November 15, 2006

Swarthmore, conquering heteronormativity with pornographic chalkings.

That's what some people think:
At Swarthmore College, the first day of Coming Out Week each fall dawns reliably, the first light falling on sexually explicit messages chalked on campus sidewalks by gay student groups the night before. It is a tradition, organizers say, meant to facilitate free expression among gay students and encourage all students to question the reigning “heteronormative” culture....

Among the most controversial chalkings were a “cartoonish” depiction of a female with a “strap-on” device engaged in a**l s*x with the caption, “A**l S*x is for Everyone,” and a drawing of a vagina on the patio of the college’s dining hall that was intentionally washed away, said Tatiana Cozzarelli, a junior at Swarthmore and one of the organizers of the National Coming Out Week activities...

“There’s not one message of the chalkings. But some of them challenge heteronormativity and make straight people think about their sexuality in a way they often haven’t in the past.”...

Students counter-chalked following the original chalkings, and after a rain, gay students chalked again, Westphal said — an escalation of a “chalk talk” that hasn’t been seen in previous years. Cozzarelli said many gay students were disappointed with the counter-chalking, feeling that they had one week per year to express their voices, “not to create a dialogue of voices of people who aren’t normally silenced on top of the chalkings of people who are silenced.” One of the counter-chalkings, “Why don’t you shut the f**k up already?” was particularly upsetting, Cozzarelli said, as it “contributed to this norm of silencing queer people.”
Well, at least they're having a dialogue.

IN THE COMMENTS: Ron says something especially funny.

Palladian finds reason to exclaim "Geez, aren't there any gay boys at Swarthmore?" and says:
May I, once again, register my extreme irritation at the term "heteronormative"? Not only is it an ugly "word", but it's expressing a stupid concept. Of course heterosexuality is "normative"! If these silly queer club kidz (who, no doubt, consider themselves members of the "Reality-based" community) spent less time chalking strap-ons and taking Peace and Gender studies courses and more time studying biology, they'd understand that reproduction is a biological imperative and is naturally the primary focus of all life. There's nothing discriminatory about this, and nothing that can or should be changed. It doesn't invalidate the people who aren't geared toward the opposite sex.

What any marginally intelligent person with an "activist" streak should be focused on is constructive changes to public policy, not "challenging heteronormativity" or silly pseudo-psychological street theater that does little but annoy and disgust people who have more important things to think about. And if you can't stop doing this sort of thing, don't be so damned serious about it for God's sake! Becoming self-righteous about someone defacing your chalk pussy drawing makes you look both humorless, naive and, above all, stupid.
Ernst brings up Tom Wolfe's "I Am Charlotte Simmons":
As I recall the story was that gay students chalked explicit drawings, and the campus maintenance workers erased it because they believed it was anti-gay. Of course the campus gay groups demanded an apology for the insensitive and opporessive erasure of chalk drawings.
Ha ha. Perfect!

113 comments:

Tim said...

And who says homosexuality is about more than sex...?

Lesbian anal sex with a strap-on. Hmmm. Good thing these girls went to college to learn something enlightening. I'm sure their parents feel their money is well spent, indeed.

SB said...

Silenced? Weird. Plenty of gay/lesbian stuff on TV. Plenty on the Internet. Gay Pride parades. Queer studies on campus. Boys Don't Cry on Brokeback Mountain. Elton John gets married.

Yep, the repression is truly underwhelming.

MadisonMan said...

Cozzarelli said many gay students were disappointed with the counter-chalking, feeling that they had one week per year to express their voices

I didn't realize Pennsylvania law muzzled gay students 98% of the time.

mikeski said...

Lesbian anal sex with a strap-on.

Ann refused to link to the YouTube video because of her blind Rethuglikkkan support of heteronormative silencing of zzzzzzzz...

Derve said...

But Tim: How do you know she was a lesbian?
"Anal Sex is for Everyone"

Slac said...

It's unfortunate, but most conservatives prejudice gays for "being in the face of everybody."

They could care less about what gets them off in bed. Indeed, they will be annoyed. They think it's akin to straight people saying, "I like leather whips."

It's hard to blame them. Sex is supposed to be intimate and private. It's uncomfortable to have straight sex shoved in your face too.

Freeman Hunt said...

Why would any sane person think that pornographic chalkings effectively combat heteronormativity? Isn't that a lot more likely to make people think, "What a bunch of freaks. What sort of person draws nudie pics all over the quad?"

If I were gay, I'd want nothing to do with these chalkings.

George said...

The people who drew the pictures are cultural terrorists. Fear and disgust are their bombs.

A story on NPR a day or two ago celebrated the benefits of attending college via on-line lectures, chat rooms, and coursework. It said learning through that method was actually more demanding than sitting in lecture halls. Probably a growth industry.

alkali said...

Timothy Burke, a professor at Swarthmore, had some thoughts regarding this issue that are well worth reading.

Al Maviva said...

Oh, stop it. You all are just prejudiced against The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name Over and Over and Over and Over and... HEY! LOOK OVER HERE! IT'S GAYNESS! WHY AREN"T YOU LOOKING AT THE LESBIAN ANAL STRAPON SEX PAINTINGS? WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU? DO YOU HATE GAYS? BIGOT! HATECRIME!

SteveS said...

Wow, I must be officially "old" now, because the notion of sexually explicit chalkings as a way of promoting social change seems, um, stupid.

Also, this nonsense about feeling like you only have one week a year to express yourself. Try just being true to yourself all the time, and maybe you'll stop feeling the way. (I write from the possibly erroneous assumption that students don't require the creation of sexually explicit imagery as a necessary component of expressing their voices.)

When I was a gay person in college 20+ years ago, you genuinely did have to worry about expressing your sexual orientation (if you were gay, that is), because a violent reaction wasn't so impossible. While it's still not a nonexistent possibility, alas, somehow I doubt that's a common result at today's Swarthmore. And if you can't deal with somebody saying mean things to you, try toughening up--that hardly qualifies as voice-muffling.

Lastly, the idea that coming out week is expressed via sexually explicit drawings is the exact OPPOSITE of the message they should be promoting.

