The most curious character to emerge from the Brett Kavanaugh saga is the old high school friend of Supreme Court candidate Mark Judge. According to Dr Christine Blasey Ford, the judge was Kavanaugh’s accomplice in an incident at a high school party in 1982, when she said the two men locked her in a room and turned up the music so that no one couldn’t hear her screaming while Kavanaugh was sexually assaulting her.
As Kavanaugh defended himself against Dr. Ford’s allegations during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, the Washington post judge located hiding in a friend’s beach house in Delaware with a stack of Superman comics. Although the judge keeps a low profile, he left behind a mine of writing and other Internet rubbish to help us piece together exactly who he was.
Turns out he was a guy who really liked swing? So much so that, according to the Washington post, he apparently threatened his editor at Washington City Paper with a deadly hate crime because he ignored Judge’s story ideas about the ’90s swing dance revival. Du To post:
In 1998, Judge wrote an article on swing dance of the 1950s, remembers Brad McKee, the arts editor at the time. But when Judge started more articles on swing dancing, McKee turned them down; the weekly was more focused on the district’s burgeoning punk-rock scene.
McKee said the judge blew him up after the rejections. McKee, who is gay, said the judge sent an offensive email wishing him the same fate as Matthew Shepard, the gay student who was beaten and left to die in Wyoming in 1998.
“He’s showing signs of real hate,” said McKee, now editor of Landscape architecte magazine. “It was one of those rare newspaper moments.”
Other ex-City paper staff corroborated the judge’s email in a story published by the alt-weekly Wednesday. The piece McKee may be referring to is either this brief article The judge wrote a preview of a concert by the swing revival band Big Sandy & the Fly-Rite Boys or this tribute to a place that has disappeared which hosted swing parties. In this last track, Judge comes across as a clumsy jerk. Of PCM:
It often didn’t matter at Twist & Shout. DC’s zydeco family were up against the wall at the club that afternoon, dying in a sweaty frenzy as the sun set over scenic Georgia Avenue. Zydeco dancing requires close contact and a lot of hip action; like a lot of dances, it’s a straight approximation to play bad. At T&S, it was possible to get so close to the group that you could kiss the accordion, there was no tall riser to separate the faithful from the worshiped and I was right in front, dancing with a young girl. woman I had just met who had instantly fallen in love with. I cradled her waist and was so taken I could barely remember to move my feet. I happened to see the drummer as I sank into his neck. Noticing the hips my partner and I had for each other and the hopelessly horny dog-loving look on my face, he gave me a shit-eating smile. Then he winked.
While most of us probably remember the swing revival of the ’90s as something that inspired this boring freshman dorm dude to dress in fedoras and zoot jumpsuits for a few months. after seeing Swingers, Judge was deeply invested in the thriving DC scene. Even though the City paper dismissed his arguments on the booming scene, Judge nonetheless posted his thoughts on JitterBuzz, a still active site devoted to “swing dancing and the retro lifestyle in Washington DC”. The site hosts Judge’s sprawling essay on the intersection of swing dancing, spirituality and sobriety in her life, which ends up looking corny as hell. Here is the introduction:
It usually takes about an hour for this to start happening. Heavy with sweat, I feel euphoric, transcendent with a mystical inner peace. While cradling my partner, I am supernaturally calm and totally at ease with the world. It’s a confident childhood state, as if my ego and its confusion, worries and tangles had drifted out of my body. I am beside myself, filled with spiritual ardor.
No, I’m not talking about sex. The feeling I am describing comes from swing dancing.
What prompts a man to summon Matthew Shepard on a musical trend that gave the world Big Bad Voodoo Daddy? Maybe the answer lies in his 2000 non-fiction book If not this swing: the rebirth of adult culture, in which he credits the revival of swing for inspiring his political tendencies to shift from moderate liberal to right-wing reactionary. It has been mainly criticized for its anhistoric and solipsistic character.
“In these winding pages, Judge counterbalances the masculine chivalry of the swing dance revival with the strolls of Bill Clinton,” we read in particular. savage criticism of Library Journal, “Which he uses to condemn the hypocrisy of liberalism and the bankruptcy of a feminism that encourages disrespect.” Particularly glaring is that Judge uses art largely created by POC to champion regressive neoconservative values.
A Kirkus review of the book summed up Judge’s book as “an ambitious critique of the pop cult that fails because of its determination and lack of humor,” which you probably could have guessed.