Get local news delivered straight to your phone

FRIDAY

We can't make City Paper without you

$
$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.

As every conspiracy theorist knows, the Skull and Bones society—an elite group of Yale alumni—rules the world. They control the American presidency in the form of Bonesman George W. Bush. They control major corporations. From the landing site at Roswell to the grassy knoll in Dallas, you can bet the Bonesmen were there. They make the Freemasons look like the Mickey Mouse Club—so goes the theory. In Secrets of the Tomb, Alexandra Robbins, herself a precocious Yale graduate, builds up the legend of the Skull and Bones society only to knock it down. Using historical documents and interviews with anonymous Bonesmen, Robbins illuminates the origins of the society and details its evolution. As it turns out, Skull and Bones is essentially a fraternity, with cheesy initiation rituals, stupid nicknames, and choreographed beer consumption. As the son of a Bonesman, I once visited the group’s private getaway, an island on the St. Lawrence River called Deer Island. There, instead of uncovering the blueprints to the American power structure, I found a bevy of balding dweebs playing volleyball in a dilapidated camplike setting. These guys rule the world? They can’t even keep the weeds off their tennis court. In my experience, and in Robbins’ book, the reality of Skull and Bones makes the legend laughable. Then again, maybe that’s just what they want you to think. The truth is here at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Felix Gillette)