The New Yorker Bashes Eagle Scouts!

The New Yorker magazine, in an article on Rex Tillerson, notes that The Secretary of State was once an Eagle Scout, and gratuitously describes Eagles as “an elite class of ‘servant-leaders distinguished by obsessive, nerdish attainment.”

Huh?

I am guessing that the peckish author, Dexter Filkins, never made it past Tenderfoot.

To be an Eagle Scout you have to earn twenty-one merit badges (tests of skill) including Life-Saving, Swimming, Camping, and First Aid, subjects that have a few practical uses no matter how old or pretentious you become.

The Boy Scout leaders at Camp Chank-tun-un-gi were usually Eagles as well as, in many cases, well-known athletes in local city high schools.

The publisher who brought out my first best-seller, Going All The Way, added to the bio I submitted for the novel’s jacket copy that I was an Eagle Scout. He evidently regarded it as a notable accomplishment, even for a writer. If Mr. Filkins ever tried Scouting, it’s obvious he didn’t go all the way.

 

 

4 Responses to The New Yorker Bashes Eagle Scouts!

  1. Jack Engledow October 24, 2017 at 12:30 pm #

    Let’s hear it for all us Eagle Scouts and Camp Chank-tun-un-gi (Best camp for Boy Scouts).

  2. Peggy Payne October 24, 2017 at 5:11 pm #

    Eagle Scout is the only childhood achievement that regularly shows up in obits. It’s a large accomplishment.

  3. Norbert Krapf October 24, 2017 at 6:53 pm #

    Glad to be an Eagle Scout and former Indiana Poet Laureate, even though the founder of our Jasper parish and troop was a priest who abused many boys, including myself, as I testified in the poetry collection Catholic Boy Blues and the prose memoir Shrinking the Monster.

  4. David Isaac Tam October 24, 2017 at 8:15 pm #

    I don’t know about Filkins, but sixty years ago, Boy Scouting in the 1950s in Tippecanoe County was not full of elitist nerds, but it wasn’t prestigious in a jock-oriented culture. I found the merit-badge program valuable and some of the skills useful in adult life.

    I recall that Lafayette had only two lower middle-class troops: Troop 14 (Longlois School, older northside neighborhood near Monon Raiload Shops, blue-collar, somewhat Germanic) and Troop 36, Bethany Presbyterian Church, northeastern National Homes subdivision, middle-class and aspirational working class — I and two friends were subsequently National Merit Scholars, nerds for sure but dissed by the jocks). I don’t recall if there were any Catholic-sponsored troops; nor any from upper-middle-class churches such as Central Presbyterian or the Episcopalians West Lafayette had Troop 34 (Methodists), mostly middle-class professorial and business-oriented families One small town to the north, Battleground (as in Tippecanoe), and West Lebanon in Warren County had small church-sponsored troops. Harrison Trails Council (which included several othe counties) held forth for two weeks every summer on Wildcat Creek at Cary Camp. One counselor was busted for photographing some of the cuter boys in revealing poses, but I heard of nothing else that would arouse the ire — certainly not other passions — of the scoutmasters.

Leave a Reply

Dan Wakefield

Dan Wakefield