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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Boldly Going Nowhere

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Bonesmen and Barbarians

There is a windowless building on the campus of Yale University called the Tomb. It houses a secret society known as Skull and Bones. Founded in 1832, Skull and Bones is basically a private club for people (almost exclusively men) of privilege, many of whom go on to become captains of industry, Supreme Court justices, cabinet officers and presidents.

Each year, 15 juniors at Yale, called neophytes, are chosen to become Bonesmen. They are sworn to a lifetime of secrecy about the organization and must go through a series of bizarre rituals to become members.

Neophytes are required to stand naked, one by one, in the presence of other Bonesmen and recount their entire sexual history. The purpose of such utter nonsense, no doubt, is to compromise the dignity of its members to ensure a lifetime of loyalty to the society. Upon acceptance, neophytes are shoved to their knees and knighted into the group by a Bonesman (representing Don Quixote) tapping the blade of a sword on the neophyte's left shoulder and saying, "By the order of our order, I dub thee Knight of Euloga."

Outlandish ceremonies are commonplace in the Tomb. In one ritual, a woman holds a knife and pretends to slash the throat of another person lying down before her as Bonesmen yell and scream at the neophytes. In another ceremony, Bonesmen wear devil costumes and pretend to perform satanic acts of torture on neophytes who are also required to lie in a coffin at various times.

Death seems to be one of the major themes of Skull and Bones. There are more than a dozen skulls and several coffins scattered throughout the premises. Wall paintings are replete with scenes of death and destruction. There is a bloodied knife in a glass case, and the remains of the Indian chief Geronimo, supposedly stolen from his gravesite many decades ago by Bonesmen, is one of their sacred treasures.

It's difficult to comprehend what sort of twisted individual would even want to be associated with such depravity. Some people will go to extreme lengths to be validated by others.

When John Kerry was a student at Yale, he was obsessed with politics. One student remembers him as "running for president since freshman year." He was an accomplished debater and the president of the Yale Political Union. He styled himself as "John F. Kerry" in those days and even dated Janet Auchincloss, the half-sister of Jackie Kennedy. With such pedigree, Kerry was tapped as a Bonesman.

George Bush also went to Yale. Academically he was only a "C" student and showed little interest in politics. He joined a sports-jock fraternity and became a cheerleader. But his father and grandfather were men of great power and privilege, and they were also Bonesmen. With such pedigree, Bush was tapped as a Bonesman.

John F. Kerry and George W. Bush both became members of Skull and Bones, although in different years, a remarkable coincidence since only 15 people per year are ever admitted into this elite society. Loyal to their oath of secrecy, neither will discuss their involvement with Skull and Bones.

Opinions vary as to the nature of the organization and the impact of this coincidence. Some people view it as merely a harmless activity by college students; a social arena for those who may benefit from the experience.

Others find it far more disturbing. Their antics are infantile, sadomasochistic and downright disgusting. It's a secret society that lusts for dominance and worships death. Its members are ambitious men of wealth and power who help other members reach positions of wealth and power. And once a Bonesman always a Bonesman.

Bonesmen have a lofty opinion of their position in society and strive to keep it that way. They refer to the rest of society as "barbarians." In their elite world, you're either a Bonesman or a barbarian.

In a few days, barbarians are going to elect a Bonesman as their leader.

For many barbarians, the only option is choosing the lesser of two evils.