheeks and says, "I'm a zit" ... awesome ... and Dumb and Dumber and Swingers and Tommy Boy and The Usual Suspects, Old School ... He'd loved those movies. He'd laughed his head off ... gross, coolly gross ... but did anybody else in the house get the serious point that made all that so awesome? Probably not. It was actually all about being a man in the Age of the Wuss. A fraternity like Saint Ray, if you truly understood it, forged you into a man who stood apart from the ordinary run of passive, compliant American college boys. Saint Ray was a MasterCard that gave you carte blanche to assert yourself--he loved that metaphor. Of course, you couldn't go through life like a frat boy, breaking rules just for the fun of it. The frat-boy stuff was sort of like basic training. One of the things you learned as a Saint Ray--if you were a real brother and not some mistake like I.P.--was how rattled and baffled people were when confronted by those who take no shit.


Everywhere you looked at this university there were people knocking "the frats" and the frat boys--the administration, which blamed them for the evils of alcohol, pot, cocaine, ecstasy ... the dorks, GPA geeks, Goths, lesbos, homobos, bi-bos, S and Mbos, blackbos, Latinos, Indians--from India and the reservation--and other whining diversoids, who blamed them for racism, sexism, classism, whatever the fuck that was, chauvinism, anti-Semitism, fringe-rightism, homophobia ... The only value ingrained at this institution was a weepy tolerance for losers ... The old gale began blowing, and the concept enlarged ... If America ever had to go to war again, fight with the country's fate on the line, not just in some "police action," there would be only one source of officers other than the military academies: frat boys. They were the only educated males left who were conditioned to think and react ... like men. They were the only--

The concept would have grown still larger had not a boy named Hadlock Mills--known as Heady, which was short for Headlock--come in from out of the entry gallery and said with a slight smirk, "Hoyt, there's a young lady here to see you."

Tom Wolfe, I am Charlotte Simmons