The #MeToo Movement has put a laudable spotlight on the supremacist behavior of America’s toxic elites, but its focus on celebrity victims is an unfortunate extension of the Frat Boy Culture which plagues our faltering nation.
One which embraces its indifference to the suffering of the poor and faltering middle class.
The painful truth is that for every famous woman groped by the likes of President Donald Trump (Phi Gamma Delta), film mogul Harvey Weinstein, comedian Bill Cosby (Omega Psi Phi), and former president Bill Clinton (Alpha Phi Omega) there are literally millions of poor and middle class Americans being exploited without the same media fanfare. People forced to work overtime for free, locked into a lifetime of debt by excessive interest rates and bankruptcy code changes, denied medical care by ridiculous prices, forced from their homes by predatory lenders, and laid off to cut costs at profitable companies.
Case in point, the hundreds of contractors Trump and his branded companies have refused to pay in the real estate and casino industries
The #MeToo Movement’s timely cry of “enough” is too important to allow celebrities to be the only victims of these aging fratboys. Not when they’ve been exploiting everyone from West Virginia coal miners to Manhattan hotel maids by the tens of millions.
All victims of Frat Boy culture should matter equally. Regardless of gender, race, geography, religion, education or credit score.
Because that's The American Way. Or at least it was in the heyday of our fading democracy, before our multimillionaires became multibillionaires by screwing over the masses.
It’s equally important that the willing collaborators of these toxic elites be held accountable, too. Meaning the KellyAnne Conways, Omarosa Manigaults, Ben Carsons (Alpha Phi Alpha) and Renee Zellweggers of the world who debase us all by clinging to their repugnant meal tickets like flies to feces.
These fawning lackeys have created such a cloud of willing degradation in the modern workplace that American workers are now defined more by what we won’t do to get ahead, than by what we will.
No American should need a wealthy family, hot body, or fraternity membership to be treated with dignity. There should be no need for the double-barreled last names of silver spoons like Jenna Hager Bush (Kappa Alpha Theta) and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, which exist solely to ensure they're never judged on own merits.
In short, there should be no tiered America where the poor and middle class are marginalized and the wealthy elevated. There’s nothing shameful in having money, but erecting an entire caste system solely upon familial wealth undermines both American democracy and social mobility.
To carve out a special exception just for socialites and attractive celebrities, as the #MeToo Movement has done, is an insult to the rest of us. As are the free passes being awarded those who encourage toxic elites by “playing the game” and acceding to their improper demands.
These sins of omission turn a blind eye to both the systemic exploitation of American workers and the elevation of workplace sycophants, whose cowardly behavior is a betrayal of the iconic American values of dignity, courage and principled sacrifice. Values embodied by real life heroes as disparate as actress Rosie McGowan, former CIA hacker Edward Snowden, and activist DeRay Mckesson.
The painful truth is that the excesses of Frat Boy Culture hurt all Americans. They underpin both the War on Workers – which has spurred so many jobless Americans to destroy themselves via suicide, alcoholism and drug abuse – and the fascism of the far right.
Instead of allowing the #MeToo Movement to descend into the absurd by criminalizing all men, we should be expanding its scope to include all Americans. We should also be exploring the origins of the outrageous misconduct now embraced by our toxic elites instead of embracing the fiction all men are equally guilty of it.
In many cases, the path leads directly back to the very institutions of higher learning which have long produced our future leaders.
Frat Boy Culture is strongest in places like Yale University, where the wealthy members of its exclusive Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity took infantile pride in publicly chanting “No Means Yes” until they were banned for doing so in 2010. These rich clowns appeared outside the Yale Women’s Center with a poster reading, “We Love Yale Sluts” in 2008 and compiled an adolescent scouting report rating the physical appearance of incoming female students in 2009.
Delta Kappa Epsilon’s members include former president George W. Bush and four other U.S. presidents. All of them have peepees and a desperate need to believe their sexuality is somehow new and novel in the human experience.
These silver spoon mofos are not alone in embracing the idea that the normal rules of civilized behavior should not apply to them. The painful truth is that there are so many examples of misconduct at U.S. fraternities that it’s daunting to even try to summarize them.
The same mindset is pervasive among many prominent citizens, especially those with frat backgrounds. They seem to take a kind of misguided pride in highlighting their privileged pedigrees. Instead of leading by example.
This dynamic was on full display at the 2006 White House Correspondents Party, when TV talk show host John McLaughlin (below left) grabbed the buttocks of a passing woman at a prestigious after-party. Before a crowd of hundreds.
I know because I was there, praying she would slap the shit out of him.
The tall, elegant, middle-aged woman turned on her elderly attacker as his fingers clawed their way into her - face twisted in anger. However, her expression transformed into a subservient smile the moment she realized the offending digits belonged to the influential host of the McLaughlin Report.
Which is exactly how the so-called "game" works in places Hollowood, Manhattan and Washington, D.C. It's not entirely one-sided, and it should be.
Where does this elitist bullshit come from?
It comes from the very nature of fraternities and sororities. Washington Post Columnist Petula Dvorak famously described them as “self-selecting, self-segregating institutions” that perpetuate America’s increasingly two-tiered society.
We need the #MeToo Movement to be more than that.
Our nation’s military and intelligence communities took a skeptical view of homosexuals, Catholics and Jews prior to World War II. Their thinking was that the members of these traditional victim groups made questionable colleagues due to their alleged “divided loyalties” and susceptibility to blackmail.
However, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the Americans with divided loyalties today are those who put loyalty to their fraternity brothers and sorority sisters ahead of the greater good. And embrace the idea that the normal rules of civilized behavior do not apply to the rich.
Former frat boy Will Ferrell, the beloved comedian who thinks the time has come to ban all fraternities system, put it best:
"When you break it down, it really is about creating cliques and clubs and being exclusionary,” he said of fraternities.
The only problem with Ferrell's solution is that it does nothing to address the generations of privileged elites who already infect our society like a case of chlamydia.
Frat Boy culture is built on the primitive tribalism of “us” and “them,” rather than the inclusive idea that “we’re all in this together.” It assumes the more different you are from the members of the frat the less you matter.
The logical extension of this misguided notion is that there is some sub-section of Americans which good people can attack with impunity.
This is utter fiction.
The painful truth is that there are no good Americans who engage in the anonymity of group bias. Only bad ones - of every size, shape, gender, color and credit score.
It’s time for Frat Boy culture and the fraternity system which underpins it to go the way of the buggy whip.
And for the radical feminists who have tried to turn #MeToo into a sexist crusade against all men to understand that their privileged group bias is wrong too.
Because the antidote to rich male privilege is not rich female privilege.
Cynical Times Editor Victor Epstein is a graduate of The City College of New York and Columbia University. He has never belonged to a fraternity or sought to join one.