Punch Drunk 

Concerning fraternities and butt-chuggery.


Mr. Broughton denies each and every allegation, whatsoever, that has been inferred that he may be a gay man. He is a straight man and he thinks that the idea and the concept of butt chugging is absolutely repulsive. — Lawyer Daniel McGehee defending his client Alex Broughton, a 20-year-old University of Tennessee student and until recently, a proud member of Pi Kappa Alpha, against allegations of "butt-chugging."


The University of Tennessee and fraternity organizations across the world have been rocked by the curious case of Alex Broughton.

On the night of Sept. 21, during a Pi Kappa Alpha party, Broughton was rushed to the hospital with an acute case of alcohol poisoning. After a thorough investigation into the night's events and after what apparently was a much more thorough investigation into Broughton, the university suspended Pi Kappa Alpha's charter because of what officials believed was a violation of anti-hazing policies.

The unofficial charge?


In short (we pray), butt-chugging is the act of using tubing to ingest alcohol into one's rectum. The supposed benefit is that the alcohol bypasses the liver and enters the bloodstream through the mucus membranes in one's butt, delivering a quicker drunk. The downfall is that you have a tube up your ass and a very solid chance of dying from alcohol poisoning.

Broughton — the alleged butt-chugger in question — has been the subject of much ridicule. He's also become the focal point of a media frenzy, the reason for his fraternity being kicked off of campus, the new poster-boy for the ongoing battle to end campus hazing and the recipient of what I can only assume to be a litany of hilarious nicknames — like "Mr. Butt-Chugger." (I suspect and, one would hope, that as time goes by — and for the sake of poor Mr. Broughton — his friends will shorten his moniker to "Mr. Chugs.")

Broughton's plight — especially his adamant denial of gay accusations — is like a scene straight out of "Animal House." But I am not here to poke fun.

Poking guys is so … Broughton.

Now let me continue.

While I understand that most people use this column merely for hamster-cage lining, to cover picnic tables before picking through bushels of steamed blue crabs or as a cheap alternative for toilet paper, I've also been told that some people actually read it. I would guess that many — tens — of these people attended college too. Some of them may have even been in a fraternity.

You see, I myself was the member of a fraternity in college. In fact, I was briefly the president of my fraternity.

The media, close-minded bigots, people who never got bids to become our frat bros and other anti-fraternity group bros have always propagated lies against our system. Accusing us of hazing, of misogyny, of cheating, of favoritism, of elitism, of "gayness," and if discussing a frat from the Southeastern Conference, total racism.

Now, in this final and most blasphemous act of falsification — charges of butt-chuggery.

My people always have been much-maligned, and this portrayal of our system brings back memories of a time when I was unjustly persecuted and unfairly removed from my fraternity over bogus allegations.

As fraternity president I was in charge of our finances and more importantly, the "executor" of the bank account and sole owner of our fraternity charge card.

I say this with a misty eye and a heavy heart, but two months into my tenure I was "accused" and technically "caught" running up various bar tabs for myself, taking girls on dates, purchasing a new alternator for my Ford Taurus and renting strippers for a fraternity function in lieu of paying our yearly fraternity insurance premiums, all on the fraternity dime. Obviously these were expenditures that took precedence and could not be avoided.

Forced to step down after word of my alleged "transgressions" came to light, my life was left in shambles. Shamed on campus and in our small college town, I was forced to graduate with a bachelor of arts degree shortly thereafter and look for work in the real world.

I too know the slings and arrows of injustice.

Broughton may or may not have been forced to butt-chug. Hell, he may have willingly butt-chugged. But Broughton broke no laws. He hurt no other human beings.

So before you go around blaming fraternities for the ills of the world and butt-chugging, I implore you to take a look at yourself. Are we really that different? Is anyone really better than anyone else in this hardscrabble world?

Now ask yourself this: Have you in a moment of weakness not at least considered the rectal consumption of an entire box of Franzia?

Look deep.

A little deeper.

Slightly further.

OK, that's deep enough.


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