Tim said...

"But Tim: How do you know she was a lesbian?
"Anal Sex is for Everyone""


Right. Even Lesbians. Who, as the story about National Coming Out Week (applying to homosexuals, I think...) says, "...depiction of a female with a “strap-on” device engaged in anal sex with the caption, “Anal Sex is for Everyone,”..." for, presumably, anal sex with another female. Although I'll concede your point, despite my utter unfamiliarity with the practice, that the artist might have missed the point about National Coming Out Week and the female could very well have been having anal sex with a male, or a goat, even.

Thomas said...

The chalkers are just kids looking for attention - best thing to do is ignore them and their giant chalk vaginas. There is a great horror movie in here somewhere...

Signed, middle-aged gay curmudgeon.

Old Dad said...

"Heteronormative," what a hideous expression.

Human beings are normally heterosexual. Homosexuality is abnormal. And yes I know that a certain female radio personality was nearly lynched for saying so much.

Some homosexuals refer to themselves as "queer," i.e., not normal.

Of course, the term has explosive connotations, but it means something, and it doesn't help to pretend otherwise.

I am quite tall, abnormally so. Airlines and clothing manufacturers discriminate against me. I get odd looks--perhaps, having nothing to do with my height, but what good would it do to rail against our shrimperonormative society, and to draw chalk figures on the sidewalk of giants looming over the averagely sized?

Paul Zrimsek said...

and a drawing of a vagina on the patio of the college’s dining hall

Step on a crack, break heteronormativity's back.

ignacio said...

Actually, there's a fair amount of strap-on activity wherein females sodomize males. I have a good friend who mostly calls herself bisexual who seeks young males as strap-on sexual partners (though she also has relations with women).

My sister is gay, and in conversation with her lovers I've been surprised at how much penetration evidently takes place these days in lesbian sex. Dildos, vibrators, vaginal and anal, plus fisting.

All of the above is considered "vanilla" sex.

Les said...

Well put, Freeman & SteveS. This sort of thing does more to discourage "dialogue" than facilitate it. And it's sad to see this kind of thing - used to be, I'd get frustrated with conservatives who reduced gay people to nothing more than gay sex - now it's the "progressives facilitating dialogue and fighting heteronormality" or whatever they're calling it nowadays that frustrate me, because they're doing that exact same thing - hey, we're gay so we think anal sex is for everyone! Woo hoo! It's like they WANT to annoy people - how exactly is that supposed to facilitate positive change?

It's embarassing to see gay people behaving this way, then complaining that people are just so close-minded. Am I close-minded because I'm gay yet have no interest in anal sex? Silly me, here I thought being out to family, friends, and coworkers, and having the same ambitions any straight guy does was a good way to promote social change, when all along I should have been ranting about anal sex being for everybody! Sheesh - it's really sad to see things like this coming from my fellow gay folk.

Fitz said...

I think this is more than a “chalk talk” non-event.

Typically liberal academics run such events in the early fall. I believe this is to set a tone for the incoming freshmen as to the sense of sexual restraint on campus. I remeber durinf g law-school at MSU, the student paper had some non-news headline about how good sex is for you. It was an obvious attempt to influence young minds just getting their bearings in a new environment.

In Loco Parentis has become just plain loco.

Anonymous said...

The "norm" is that they won't stop talking about being silenced.

Derve said...

So, has InstaPundit linked to this one yet??

Revenant said...

Why would any sane person think that pornographic chalkings effectively combat heteronormativity?

I'd go a step further and say "what kind of sane person tries to combat heteronormativity?". That's like trying to combat blonde hair or dark skin. People are born that way; you're not going to change their nature by arguing with them. Heterosexuality IS the norm, and -- barring some "Forever War"-style genetic engineering program -- it always will be.

Obviously when around 19 out of 20 people fall into one category, other people will be measured by how much they differ from that norm. That's not discrimination or bigotry, it is just common sense.

Slocum said...

Why would any sane person think that pornographic chalkings effectively combat heteronormativity? Isn't that a lot more likely to make people think, "What a bunch of freaks. What sort of person draws nudie pics all over the quad?

Which brings to mind this classic piece from 'The Onion':

Gay-Pride Parade Sets Mainstream Acceptance Of Gays Back 50 Years

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/28491?issue=4228&special=2001

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Summer stock "Vagina Monologues" becomes Swarthmore chalk vagina dialogues.

Now that's progress.

Drew W said...

ignacio:

If you can't provide hypertext links, don't post. Now I'm off to that cold shower . . .

Al Maviva said...

I was waiting for somebody to whip out that Onion article.

Maybe it's because Ann's regulars seem to mostly be really well educated, well bred folks (i.e. civilized) it strikes me that we have a sort of couth way of looking at the world - that there's a mostly public sphere and a mostly private sphere and the two don't necessarily make a good mix. I think a lot of college kids don't get that and probably find it hypocritical ("What are you, ashamed of your body?" "No, I'm middle aged. Wanna see?" "Ick! No! Keep it covered..."), and a lot of academic leaders are entrenched radicals who haven't really gotten past the radicalism of their own undergrad days. The real world doesn't work that way for most of us, so I'm not shocked to see that gay & straight eyebrows go up here; the real world seems to work better when we're not waving our private bits (uninvited) in each other's faces.

I can understand why the Stonewall Riots have an important place in history, the same reason that blacks in Birmingham arming up in the wake of church bombings has an important place alongside Rev. King's nonviolent resistance. But once the revolution is pretty much won, or at least well on the way, the cultural stormtrooper stuff can stop, and should stop if you want to continue to make progress. With this gay and straight stuff, I think it's time to come down off the barricades and talk treaty terms. (This is a lesson that some on the right need to learn as well, I'll note...)

Fitz said...

Although I appreciate the humor of much of this conversation, I really do think this is more serious then first appearances may indicate.

We live in a sex drenched culture, no doubt. However, official sanction by University officials of pornographic art for political purposes definitely helps set/reinforce a tone.
This is an effort at inculcation of a certain sexual libertarian, beyond gender worldview.

