Lohse book proposal leaks online

by Zack Doherty | 10/3/12 10:00pm

Three months following the announcement of a book deal with St. Martin's Press, a 69-page PDF file of a book proposal purportedly by Andrew Lohse '12 has been leaked on the Internet. The book, "Party at the End of the World," chronicles Lohse's time at the College, including his arrest for cocaine possession and witness tampering in 2010 and the hazing he claims to have endured as a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

The names of those mentioned in the document are redacted, and Lohse organized the table of contents into the following categories: overview, audience, about the author, about Dartmouth's Greek life, comparison titles, fraternity term glossary, outline and chapter summaries and sample chapters. The author describes the book as both a work of narrative nonfiction and a coming-of-age memoir.

The proposal begins, "Not long ago, I was a coke-addled elitist Dartmouth College fratboy watching my life slip away from me on a tide of cheap beer, vomit and Jim Beam. I got so impossibly far from my humble, conservative middle-class suburban upbringing that a nihilistic alter-ego seemingly overtook who I had been before. I could not stop my identity's disintegration instead, I saw its dissolution as a parable of my generation nearing the end of the world."

The document goes on to chronicle Lohse's life at Dartmouth, including numerous stories involving heavy drug use, criminal activity and hazing in campus fraternities. Lohse describes snorting lines of cocaine off of his fraternity's composite pictures, throwing a chair at a female Safety and Security officer, being punched by the son of a member of the Board of Trustees and being forced to drink alcohol and vomit on himself as part of his pledge term at SAE, among other events.

A link to the draft was released on the website GoldmanSnacks.org, the makers of which claim to be commissioned by "Dartmouth's most powerful secret society." Stating that it disagrees with Lohse's objective of "sullying" the Greek System, Operation Goldman Snacks claims to be "the lone voice in the wilderness crying out The Truth."

Justin Einhorn '14, who interacted with Lohse during Summer term 2011, said he received an email that included the drafted manuscript. Einhorn said that a total of 37 students received the email at around 11 p.m. on Oct. 2 from an unfamiliar source by the name of Goldman Snacks.

The email said that the 37 were chosen because they were deemed the "most influential people at Dartmouth," reportedly determined by a series of algorithms monitoring Facebook, Blitz, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

"I honestly am unsure about the means Goldman Snacks' took to select the recipient list," Einhorn said. "I don't know how valid the description is, and it again makes me question the identity of the source. I don't know how one goes about performing algorithms on my social media sites to place me in this category, so I would assume it is someone I know."

Einhorn said he immediately forwarded the email to five of his closest friends to ask if they had also received it. While he does not know anyone else who received the message, Einhorn said he thinks others who were sent the document likely also exchanged it, furthering the manuscript's spread.

The Goldman Snacks site contains options for "reputation protection" in the event that students are concerned about their names appearing in the printed version of the book.

A female member of the Class of 2012, who asked to remain anonymous due to the nature of her relationship with Lohse, said she believed that Lohse was motivated to write the book to make his name known and improve his chances of having a successful writing career.

"The narrative is pretty candid in some parts, though it is certainly hyperbole in others," she said. "I think he's an opportunist who is trying to make something out of a really negative situation. Condemning Greek life was just a huge scapegoat, because so many go through this process like this each year, and very few exhibit such destructive behavior."

The FAQ section of GoldmanSnacks.org claims that Lohse made "numerous attempts to obtain a tap" from members of the society behind Operation Goldman Snacks, who purportedly leaked the draft.

In the proposal, Lohse indicates that he wanted to receive a tap for Gryphon Senior Society. Representatives from Gryphon denied any connection to the website and denied having access to the book proposal.

Lohse also wrote in his proposal that he "leaked an unedited first draft" of his Jan. 25 opinion column to an alumni-run blog about the College, which published the column prior to its publication in The Dartmouth.

Amy Winograd '13, who interacted with Lohse casually in various settings, said that Lohse's misrepresentation of his background degrades his credibility and reveals a lack of perspective.

"To say that Lohse's description of himself is misrepresentative or sensationalized is perhaps an understatement," Winograd said. "As someone who knows New Jersey suburbia, I was a little baffled by his allusion to a seemingly rags-to-riches narrative. New Jersey suburbia is humble, only if your conception of privilege requires a trust fund and a yacht."

Whether or not Lohse's claims regarding hazing at the College are exaggerated or even distorted, they highlight critical problems at Dartmouth that must be addressed, Winograd said.

"While I think we should refrain from shooting the messenger, I think it's best we forget him and instead focus on the message," she said.

Lohse and members of SAE declined requests for comment. Saint Martin's Press did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

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