As we noted over the weekend, the anti-Andrew-Lohse contingent Goldman Snacks published a bunch of emails between Lohse and his friends (and a professor), including an unpublished column Lohse wrote under a pseudonym in order to praise himself.
While we were going through the whole log, Dartmouth conspiracy theorist Joseph Asch dismissed the emails as “small beer,” insisting that “there is not much of interest to be found.” Asch, like the rest of Dartblog, maintains a curious epistemology — where the truth is divined by absorbing the opposite of what Asch says — so of course these emails aren’t “small beer,” and of course there is much of interest to be found.
As one of our commenters pointed out, several irrefutable details indicate that Lohse’s brother — Jon Lohse ’11 — provided these emails to Goldman Snacks, or provided them to someone who then provided them to Goldman Snacks. Myriad references, and a rather telling pattern of redactions, all point to Jon as the source of these emails. (Unlike our commenter, however, we don’t think Goldman Snacks is JL himself.)
This revelation is rather strange, sure — strange in that you wouldn’t think someone so close to Lohse would attempt to discredit him. But it’s not exactly unprecedented. As Janet Reitman wrote in March, Lohse tends to shed friends and supporters rather quickly; one student told her that “one by one, I think a lot of [Lohse's] friends just gave up [on him].”
This revelation isn’t all that illogical, either. As these emails flesh out, Andrew, his brother and their friends spent many, many months plotting an all-out media blitz in order to capture as much attention as possible. All the while, Andrew tried to anticipate — in order to minimize — any potential inconvenience to himself:
so since i’m the one that has something to lose–i could easily become a “phil aubart” at dartmouth if i’m perceived as just ratting people out for no reason, which would make my life unenjoyable even if i were to defect to a different sociallife…no one would want to do illegal or semiillegal things around me anymore or even permit me to socialize in their spaces, probably not even panarchy or tabard–we need to figure out exactly how we will do this.
*can there be a worthy media story with no event?
*can there be an event with the instigator remaining anonymous?
*is there a possibility ofme being able to transfer?
*what ifwe get a bust, i remain anonymous, we develop a story, and it goes nowhere?
*ami the only one who takes the fall if things don’t work out?
*is this ethical for me to do given the harm similar actions caused me?
*will”being the good guy” have a higher payoff than the status quo? if so, how is it packaged…
-like “oh wow, look what happened, who would have thought! …we renounce this awful hazing!”
-like, “look what andrew lohse did to get attention or ruin other people’s ‘experience”‘
-like, i ORCHESTRATED this with JO, ALe, and., i know it may seem unethetical, BUT…
You get the sense from these emails that Lohse’s priority isn’t so much to expose wrongdoing but, instead, to accrue the largest possible amount of fame (and fortune) for himself. And as his book proposal and the Rolling Stone piece make clear, garnering a lot of fame meant simplifying his story so that his brother merely “encouraged” him to go forward with his story. But that’s not what happened. As the emails show, Jon (plus friends) worked for months — helping Andrew set his story straight, figuring out when to publish the column, dealing with Andrew’s frequent intransigence — for which he (and their friends) have received only nominal credit.
The strategic wisdom of leaking these emails is probably nil. But the motivation to do so, on at least one party’s part, is anything but unclear.