Serious social conservatives realize that silly schemes like “hetero-normativity” will soon become/ have become official dogma. The increase in gay “rights” laws make this mind set almost impossible to effectively combat. Consider what one would argue if one wanted to stop this event.

If a child classroom has “Heather has two Mommies” (or worse) on the 5th grade curriculum, what does one say in opposition. Are you going to bring in a copy of Leviticus?

Political correctness is all about what’s NOT said. We have an emaciated and successively marginalized nomenclature for defending traditional morality in the public square.

TMink said...

You guys are missing the point. The gay chalking is just an attempt to catch up with all the straight chalking that happens every other day on campus. Boring, straight, heterosexist porn is scribbled across the sidewalks so that I have to step on missionary position till I want to puke. This is about fairness and equal time. I want to step over some gay fisting for a change.

I mean come on. This is simply vulgar acts committed by undersocialized deviants. They are not deviant in their sexuality, in that they are merely a minority. They are undersocialized in that they do not understand how average straight and gay people think and feel. They do not understand healthy social boundaries and limits. In this they are feral. And elements of the university encourage it.

Trey

Mark said...

TMink wrote:They are not deviant in their sexuality, in that they are merely a minority.

Um, no, they are deviant.

de vi ant  /diviənt/ [dee-vee-uhnt]

–adjective 1. deviating or departing from the norm; characterized by deviation: deviant social behavior.


Homosexuality departs from the norm, therefore is it by definition deviant.

As for the student who chalked "Why don't you shut the **** up already" - I'd like to shake his or her hand. Amen!

paul a'barge said...

norm of silencing queer people

Ah yes, the silencing of gays.

One can hardly hear oneself think over the dull roar of gay people, out and about promoting their lifestyle.

norm of? All rightie then.

chickenlittle said...

ignacio said:

"All of the above is considered "vanilla" sex".

Imagine the chocolate and strawberry (per)versions

MadisonMan said...

ignacio, is it normal in your family for siblings to discuss the intricacies of their sex lives? That strikes me as way too much information sharing.

Maybe I'm an old fogey now -- I do not want to hear about my siblings' sex lives, in whatever flavor those lives are.

Ron said...

and a drawing of a vagina on the patio of the college’s dining hall

Must we slander cunnilingus by associating it with dining hall food?

Pogo said...

Gay Pride students:
It's over. You've won. No one is afraid of you.
I don't want to know anything at all about your mating habits. Really I don't.
Now shut the hell up and go to class.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm an old fogey now -- I do not want to hear about my siblings' sex lives, in whatever flavor those lives are.

Come on, even when I was a young fogey, I had no interest in my siblings' sex lives. You want squicky, that's it.

Joseph Hovsep said...

These chalking kids are taking themselves too seriously, but so are commenters here. Lighten up and appreciate the humor: its chalk drawings of sex acts on a college campus. Its kind of funny and its certainly not the grave threat to society some commenters are making it out to be. And based on some of the comments here insisting that homosexuality is a deviant unnatural freak of nature, I think we need more, not less, exposure to the sexual diversity among us.

Pogo said...

Re: "I think we need more, not less, exposure to the sexual diversity among us"
Good Lord, you mean we have to expect more of this from you?

Can't the love that dare not speak it's name ever shut up?

Jeremy said...

And based on some of the comments here insisting that homosexuality is a deviant unnatural freak of nature, I think we need more, not less, exposure to the sexual diversity among us.

Did you not read that Onion link? Go back, read it and make sure you get to the last paragraph. "I said we need 100 dancers on the Show Us Your Ass float, but everybody insisted that 50 would be enough. Next year, we're really going to give those breeders something to look at."

Michael Farris said...

Wow ... college students doing and saying silly things in the name of what they think is a good cause ...

Who died and made Ann Ric Romero?


for the unenlightened:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ric_Romero

verification: mgenro

Anthony said...

Okay then, I will hereby feel free to surf certain web sites here at work and defend my actions by stating that I am striking a blow against the heteronormative orthodoxy.

Choosing my genres carefully, of course.

Internet Ronin said...

a lot of academic leaders are entrenched radicals who haven't really gotten past the radicalism of their own undergrad days.

There may be something to be said for that. Then again, in interviews conducted at the end of their respective tenures, two former chancellors of the university I attended said their biggest problem with the faculty was dealing with a great many people who obviously had never resolved their issues with their own fathers and were, thus, in a perpetual state of rebellion against anything that reminded them of their fathers, such as authority. Knowing some of those they were talking about, I thought it was pretty funny at the time, and quite perceptive.

Molon_Labe_Lamp said...

All this proves it that political/social movements of all stripes should avoid supporters under the age of 25.

With supporters like these who needs republicans?

Revenant said...

Homosexuality departs from the norm, therefore is it by definition deviant

The word "deviant" is not used in its simple "differing from the norm" sense when speaking of people. That's why we don't say "white people and Christians are deviants", even though the overwhelming majority of the world is (a) non-white and (b) non-Christian.

It takes either an impressive degree of ignorance of the English language or an equally impressive degree of disingenuousness to try claiming that the phrase "homosexuals are deviants" means nothing more than "homosexuals differ from the norm".

Fitz said...

Internet Ronan

“a lot of academic leaders are entrenched radicals who haven't really gotten past the radicalism of their own undergrad days”

My law school’s “Family Law” Department was made up of two lesbians & a Polymorist. (Its actually fair to say they were all both lesbians & polymorists)

Revenant

I also think it’s fair to use the word (as long as its not used as an epitaph) in common parlance the way its used. Typically sexual deviancy of all types, or anything that is not normative.

“The problem with defining deviancy down, is that you cant just make the deviant normal- you have to make the normal deviant.”
Daniel Patrick Monyihan

chickenlittle said...

A telltale sign of the weakness of the hostile gays is their lack of an effective name for their enemy, thus the use of the generic "bigot", a racial epitaph which they are trying to co-opt for themselves. Other worthy causes could at least name their enemies: sexist, racist, fascist, etc.

Why is that?

Because the name of their true enemy is normalcy.

Palladian said...

