College
by Andy Moore on May 5, 2014

slut-shaming-preaching

Two weeks ago, I went to the University of Arizona as part of a promotional thingie for the movie Neighbors. It was fun. The campus was beautiful. The weather was 80 degrees and sunny. Everyone was attractive, to the point that the college seemed a bit like The Stepford Wives: Back to School. I’d classify things as “ideal.”

My first stop on the tour was to stand behind a few of the film’s stars as they signed autographs. This attracted a crowd I don’t think even they expected—over 1,000 people, nearly all girls, wrapped around a grassy quad and standing patiently to take a #selfie with Dave Franco. It was quite a scene.

Walking around this pleasant hoard, completely unbothered, was a bearded dude with a poster that read “YOU DESERVE TO GET RAPED.” He freely held up his message while yelling at the 18 to 21 year-olds dressed in short-shorts and tank tops, and no one, to my surprise, paid him much mind.

I’ve seen videos of how the Westboro Baptists are handled when they crash events. It’s not pretty. How the hell did this troll get a free pass? Was this some sort of ill-advised art experiment?

Well, no. It turns out the bearded man is an infamous figure on campus—and an active student, no less, who, like the WBC members, has managed to gain renown by drawing attention to his twisted Biblical message. As explained to me by a couple of students I finally talked to, the guy preaches a perverted philosophy of hate and slut-shaming, centering his own virginal anger at anyone who is having sex. (He truly believes women who are raped “deserved it,” and he, of course, has some fiery judgements for Muslims and gays and anyone else who doesn’t strike his fancy.)

Vice interviewed the self-stylized preacher, “Brother Dean Saxton,” as he made his rounds recently on the Tucson campus. Some of the things he yells are so ridiculous you think he’s parodying old-time religious folks—there’s a moment where he screams at a girl for showing a “camel toe”—but Brother Dean makes it clear that he means what he says. The man is truly chock-full of misguided conviction.

 

Anyway, kudos, I guess to the Wildcats for taking the idiocy of one of their own in stride. Every student I talked to shrugged Brother Dean off. He wasn’t a big deal.

And I suppose this isn’t that hard, actually, when you’re enjoying life on a nice Tuscon day and the man yelling at you for “watching too much pornography” is sweating and and crazed and furious for no reason. An ultimately sad shell of a kid.

Andy Moore

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