Brett Kavanaugh yearbook question

“Yeah, the yearbook editors, I think, had a mindset of like ‘Caddyshack,’ ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High,’ ‘Animal House,’ or something and made the yearbook into kind of a farce in that respect,” he said, referring to popular films from the time. “And that’s — you know, that explains some of the yearbook.”

So sez the man himself.

Seems like this would be pretty easy to confirm. Has it been?

Traditionally there was a yearbook advisor (a teacher) who would make sure the yearbook was not offensive to any of its constituencies (from parents to the governing board…) so your suggestion is hard to believe.

Or are prep schools different?

As a member of a yearbook staff, we certainly did have an advisor, but we also found plenty of ways to be just subversive enough to not cross a line. Obviously language would get you in trouble fairly quickly, but inside jokes were fairly normal and playing with captions and quotes to skirt under what our advisor would understand at a quick glance was common.

I actually have a couple of regrets about it because we definitely had an editorial perspective that was not always kind. One thing that I still think back on is on the Homecoming page, we had a large picture of the Jr. Queen who was a little 4 year old girl with a caption that said something like ‘The true queen of homecoming.’ and for the actual Homecoming Queen, we relegated her picture to a little corner with no caption. Since then, her life has not been easy and I have often wondered if that was the highlight of her life and we simply dismissed it. She was not a bad person and we really were just protesting the whole ‘beauty pageant-like’ concept of a Homecoming Queen and how it was juvenile to us, but our behavior was unnecessary and that is one of the moments in my life I would like to have back.

Now I don’t think that it was some egregiously appalling thing to do and I hope that it never bothered her, but we should have been happy with her success instead of trying to make a stupid point that no one else would even understand or care about. Anyway, as usual, I’ve digressed. Stupid ADHD.

I was into photography in Highschool, and so I was my class yearbook photographer.

In one picture of a large group, my friend Jeff subtly flashed “the finger” at the camera. After the picture was taken, I approached Jeff and suggested we reshoot, but he talked me out of it.

Each step of the way, what I thought was glaringly obvious was missed. First by student editors, then by a faculty advisor, then by proofreaders. The picture made the Yearbook (which I have stored away someplace). No idea what became of Jeff.

The implication is that they didn’t really drink or party that much, it was just a fun invention of the editor. That you can check, Mark Judge wrote a book about how much drinking went on.

Now, it might be true that it was approved, but to imply the partying was overplayed seems pretty easy to dismiss.

I assume a collection of upper middle class 50-year-olds are reluctant to stand in the limelight. There are a lot of closed ranks and closed lips. Those higher up on the corporate food chain probably don’t want to attract the attention others already have, so they are not going to say anything that contradicts the party line.

Kavanaugh said he wrote the entry and the editors modified it to make things sound worse than they were. However, nobody pressed him IIRC on details of what was altered, and I assume the response would have been “I don’t remember after 35 years”.

I know with our yearbooks, the yearbook staff wrote snarky jokes and allegations about everyone and the staff advisor toned them down. The comment for a cast member from “Brigadoon” lyrics was “got Heather on hill.” Taken out (but there was no Heather, it was just a joke…). The typesetters (in the typewriter to type-set days) proceeded to screw things up. The Italian guy who was “mistaken for an Angelo-Saxon” was typeset as Anglo-Saxon. As a member of the yearbook staff, I was not even allowed to see my comment until it was done… But even back then, I gathered that the students not writing their own comments was an oddity compared to other schools. As a result, our comments omitted a lot of the “list of accomplishments and activities” that are typical of yearbooks.