"Um, no, they are deviant.

de vi ant  /diviənt/ [dee-vee-uhnt]

–adjective 1. deviating or departing from the norm; characterized by deviation: deviant social behavior.

Homosexuality departs from the norm, therefore is it by definition deviant."

So this means that being a Republican in Congress post election is deviant? I guess it depends on what the definition of "norm" is. Since you're Little Miss Merriam Webster, I'm sure you'll provide a definition for us.

"Among the most controversial chalkings were a “cartoonish” depiction of a female with a “strap-on” device engaged in anal sex with the caption, “Anal Sex is for Everyone,” and a drawing of a vagina on the patio of the college’s dining hall that was intentionally washed away"

Geez, aren't there any gay boys at Swarthmore? There probably are, they just didn't participate because they have actual studies and social lives and generally better developed senses of irony than young, earnest lesbians who spend their nights chalking vaginæ in front of dining halls.

But either way, this is just college nonsense. It doesn't actually prove anything about gays, non-gays or otherwise.

May I, once again, register my extreme irritation at the term "heteronormative"? Not only is it an ugly "word", but it's expressing a stupid concept. Of course heterosexuality is "normative"! If these silly queer club kidz (who, no doubt, consider themselves members of the "Reality-based" community) spent less time chalking strap-ons and taking Peace and Gender studies courses and more time studying biology, they'd understand that reproduction is a biological imperative and is naturally the primary focus of all life. There's nothing discriminatory about this, and nothing that can or should be changed. It doesn't invalidate the people who aren't geared toward the opposite sex.

What any marginally intelligent person with an "activist" streak should be focused on is constructive changes to public policy, not "challenging heteronormativity" or silly pseudo-psychological street theater that does little but annoy and disgust people who have more important things to think about. And if you can't stop doing this sort of thing, don't be so damned serious about it for God's sake! Becoming self-righteous about someone defacing your chalk pussy drawing makes you look both humorless, naive and, above all, stupid.

Ernst Blofeld said...

Wasn't it in Tom Wolfe's "I am Charlotte Simmons" that sex-chalking figured? As I recall the story was that gay students chalked explicit drawings, and the campus maintenance workers erased it because they believed it was anti-gay. Of course the campus gay groups demanded an apology for the insensitive and opporessive erasure of chalk drawings.

Wolfe is again ahead of the curve.

Palladian said...

" A telltale sign of the weakness of the hostile gays is their lack of an effective name for their enemy, thus the use of the generic "bigot", a racial epitaph which they are trying to co-opt for themselves. Other worthy causes could at least name their enemies: sexist, racist, fascist, etc.

Why is that?

Because the name of their true enemy is normalcy."

Chicken, darling, since we're being pedantic in this thread, you need to look up the meaning of the word "bigot". It has no specific racial connotations. In fact, it specifically refers (or referred) to religious hypocrites. Something to think about, Petit Poulet.

Revenant said...

I also think it’s fair to use the word (as long as its not used as an epitaph) in common parlance the way its used. Typically sexual deviancy of all types, or anything that is not normative.

You make no secret of the fact that you consider homosexuality to be bad and consider homosexuals to be fully deserving of the moral condemnation inherent in the use of the word "deviant". That is an appropriate use of the word, although obviously a misguided one in the opinion of enlightened people.

I was simply taking issue with people who refer to homosexuals as deviants and then innocently try to act like they weren't making a moral judgement.

Internet Ronin said...

Petit Poulet LOL! (Oh damn, all over the keyboard again.)

Revenant said...

thus the use of the generic "bigot", a racial epitaph which they are trying to co-opt for themselves

Your attempt to play the dictionary game would be more impressive if you knew the difference between an epitaph and an epithet. In any case, as palladian noted, the term "bigot" is not now, and never has been, exclusively used to refer to racists.

chickenlittle said...

Palladian,
Thanks for the slap down. But my point still stands.
Bigot is a generic term. Where is the equivalent to racist, sexist, fascist?

Internet Ronin said...

ernst: You mean this is nothing more than yet another case of life imitating art? I am disappointed. I thought the whole thing was terribly original. Sheltered life, I guess.

Fitz said...

Revenant
"You make no secret of the fact that you consider homosexuality to be bad and consider homosexuals to be fully deserving of the moral condemnation inherent in the use of the word "deviant". "

Carefull.

I do not in fact consider "homosexuals to be fully deserving of the moral condemnation inherent in the use of the word "deviant"."

Not in the least actually. I feel that the concern over homosexuality as a practice is overwrought. Furthermore, I believe homosexuals suffer under social disapproval in a way that is disproportional and morally wrong.
Our society mainly suffers under the (now normative) deviancies of fornication, adultery, pornography and androgyny. These are my main and foremost concern.

SteveS said...

Oh damn, all over the keyboard again.

Careful, this might have a different connotation in this thread.

Pogo said...

I wonder if prospective studnets and their parents get to view the chalked strap-ons and images of buggery during the campus tour?

What a great recruiting tool: Parents! Give us your kids, and in 4 short weeks, they'll be fisting for Facebook!

Does anyone else see signs of the decline of Western Civilization in this garbage, or am I being over-sensitive again?

Fitz said...

Pogo
“Does anyone else see signs of the decline of Western Civilization in this garbage, or am I being over-sensitive again?”

Yes and No. In my opinion (and many others throughout history) sexual decadence is equated with civilization decline. Along with a host of other factors. (Which can be seen to be prevalent)
I find it particularly disturbing given the age and maturity of incoming freshmen who have to see this. So early in the semester. In my worldview, college authorities should be acting “in loco parentis” & helping set a tone of courtship NOT vice & license.
Heaven help the young, virginal boy or girl who wants to find a husband or wife in today’s environment.

Internet Ronin said...

Pogo, they are college students, after all, going through the anti-authoritarian rebel phase. Nothing highly unusual about this, really. I doubt most of the parents or prospective students care one way or the other. Most wouldn't even notice the drawings unless someone pointed them out.

"Tempest meet Teapot. Teapot, have you met Tempest before? I'm sure you'll be great friends before the term is over."

Internet Ronin said...

