It Takes One To Know One: Reviewing GQ's "Douchiest College" List
It's probably already been tossed around your House or club list, but if you haven't noticed, the venerable Gentlemen's Quarterly took it upon itself to provide a "heavily researched, possibly stereotypey, but still accurate guide" to America's 25 Douchiest Colleges. Thank heavens someone finally stepped forward to fill this gaping void in the journalistic landscape.
Kidding aside, we at FlyBy took our highly-ranked "Harvard douche" identity to heart, and have combed over the list utilizing our finely-tuned knowledge of douchery. Where did GQ go wrong? Who was left out? And when did they just get lazy? Find out what the douchexperts have to say below.
(As a perhaps-belated warning to our elderly FlyByers, it's nearly impossible to write this post without using the word "douche" over 50 times, so proceed with caution.)
Who Got Tooled?
We begin with an analysis of the schools that didn't really deserve to land a spot on the list. To preface this segment, we'd like to clarify that FlyBy holds itself to the strictest standards of urbandictionary.com style, which generally classify a "douchebag" as a "pretentious, sugar-coated" type of "asshole." GQ seems to have expanded the lexicon for the word to anyone who fits a semi-humorous stereotype its editors have concocted. We respectfully disagree with this method, and thus reject the top-25 ranking of these schools:
- Deep Springs—While they may be douches, these guys worked for two years as ranch hands in the desert. They earned it.
- Amherst—This pick just seems random to us. Did they feel like they needed a liberal arts college and put up the top 10 on a dartboard?
- Colorado—Sure, the students are famous for getting high... but does that make them douchebags? If anything, shouldn't that make them more chilled out?
- University of Phoenix—Does an online college really imbue its students with enough arrogance to make them douchey?
- University of Chicago—Very Nerdy? Check. "Where fun goes to die?" Check. Douchey? Why, because they're smart? Those application essay questions are ridiculous though—the admissions office may in fact be quite douchey.
- Boston University—We live here, and there's nothing that sets BU students apart as more douchey as those from nearby schools like BC or Northeastern. Another puzzling choice.
- Morehouse—GQ's "peek inside" typifies a Morehouse student as someone who is "in the International Leadership Program while also being president of Alpha Phi Alpha while also getting all militant about the white power structure while also promoting a biweekly hip-hop showcase." This pick seems kind of...racist?
- Brown—We guess we should have seen this coming, as being smart (Chicago), liberal arts focused (Amherst), and smoking up (Colorado) are apparently all the ingredients you need to be a world-class douche. But seriously, Brown in the number one slot? Would most people even put them in the top 25? Do Seth Cohen and Serena Van Der Woodsen's fictional college dreams play a big role in the ranking process? Emma Watson is going to Brown; it can't be that bad.
Who Got Snubbed?
Perhaps a better question is which schools really deserved to crack the list, but were left off due to GQ oversight. We're got some ideas:
- Cornell—The Ivy best suited for relegation, Premier-league style, and the students know it. Haven't you ever heard "We Didn't Go to Harvard?"
- Berkeley—If you want to talk militant liberalism, don't talk Brown, talk Berkeley.
- Georgetown—Right, right, we're sure you'll all be Secretary of State or something and definitely not live out a soul-crushing existence as the communications rep for some no-name Representative.
- University of South Carolina—Remember those drunk, racist frat boys in "Borat?" In vino veritas.
- Alabama—Yeah, yeah, we get it, you had a great football team in the '70s. Doesn't make it your birthright to complain about the program at every opportunity until (if?) you win it again. Also, how can you seriously play "Sweet Home Alabama" before the national anthem at football games?
- Yale—We're not saying they beat us, but how could they not crack the top 25? This is the school that produced the Bushes, the Clintons, Kerry, etc. Also, have you ever seen "The Skulls?" Classic bad-but-good movie, plenty of douchebaggery.
Why Was GQ So Lazy?
The magazine seems to have slapdashed a few picks along the way. For example, the selection of Charter College, Wasilla, doesn't really make sense to us. We assume, based on the GQ prediction that students will in 10 years be "Governor of Alaska," that the school is thrown in as a knock on Sarah Palin. But Palin never went there. Is this just fact-checking laziness or joke-telling laziness?
The selection of Bob Jones also strikes us as lackadaisical. Yes, ha ha, it's a highly religious school that used to lack accreditation. But even Al Franken, who visited with the express purpose of making fun of the school, had to admit it wasn't that bad. Halfhearted choice.
Finally, Harvard's (#4) write-up is weak. Incredibly weak. After Arizona State has 20 lines of commentary lavished upon it, Harvard, the Grandaddy of Them All, gets 24 words, total. In fact, here's the whole thing:
In ten years, will be: A Harvard douche.
Douches emeriti: Benazir Bhutto, Lou Dobbs, John Quincy Adams, Mira Sorvino."
We even have to take issue with the "Douches emeriti" picks. Harvard has a nearly endless crop of potential options—Henry Kissinger, Ted Kaczyinski, Jared Kushner, etc.—and we get these four. Benazir Bhutto? For real? Last we checked, Bhutto won an international human rights prize before being assassinated. And she's classified by the oh-so-knowledgeable GQ editors as one of the top four examples of "the Harvard douche." Are they out of their minds? (Mira Sorvino also seems like a pretty random choice, but pales in comparison.)
At least the editors have a sense of humor about the whole enterprise, admitting "we were all kind of douchebags when we went to college." But, in closing, we have to ask, if your full-time job is the type of "journalism" that involves compiling such lists...have things really changed?
(And yes, we understand the irony of spending 1000 words critiquing the list—but at least we don't get paid to do it.)