The Columbia Journalism Review has an editorial praising the late journalist and author Bernie Lefkowitz, author of “Our Guys: The Glen Ridge Rape and the Secret Life of the Perfect Suburb” (University of California Press; Vintage). Lefkowitz, who died in May at 66, was a decidedly unpopular character in town, and chances are, this homage won’t go over any better.
When Bernie first began visiting Glen Ridge, few would speak with him, lest he stain the good name of their town. But by using several contacts in the town he was able to locate college students who had attended the high school when the crime was committed. Paying his own way, he then visited college kids from Glen Ridge throughout the country, essentially asking them how such a thing might have happened in their town, what it was like growing up there and the social pressures they confronted. He learned about the social lives of teenagers and the subculture of elite jocks and their misguided sense of sexual entitlement. Eventually, with the help of several mothers in town shaken by the rape, he gently led more and more people into discussing the prevailing √¢‚Ç¨≈ìboys will be boys√¢‚Ç¨¬ù attitude and why the onus for the crimes was being cast on one retarded young woman.