SteveS: You are bad, very bad.... Oops, let me rephrase that. Oh, I give up! Never mind.

Fitz said...

Internet Ronin
"Tempest meet Teapot. Teapot, have you met Tempest before? I'm sure you'll be great friends before the term is over."

I think it’s more indicative than causal.

Goes to the overall environment regarding human sexuality.

Michael Farris said...

"or am I being over-sensitive again?"

.... again???

Joseph Hovsep said...

Petit Poulet: Bigot is a generic term. Where is the equivalent to racist, sexist, fascist?

homophobe

Pogo said...

Re: "Pogo, they are college students, after all"

So, anything goes? How about live man-on-man sex in the quad? Public masturbation in the Admin building? Why not? It's a teapot tempest!

Did college students in 1954/'64/'74/'84/'94 draw women with dildos engaging in anal sex? Why not?

Is "they're college students" just today's "boys will be boys"?

Do college students also get to forego cultural rules and local ordinances against nudity, violence, public intoxication, public urination/defecation, and vandalism as well? Why not? They're college students.

Do you want your own daughter's photo, drawing the girl-phallus pic, emblazoned on the student newspaper freshman year? Why not? It's transgressive!

chickenlittle said...

"homophobe"

about as catchy as heterophobe.

You can do better

Derve said...

Let's nobody tell poor Pogo about cellphone cameras, YouTube, InstantMessaging, or Facebook and the potentials for exploitation. He'll want us all on lockdown.

Revenant said...

"You make no secret of the fact that you consider homosexuality to be bad and consider homosexuals to be fully deserving of the moral condemnation inherent in the use of the word "deviant".

I do not in fact consider "homosexuals to be fully deserving of the moral condemnation inherent in the use of the word "deviant"."

I stand corrected. You do make a secret of it -- you just do a really, really bad job. Reading your many posts here on the subject of homosexuality it had honestly never crossed my mind that you were trying to hide the fact that you look down on homosexuals.

Internet Ronin said...

I saw some pretty raunchy drawings on the walls of the drive to where I went to school. Some lasted all quarter. Don't recall what they depicted.

But, really, if you are so offended, you are free not to step foot on the campus of Swarthmore, and are free not to pay for your child to go there. But, Swarthmore is a private college and how they operate their college is none of your business (or mine), and what happens on their private property is their business entirely, within the scope of the law (public sex on private property is usually prohibited by law). As for the picture in the school paper, we have libel laws in this country, so, unless she posed for the picture or signed an authorization for its publication, it would be actionable.

As to whether all this is too much for young minds, well society sets the rules and age 18 marks adulthood. 18 year-olds are fighting in Iraq. If the average student is too fragile for this, everyone of college age in Iraq probably ought to be brought home because they obviously must be incapable aren't capable of dealing with that.

Derve said...

Pogo: You should read Richard Farina, as Gnossos Pappadopoulis, Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me.

Pogo said...

Re: "But, really, if you are so offended,..."

I'm not offended. Dispappointed, not offended.

People have become such pigs. No self-pride, no mystery, no humility. And more like animals than young men and women. Is this higher education? This garbage?

When did liberty fall to mere libertinism? When did the unrestricted lowest common denominator become the gauge of freedom? When did 'college student' come to mean administration-approved cultural anarchy?

As I said, I find this sad, depressing even, this race to the bottom.

Pogo said...

Pun intended.

Jeremy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ignacio said...

I got jumped on a little while away. Someone said "Don't post if you can't provide links." Well, I wasn't talking about a Lifestyles article I read somewhere, I was accurately relating things I know from three different sources with whom I've had a number of conversations about current sexual practices.

None of these was my sister, although she does happen to be gay. I said I had had conversations -- extensive conversations, by the way -- with two of her lovers, as well as with a 23 year old bisexual woman with whom I am good friends (who is not and never has been or will be a sexual partner).

I find it interesting that there is so much sex featuring penetration among lesbians. The subject has come up when Andrea Dworkin has been discussed, as she once famously said that all hetero sex featuring male penetration is rape.

It seems to me that there's quite a contradiction between that line of thinking and the sexual practice of many if not most lesbians these days.

I also know a 28 year old hetero girl who has buggered at least one boyfriend with a strap-on. She told me that she could never look at him the same afterwards.

When the imams look at sex roles in Europe and America and deem us decadent I think they have a point. They're not actually stupid. I deplore their solutions but what with the divorce rate and the plunging birth rates and so many subjects being impossible to discuss to say we don't have some problems is absurd.

Some of the most colorfully tattooed, pierced slackers actually agree. Many are very well aware that the activists are nuts.

John said...

I thought that doing annoying and dumb things was part of being college aged and full of fire to change the world. Really, folks, get a grip.

I would observe, though, that straight people are really amazingly blind to how loud they are about their sexuality, pretty much all the time.

Internet Ronin said...

Yes, Jeremy, I agree.

Good one, Pogo.

(My uninformed answers to your questions:
No, not higher education, just one piece of the puzzle of life in 2006.
Most would probably say about 45 years ago, but I don't know. (The 20's were pretty raunchy)
With the advent of universal suffrage, most likely.
Probably around the time some students started bombing and torching campuses. BWDIK?

Joe Baby said...

How Swarthmore sucks $43,532 per year out of such idiots is a story of true genius.

Juliet said...

Quite off topic: The confusion of the words "epitaph" and "epithet" reminds me of an article in our college newspaper that described someone as "hurling epitaphs." Ouch.

Cedarford said...

A student, responding to the article Ann linked said it well:

One of the more infuriating aspects of all this is that the same people who argue that “anything that sparks dialogue is a good thing” also use the “shut up, you ignorant homophobe” defense against those who object. One may conclude, then, that anything that sparks dialogue is GOOD, but it’s BAD when people actually take your bait and engage you in dialogue. Unless, of course, we switch our conception of “dialogue” to the version favored by most Official Multiculturalists: the one where Diverse People level endless abuse at Non-Diverse People, while the latter group nods and tries to look sufficiently ashamed.

The chalkings are simply a "We're Here, We're Queer, We're in Your Face!!" passive-aggressive game.

