In defense of douchery

The University is not one of the nation's douchiest colleges; it is simply better than the rest

This University prides itself on rankings. The annual release of the “America’s Best Colleges” issue of U.S. News & World Report is circled on President John T. Casteen, III’s calendar months ahead of time. When Forbes listed schools like Hampden-Sydney ahead of the University in its 2009 best colleges list, students cried foul. It has even been rumored that Virginia football and basketball were once ranked in the top 25 of ESPN and AP polls. Not sure about that one.

Recently, the list of accolades has grown one larger: GQ Magazine has listed the University the 25th “douchiest” college in the U.S. Though the recognition is appreciated, GQ has in reality doled out a backhanded compliment: clearly, the University deserves to be ranked much higher on this list. Furthermore, we have qualms with the word “douchey” – it is not that students here are douches, but rather that they are simply better than everyone else.

The jealousy of GQ and the like is nearly palpable. Friedrich Nietzsche said it best: the weak-willed populace, filled with resentment toward the strong and powerful, cleverly inverted the world’s moral scheme to leapfrog the Homeric aristocrats and brand itself as noble. In other words, GQ targeted University students – honorable champions of Jeffersonian values – in a feeble attempt to reconstruct society as we know it. The proletariat will not reign, however, and the University shall remain on its pedestal overlooking the unrefined masses.

The problem with using the word “douchey” to describe this state of affairs, instead of “awesome,” is that it implies a certain unwarranted arrogance – our arrogance is entirely warranted. How dare GQ and men.style.com suggest that University community members are full-of-themselves and pretentious? And how dare those publications besmirch Mr. Jefferson’s legacy one step further, ranking the University only 25th and referring to it as the “blue-blazer douche?” Lest anyone forget, blue blazers describe only a small fraction of our overall excellence. How could GQ’s editors leave out those beautiful sorority girls who exclude others on the basis of appearance and wealth alone? Or what about that proud, inebriated, backwards-hatted fraternity man standing – like a regal knight – on the stained cushions of a couch, shouting obscenities at mere first-year students? Lawnies and secret society members: Where is your sense of decency, to not respond with force and vigor to these libelous allegations of douchery?

At least we are given good company. Honorable-mention blue blazer douches included Duke, Johns Hopkins, and even football powerhouses like William & Mary. If using an ampersand in your college’s name does not imply snobbery, nothing does.

GQ’s assault on our reputation would have been easier to stomach had it not mischaracterized our culture so horridly. For example, the write-up attacks our usage of highbrow, esoteric language to describe everyday things, such as saying “the Lawn” instead of “the quad.” (What the hell is a quad?) However, it erroneously implies that we insist on referring to the Civil War as the “War Between the States.” That accusation is borderline offensive. Everyone knows that the Civil War should only be called the “War of Northern Aggression.”

In a final crack at blasphemy, GQ suggested our football fans are soft and just sit around drinking mint juleps in the stands. This falsity barely merits a retort. Mint juleps are far too difficult to make during a game; students would clearly choose bourbon, peach schnapps or a nice chardonnay instead.

Although GQ missed some of the University’s finer attributes with its rankings, we give it credit for recognizing our charm. Students must take responsibility to ensure a higher douchery ranking in future years. Fear not, founder Jefferson: we shall carry on the glory of our alma mater into the ages. We will not buckle to the forces of social progress. We put the “status” in status quo.

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