When we sat down to write this post, we felt like we knew what to say: that Andrew Lohse’s recently-leaked proposal for his 2014 memoir A Party at the End of the World is yet another artifact of the author’s well-intentioned but often preposterous campaign to reform Dartmouth’s Greek system while building his own media career.
To describe the proposal that way—to pathologize its author—de-emphasizes the context from which it emerged: namely, an anonymous group, vocally angry at Lohse and fearful of damage to their reputations, somehow obtained the book proposal, heavily redacted it, then published it online. Whoever orchestrated this coup wanted to discredit Lohse without sabotaging anyone else involved—including, of course, themselves. And this context is important: the proposal reveals nearly as much as it obscures. For example:
1. Whoever redacted the proposal doesn’t understand how redactions work. “Goldman Snacks,” as the group calls itself, tried to scrub Lohse’s proposal of certain details (names, descriptions, and the like) that identify SAE brothers. That effort failed. Take a look at this passage:
After working other connections in the frat for nearly the entire following year-mainly through friends of my brother-I overcame the “ding” against my name and rushed the fraternity in October 2009. This chapter relates rush, my hazing induction experience of receiving a bid (the President of the Review lit my bid card on fired while I chugged six beers, vomiting on myself), and the first hazing I underwent as a pledge.
That’s a real person! Indeed, the President of the Dartmouth Review in October 2009 (identified here) was, according to an archived copy of the house’s website, a brother at SAE. This is the same person who apparently said he “would bring down the Review from the inside if it meant that [he] could save SAE” and who forced Lohse (according to the proposal) to chug six beers as a requirement of pledging.
2. Lohse actually admits he was an “especially harsh hazer”. This is unambiguous:
Despite my newfound strong moral aversion to hazing, I succumbed to the group pressure and became an especially harsh hazer, earning a reputation as a charming psychopath. I loathed the persona that had overtaken me, but I couldn’t stop. I rode shotgun for the bid night kidnappings and actively engaged in the sink night kiddie pool hazing-even peeing in cups and throwing them at the pledges as they were “baptized” in the pool.
The urine-in-kiddie-pool aspect is remarkable because Lohse cited it, in his original column, as an especially gross method of SAE-style hazing that he himself was forced to endure. But, as we reported in February, Lohse and his pledge brothers were simply told there was urine in the kiddie pool, to freak them out. Here Lohse admits that he inflicted this particular form of hazing on pledges under his authority, based on the imagined precedent of his own pledge term.
This is insane! Lohse is admitting that he was an active agent of “Abu Ghraib-style feats of hazing,” a uniquely determined perpetrator of what he has repeatedly railed against.
3. Lohse is clearly angry about the leak. A Party at the End of the World is slated for publication in 2014; Lohse likely hasn’t even completed his first draft. In media mumbo-jumbo, he lost control of the narrative, and immediately tried to pry it back from “Goldman Snacks” by emailing a random PowerPoint presentation to Dartblog’s Joseph Asch, who later published a lengthy refutation of its most revelatory bits about SAE’s various endowments. (Sidenote: in the PowerPoint Lohse employs the word “dereifying”: exactly the sort of word Asch bitterly accused Dartmouth’s president of using, but that’s for another day.)
I’m concerned about this program and want to pay you off to stop. Is this possible?
Q. The style of writing on this website bears an uncanny resemblance to that of Dartmouth College Media Director Justin Anderson. Is he in any way affiliated with this Operation?
A. No comment.
When was asked about Hazing Tour creator Travis Blalock‘s involvement, Goldman Snacks told us:
Travis Blalock? Hahaha- Travis Blalock is just the tip of the iceberg. Clearly, you don’t understand what’s going on here. We have much to discuss tomorrow, including the connection between D columnist Jordan Osserman and Andrew Lohse.
Check this email tomorrow for further instructions on how to contact us.
PS: Check the dates.
Anyway, you can inspect the proposal here. Let us know about any curious passages in the comments.