The goal is to antagonize and seek a reaction. But on a campus where most are indoctrinated to be hypertolerant, it takes REAL WORK by gay activists to ratchet up the offensiveness until they finally get the "push back" they seek and crave. Then they can seize on the "offense" of whatever pushback they cause - act properly outraged and defiant of such obvious "bigotry and homophobia"...get a few rote apologies - then happily return to classes and buggering one another in their spare time. Then, a year later, the cycle restarts..perhaps a little more offensive.. to provoke the desired reaction of the "straights".

Another student elsewhere commented that if Muslims and others get their image of America from media and multiculti campuses, and the images include substantial decadence and depravity and sinful ways celebrated....one can see where bin Laden and others conclude there is a need to violently expiate the filth offensive to God emenating from our country and washing up on their shores.

Like it or not, what is said and done on our campuses does reflect on America's image abroad. And does generate consequences and does shape the positive or negative views of other people about America......and in most of those lands, even advanced Euro democracies - free speech is just one right that has no "right" to trammel the culture or the state or other equally valuable rights.

At some level, I agree. I would as a hypothetical paying student, like to wake up and have a cha herbal and apple before class without being forced to contemplate a cartoon of two bull dykes with strap-ons penetrating a submissive female displayed on the Student Union cafeteria wall.

Gahrie said...

I do not in fact consider "homosexuals to be fully deserving of the moral condemnation inherent in the use of the word "deviant"."

OK..hold on a minute here. By definition, homosexual sex is deviant.

deviate: to depart from an established course or norm

1) The basic purpose of sex is reproduction. Since homosexual sex precludes reproduction, it is biologically deviant.

2) Even give the most wildly optimistic estimate, the homosexual population is around 10%. That means that the norm for sexual behavior is heterosexual sex, and homosexual sex deviates from this norm. Thus homosexual sex is factually deviant.

For some reason, "deviant" has been given a negative denotation, (similar to "ignorant") that it does not connotate by current society. There is no moral condemnation inherent in the correct description of homosexual sex as deviant.

Your efforts would be better spent trying to argue against this wrong-headed dennotation, than in attempting to argue against something that is factually true.

Fitz said...

Revenant

“Reading your many posts here on the subject of homosexuality it had honestly never crossed my mind that you were trying to hide the fact that you look down on homosexuals.”

Now it’s look down huh? I thought I “consider homosexuals to be fully deserving of the moral condemnation inherent in the use of the word "deviant".”

That’s quite a change in attitude you have toward me.

Is it perhaps the fact that I don’t agree with your worldview that makes you want to consider me some kind of bigot?

Palladian said...

I like El Pollo Pequeño's logic: if there isn't a word for it, it doesn't actually exist!

Joseph, while I appreciate your noble effort to satiate our friend Pullus' vocabulary fetish, I must also register my opposition to the word "homophobe". Ugh! Again, an ugly word, built from a rusty Greek root with "homo" bolted onto it, the prefix equivalent of a lesbian with a strap-on. Here's my earlier criticism of the word (and concept) of "homophobia". I'm not denying that there is animus toward gay and lesbian people, I just don't like bringing the pseudo-psychiatric connotation of "fear" into it. The less off-the-cuff diagnoses that we make, the better our public discourse. If you want to refer to people who are against homosexual behavior, why not call them "people who are against homosexual behavior". If that's too cumbersome, there's always "antigay".

Fitz said...

I believe (as you may be able to discern from my previous posts) that this is ALL about the professors and has very little to do with the students. They are either rubes, useful idiots, or radicalized infants.

Back in 68 when the radical student protesters took over the UCLA administration building, all they could think to do.. (& all they really accomplished…then) was to remove the girls/boys sign from the restrooms & remove the stall partitions.

They didn’t have a revolution, they had an orgy.

Revenant said...

OK..hold on a minute here. By definition, homosexual sex is deviant.

It has already been pointed out that that sort of mindless literalism makes everyone who differs from the majority of the human race -- such as white people, Christians, and Republicans -- a "deviant". Indeed it makes basically everyone a deviant, since virtually everybody differs from most of humanity in some respect.

Sure, we can go around calling gays "deviants", or Christianity a "cult" ("an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, esp. as manifested by a body of admirers"), or Communion "cannibalism", or call celibate priests "sexual deviants", or whatever other asinine insult-disguised-as-precise-language we feel like using. But a bit of honesty about what English words really mean to people wouldn't hurt, either.

There is no moral condemnation inherent in the correct description of homosexual sex as deviant.

The word "deviant", when applied to people, carries with it implicit moral condemnation. That is a fact of the English language as currently (and previously) used.

You might as well argue that "nigger" just means "a black person" (its actual dictionary definition).

Revenant said...

Now it’s look down huh? I thought I "consider homosexuals to be fully deserving of the moral condemnation inherent in the use of the word "deviant"."

"Look down" takes less time to type, and it goes without saying that someone who does the former does the latter too.

You're a homophobe who views gays as inferior to straights, both morally and in other aspects of life such as parenting. These are facts. I just wasn't aware you were trying to deny them.

tjl said...

"If you want to refer to people who are against homosexual behavior, why not call them "people who are against homosexual behavior". If that's too cumbersome, there's always "antigay."

But Palladian, in this age of sound bites, a phrase such as the one you prescribe won't do. The media audience would tune it out before they grasped what it meant. Similarly, your alternate choice, "antigay," lacks that punchy quality needed to resonate on the talk shows. Surely someone with your verbal skill can fashion some new term that can fill the void.

Otherwise, your take on "heteronormativity" and Swarthmore's attack thereon is spot on. How thankful I am that my college days predated chalk drawings of genitals sponsored by the Dean's Office.

Gahrie said...

You might as well argue that "nigger" just means "a black person" (its actual dictionary definition).

Actually, no. Deviant is a precise descriptive word that describes an object or behavior, with a neutral value.

"nigger" is a slang descriptive word specifically invented as a pejorative.

Deviant implies no value judgement, however people who are ignorant as to its meaning may infer one.

