The Order of the Arrow FAQ

My anti-Order of the Arrow screeds are attracting attention again, which always brings a smile to my face. The fact that my rantings exposing the secret society of pimply adolescent faux Indians in loincloths are listed as the highest ranked hit on certain O of A Google searches is the greatest possible revenge for my scarred adolescence that I could ever possibly have imagined when I was futilely trying to boil an egg in a Dixie cup to keep from starving during my Order of the Arrow “ordeal.” I figure the misleading title of this post ought to bump up my Google rankings for even more OA information inquiries.

Today’s bit of bile comes courtesy of “your a wuss,” which surprises me, because I didn’t think anyone knew about my a wuss. Bask in his Baden Powell-inspired wisdom:

This is about the most ridiculous post I’ve ever read in my entire life! I’m am Eagle Scout, Brotherhood Member, and currently an Assistant Scoutmaster. I have been a Boy Scout since Aug 8, 1992. I could go on for days talking about how much of a wuss you are but I’ll make it short and sweet. The Order of the Arrow is a selection of the most elite scouters and campers and if this is the story or your Ordeal then apparently you were chosen by mistake. For you weren’t even worthy to have seen and heard the things you learned absolutely nothing apparently you don’t even understand what being a Boy Scout even is. I’m sorry for whatever Scoutmaster had to deal with your pink panty whiny tail. I feel terribly sorry for whatever Klan leader had you on that ordeal. Shame on all you ppl who put down Scouts and the Order! I bet Baden Powell would completely

I bet he would completely over, too.

With only one exception, every defender of the Order of the Arrow that has taken me to task for my subversive perspective on their quaint little club has resorted to childish insults, most of which include the subtle – and often not so subtle – bashing of gay folks. How else to interpret “your a wuss” and his loathing of my “pink panty whiny tail?” Now that I think about it, what is he doing looking at my tail in the first place? Methinks the homophobe doth protest too much.

But, yes, there was one exception, and here it is – a comment from a guy named Randy Cone, who expressed his reasonable defense thusly:

It’s quite possible to make elementary school sound like a bizarre form of torture as well, if you word it just right. Just because you don’t agree with the beliefs of an organization doesn’t mean you need to make it out to be an evil group. I’m sure you’d be just as resentful if someone targeted something you believed in.

Indeed I would, as regular readers of this blog can confirm. And while I appreciate the reasonable tone of the criticism, I think it misses the point entirely.

The problem is not that I “don’t agree with the beliefs” of the Order of the Arrow. Other than their unnatural loincloth fetish, their beliefs remain a mystery to me. For all I know, they believe that the evil emperor Xenu corrals dolphins with unicorn horns in honor of the Cosmic Feast of the Rainbow Sherbet.

And you know what? I’m so unbelievably cool with that.

Believe what you want. I don’t care what you think; I care what you do. So my problem is not with what the organization believes; it is with how the organization behaves. And, regardless of its supposedly noble and honorable pedigree, history, and reading materials, it behaves badly.

Very badly.

Randy Cone compares my take on the O of the A with a warped recounting of the tortures of Elementary School. Not that my grade school experience was all sunshine and lollipops, but that frame of reference doesn’t really help his argument.


What would happen if my second grade teacher banished me to sleep unprotected in the woods in subfreezing temperatures? Wouldn’t the Federal Government swoop in and close any school down that was forcing its student body to dig ditches for fourteen hours in silence, feeding them nothing but a carrot and a gumdrop? If any teacher had smacked me in the back of the head for opening my eyes while being dragged on a rope line to a cryptic rendezvous with Iron Eyes Cody, how long would it take the ACLU to file the lawsuit?

Tell me again why I’m supposed to treat the Order of the Arrow with respect?

I know some disagree, and some have had positive experiences with these guys, and that’s all kinds of nifty. Better them than me. For my part, I refuse to honor any organization that ritualizes bullying, inculcates authoritarianism, and institutionally rewards cruelty.

But that’s just my own personal pink panty whiny tail talking.

Hitler Cornell
The Dark Knight Rises

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