This Ruthless World

Adventures in absurdity

The Cruel And The Dumb Inherit The Earth, Apparently.

William Hogarth, "The Four Stages of Cruelty, Stage I" (1751)To begin with an aside, I confess I don’t care whose feefees I’m hurting when I say this: fratboys are the worst. THE. WORST. This is not a compliment. If any member of the “culture” reading this DOES regard it is a compliment, that would only be proving my point. To any predictable objections to the effect whether I shouldn’t be ranking the Nazis or Islamic terrorists as the worst, I reply with an immortal quote from The Big Lebowski: “Say what you want about National Socialism, at least it’s an ethos.” Frat “ethos”, such as it is, revolves getting shitfaced, destruction of property, humiliation, sex crimes, inflicting suffering, and occasionally killing people and animals for the hell of it — for the lulz. So yes, the label “the worst” is entirely apt here. I cannot believe universities and taxpayers shell out money to subsidize this nonsense.

This story from last week is sad and horrible — all the more so because this is precisely the kind of stuff that fratboys find funny, nay, heroic. If you are too lazy to click on the link, here is the summary: some pledges from a Mississippi university broke into a zoo at night supposedly to take a picture of a flamingo for a scavenger hunt. (That’s the frat’s official story, anyway, and it’s TOTES believable — I mean, you would have to break into a zoo at night to take a picture of one of the animals, right?) Moving right along, instead of just taking a picture, these freaks went ahead and kidnapped a flamingo. The bird was found in the morning several miles away with massive internal injuries and a broken leg. Its mate back at the zoo was also found to have severe internal injuries, including ruptured organs. Both birds had to be euthanized. The apparent leader of this worthy exploit, Devin Nottis, was arrested on felony charges after bragging about it on Twitter.

This is where you would expect the malefactor to wisely lay low and for the the public to lose interest, because the legal system moves at a glacial pace and is also boring. But Devin Nottis had a better idea. For days after being arrested and charged, after his attorney — a person with at least a thousand times his intelligence, education and experience — presumably told him to SHUT THE FUCK UP, Nottis waged a battle on Twitter to defend himself against accusations of general horribleness.

Nottis’ Twitter account is finally in lockdown mode as of this writing, and his Facebook page has been scrubbed — so I cannot give you the pleasure of watching a vicious, idiotic dudebro sputtering the usual dudebro drek at his detractors, nor can I (to my great chagrin) provide a backup for the summary below. If you take what I’m about to say with a grain of salt, I totally understand. But for what it’s worth, for two whole days Nottis “defended” himself on social media in a manner so vigorous, he couldn’t have made a more convincing witness against himself had he testified for the prosecution. The whole thing was a morass, but his defenses can be summarized along the following lines:

1. I didn’t kill the flamingos, the zoo chose to kill them. (This is a slam-dunk, if I ever saw one. “My client didn’t kill anyone, Your Honor, the hospital chose to take the alleged victim off life support.“ “Case dismissed!”)

2. There were twelve other people who did it with me, how’s this even fair? (Another slam dunk. If I shoot somebody and you also shoot the same person, we cancel each other out. Not guilty! Also, this is a great strategy for sentencing hearings. “Your Honor, the sentence for rape in this state is 8 years. Seventeen people raped the victim, so the eight years should be divided seventeen ways. That’s what, like, five months and change per defendant?”)

3. I didn’t rat anybody out! (Well, at least he’s not a snitch. And Benito Mussolini, as we’ve been told so many times, made the trains run on time. Who said scumbags can’t have redeeming virtues?)

He also made a rap video bragging about the incident, because why not.

Sometimes, smart people do horrible things. I admit, I have a grudging respect for intelligence, even if it’s used for ill. But there is nothing quite so dismaying as a marriage between heart-rending cruelty and unfathomable inanity. It is a combination I see all too often. In fact, in my own observation — admittedly not scientific, but hey, we’re just talking here — a lack of empathy and stupidity seem to go hand-in-hand. I know, I know, IQ and empathy are controlled by two different parts of the brain. And yet — I wonder how conclusively this question has been resolved, or even considered. Exploring the relationship, if any, between empathy and intelligence would certainly be fascinating.

So here is the most depressing thing about Devin Nottis. It’s not just that he is a cruel, mean little shit — that goes without saying. It’s that he is also an imbecile. In college. And the only thing that could possibly upset that whole Professional White Male cruise from frathouse sadist to stock market asshole, on which he is currently embarked, is a criminal conviction for theft. His palpable lack of intelligence doesn’t seem to be a problem. How does a guy like this survive in an institution of higher learning? True, the U of Southern Mississippi isn’t quite Harvard, but still, it’s a university, right? How does he not get asked to leave after the first round of exams? They are real college exams, aren’t they? I really don’t get it.

But seriously, fratboys are horrible. In more ways than one.

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4 thoughts on “The Cruel And The Dumb Inherit The Earth, Apparently.

  1. Heard about this in passing, didn’t realize the details until now. Ugly indeed.

  2. The latest is that the idiot has started an internet campaign to raise funds for his legal defense.

  3. His parents must be proud. Let me preface my sentiments by saying I am an embarrassed USM Alum & a former member of a Fraternity. Members of this fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha, known as “pikes”, have a long rich history of being idiots. Everyone involved should be expelled & prosecuted to the full extent of the law. This chapter should be permanently banned from the University. It’s sick morons like this that make fraternities as a whole look bad. Please believe that all fraternities are not created equal, we NEVER engaged in this kind of activity. I would have personally kicked his ass & called the police myself had this been one of our pledges. Alumni, especially former members of the Greek system, are down right pissed off at this kid and the pikes. Pi Kappa Alpha not only has been suspended by the University, but also by Pi Kappa Alpha national. The police & Forrest Co. D.A. are taking this very seriously, others may be arrested for conspiracy. I & other Alum are pushing for expelling students involved as well as prosecution & permanently banning Pi Kappa Alpha.

  4. Hm. When I studied in the US I was invited into one of these Greek Societies after making the Dean’s list, but I declined. I had – and have – a certain allergic response to this kind of organizations. Yesterday I read that at the old University of Marburg (I lived in that charming, peaceful ancient small town for a while) here in Germany a member of a self proclaimed elite “Burschenschaft” /Fraternity stabbed a fellow student to death, after the latter had mockingly snatched away his fraternity kerchief. This was a fencing fraternity, very old and traditional, who fight with life blades. He killed the other student with a single stab right into his heart, merely because of “wounded pride”. This sort of thing is so rare over here that it made the press nation wide, but there is a pattern of violence and crimes (all the way up to founding BANKS!!!) coming from fraternity circles. Well – it*s not really funny. I wonder about the psychopath fractions in these clubs.

    Source (German I’m afraid)http://www.op-online.de/lokales/hessen/student-marburg-getoetet-4112606.html

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