Nigger was invented to imply a negative value judgement.

Gahrie said...

By the way, please excuse my ignorance, but when did being heteronormative become a bad thing?

It seems pretty clear to me that the survival of our species requires the majority of people to behave in a heteronormative manner.

Revenant said...

Actually, no. Deviant is a precise descriptive word that describes an object or behavior, with a neutral value.

You're either dishonest or not fluent in English; in either case, your comments on this subject are beneath my further notice.

chickenlittle said...

Revenant said:

'You're either dishonest or not fluent in English; in either case, your comments on this subject are beneath my further notice."

Perhaps gahrie has had some training in the physical sciences, where the concepts "deviate" and "standard deviation" are frequently used without pejorative connotation.

BTW, my preferred nickname is kipje

downtownlad said...

Palladian doesn't really understand the concept of heteronormative. Heternonormative is the assumption that all people are straight.

I actually think that's fine. People can assume that I'm straight (since 90% of people are), just like I assume that most straight people I meet are anti-gay bigots (since 90% of them are).

chickenlittle said...

Sometimes and English word just won't do for those multi word concepts. Instead of "anti-gay bigot", how about the German word "Schwulenhaß" (lit. gay-hatred).

It's even got a nice nazi look and feel.

To get the agent-noun one just has to add an "er" suffix.

Take that you Schwulenhaßer!

Gahrie said...

just like I assume that most straight people I meet are anti-gay bigots (since 90% of them are).

In the days of gay chic, gay sitcoms, gay dramas and gay movies...this is simply absurd.

downtownlad said...

What gay sitcoms and dramas are you talking about? I can't think of any that are on TV right now.

And in the days of anti-gay amendments passing with over 80% of the vote - no - this is not absurd.

downtownlad said...

And college wouldn't be college without PC disputes such as this.

tjl said...

"And college wouldn't be college without PC disputes such as this."

There it is in a nutshell.

However, DTL, Palladian really was correct on the larger issues. Heteros are the vast majority. That's why we have special enclaves like Provincetown, where my partner and I will be this weekend enjoying the blessings of homonormativity.

downtownlad said...

I don't care if people are heteronormative. I see it as an opportunity to insult them and make them feel uncomfortable, pretending I'm offended even when I'm not.

You should try it. It's fun.

Gahrie said...

Anti-gay marriage does not equal anti gay. Especially among those of us who support civil unions. To persist in insisting otherwise is as absurd as saying those who support gay marriage are anti family.

Bruce Hayden said...

A little off the subject, but a question I have had for quite a while. Why does Ann get so many gays and lesbians here on her blog?

I find it an interesting dynamic. As is probably obvious by now, I am a middle aged heterosexual male, who really does not have that many interactions with gays and lesbians in his daily life - except for here.

It seems to me as if maybe 1/4 or 1/3 of the regular posters here are gay or lesbian. And that is all out of proportion to their (your) percentage in the general population, whether that be 10%, 5%, or 2% (depending on your source).

Mind you, this is not a complaint or criticism, but more likely the reverse. I find that it makes the forum more interesting. I am just curious. Thanks in advance for any responses I get.

TMink said...

DTL wrote: "I don't care if people are heteronormative. I see it as an opportunity to insult them and make them feel uncomfortable, pretending I'm offended even when I'm not."

How come? Why? What is the point? Honestly and seriously, I would like to hear your thoughts on why you do this, what you hope to accomplish.

Your posts are thoughtful, a little barbed at times, but then mine can be too. I am curious about the attraction to insultsing people and making them uncomfortable.

I keep trying to write this in a way that does not sound perjorative or insulting, but it is difficult! Please accept that I am not trying to insult you, but I am merely curious and a little confused about this tactic.

Trey

Gary Rosen said...

Years ago SF Chronicle columnist Herb Caen, urbane and certainly no homophobe, had a priceless line that seems apropos here:

"It used to be the love that dare not speak its name. Now it won't shut up."

Ron said...

Gay B-school students resolve heteronormative tensions by selling naming rights to entire College.

"All subsequent chalkings will reflect the new homogedanken of the Nike logo here at newly-christened Swooshmore College," said just-instated Swooshmore President Mars Blackmun, as he was leaving his The Middle East, Who's to Blame: It's gotta be the Jews! lecture.

Nike to offer free "Just Do It" buttock tattoos as an expression of CorporateApprovative solidarity.

Strayhorn said...

This happened at Duke while I was there:

Gay group, at night, paints anti-gay slurs and comments on the bridge between East and West campus, apparently as an example of what they face.

Campus maintenance workers, seeing the comments the next morning, paint over them because they violate the campus hate speech guidelines.

Gay group complains to campus officials that their freedom of expression was being violated.

Campus officials - in their usual manner - punish the innocent: the maintenance workers, who had simply been following their supervisor's orders. A couple were suspended without pay for a few days.

Ad-hoc student group rises up in defense of maintenance workers, most of whom are poor and black.

Campus officials back down. Workers are re-instated, but a "committee" is formed of faculty, workers, and students to "study" all graffiti on campus before it's painted over.

As Dave Barry says, you can't make this stuff up.

Derve said...

The funniest thing is straight college students use the same attention-grabbing techniques.

Remember the bouncy fun house assembled one spring day on UW's campus? The entrance shaped like vaginal lips?

Or the anal encouraging factoids posted, like how many nerve endings can be found in the rectum? I think Professor Althouse commented and took pictures.

Al Maviva said...

I actually think that's fine. People can assume that I'm straight (since 90% of people are), just like I assume that most straight people I meet are anti-gay bigots (since 90% of them are).

Downtownlad, based on comments like that, I think it would be possible to dislike you on the merits, without without regard for your sexual orientation. Consider it a step towards real acceptance - I take no note of your sexual orientation and think of you exactly the way I'd think of somebody who said "90% of Mexicans are lazy" or something similar. Please, no need to thank me. I always try to treat people equally...

Joseph Hovsep said...

Bruce: Why does Ann get so many gays and lesbians here on her blog?

Its an interesting question and one that has occurred to me. Part of it is obviously the frequency of gay-themed posts.

Part of my attraction to the blog has to do with the selection of gay issues and stories to post and comment on. On the surface, they sometimes strike me as being more often set up for criticizing the gay-friendly side the issue (e.g., this story), but discussion of "easy" cases can backfire by tending to bring out the some of the most obnoxious, simplistic and prudish comments from anti-gay voices (e.g., this story).

The diversity, general civility, and humor of regular commenters is also an attraction for me. Some of the most contentious debates in the comments here are among the gay commenters or among the straight commenters so that the debate doesn't reflexively take on a simplistic pro-gay vs. anti-gay dynamic. So, the discussion can be more nuanced, interesting, challenging.

I also like the Professor's sense of humor and irony, which I would vaguely identify as a style that gay men tend to appreciate, but I can't say exactly why that would be peculiar to gay men.

class-factotum said...

Aren't there any virgins in college any more? Male, female, gay, straight? It hasn't been that long since I graduated -- OK, 21 years -- but there were many of us who started college as virgins and actually made it several years before we changed our status.

I am still not sure what is involved with some of the activities that these Swarthmore kids drew on the sidewalk and really, I'd rather not know. I know I would not have wanted to see those drawings when I was 17.

knoxgirl said...

A couple years ago a gay friend of mine forwarded me an article by a gay writer who was complaining about the increasing prominence of gays in entertainment. He took special exception to Queer Eye. If I remember correctly, the argument was that the guys were boring and safe and that gays were becoming too "mainstream."

I emailed my friend back, basically going "WTF? how could the mainstreaming of gays be bad?" He wrote back that he agreed with me, but that there were still a lot of gays who missed the "We're Here, We're Queer, Get Used to It" radicalism, and that was tension in the gay rights movement between the excitement of being perceived as rebellious-- while at the same time the demanding to be treated "like everyone else".

Anyway, in an effort to be in-your-face rebellious, the students in this scenario are doing little more than annoying others on the campus--making it a rather fruitless exercise that falls into the "setting gay rights back" category.

Internet Ronin said...

Bruce Hayden: I've wondered the same thing myself because I didn't come here because Ann discusses gay issues, didn't stay because she does, and won't leave if she stops. And I am pretty sure that there are a number of other self-identified gay and lesbian contributors who feel the same way.

For those whose interaction with gay folks is limited, the disagreements between us, even on issues supposedly central to our lifestyle, must be at least somewhat eye-opening.

This reminds me of another phenomenon I have noted here on more than one occasion: Ann posts a news or comentary item without her own personal commentary and a host of people begin attacking Ann personally, as if the opinion mentioned in the article were hers. Ann has posted such things often enough that one would think that even semi-regular readers would know enough to realize what was going on, but they don't.

Joseph Hovsep said...

I second Internet Ronin's statement that gay issues per se are not central to the gay readers' interest in this blog, though I find them to be among the most interesting topics here. I guess my more primary interest is the light law-politics mix, but that doesn't explain the gay following.

Fitz said...

Revenant

“You're a homophobe who views gays as inferior to straights, both morally and in other aspects of life such as parenting. These are facts. I just wasn't aware you were trying to deny them.”

Well, I think we have the crux of the matter. If I have exposed myself in your eye’s the n I suppose the opposite is also true.

Revenant Believes - If one does not except (1) homosexual sex to be a positive good (2) Maintaining A child’s own Mother & Father as the standard for parenting.

Then one is = “a homophobe” & “a bigot”

Obviously this is the tactic from the beginning. Brand those who disagree with the homosexual agenda to be beneath contempt or serious dialogue.

Well said.

SteveS said...

Why does Ann get so many gays and lesbians here on her blog?

Well, as a gay man, once I saw that pullquote "The Divine Ms. Althouse" at the top, I was immediately hooked. I'm still waiting for the ironically rendered torch songs to fulfill the promise; maybe in an upcoming podcast?

I'm fairly new here, been reading for about a month and commenting only in the last week or two. I like it because I'm interested in politics, and the posts Ann chooses either touch on matters I'm interested in, or inform me about things I might not have otherwise seen (especially good news like chocolate's health benefits).

Also, there are a lot of posts about gay issues (at least since I've been reading). In the past week alone, there were posts about outing, the landscapers who won't work for gays, the UW dean's statement on the marriage vote, and confronting the epidemic of heteronormativity at Swarthmore. (I won't count the post about Chief Justice Roberts being so telegenic.) But they aren't necessarily about the same gay issues I read about elsewhere, so that's interesting. And since not everyone who comments is in agreement about gay rights, there's a liveliness to the discussion of these issues that is often enlightening and only sometimes descends into peevishness and name-calling. It's more compelling to engage with folks that don't always agree; echo-chambers give you a headache.

The commenters are a key reason for reading. There's a broad range of opinions represented, and seemingly a large number of educated, intelligent, and articulate folks on all sides of the political spectrum. Far superior to what I've seen on other blogs.

Edward said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Edward said...

If Ann totally stopped her posts on gay issues, I would certainly stop reading her blog.

I most definitely do appreciate her posts on other, very different topics, however.

Ann is clearly smart enough to realize that gay people are involved in the most important and cutting-edge civil rights movement of the early twenty-first century.

Any intelligent blogger interested in current events would have to post frequently on gay issues.

And for those of you heterosexuals whose only regular interaction with gay people is in the comments section of the Althouse blog, I have this to say, particularly if you appreciate the intellectual value of this interaction: You should rue the day that those anti-gay marriage amendments are passed in your states, because they really will lead to a migration of the most educated gay people away to more tolerant states.

Anonymous said...

Althouse: All gay, all the time.
No heteros need apply.
Edward approved.
Tolerant state ready.

Internet Ronin said...

After that passing flight of fancy, I thought I'd add toss out another idea not limited to the "gay theme" of the thread:

As others have mentioned, it seems to me that there is a pretty remarkable group of "regulars" (and by that I don't mean the ones who post every day) that drop in here and debate/discuss the issues brought up. Remarkable because there are so few places to be found where even the slightest diversion from the accepted orthodoxy is not immediately punished.

To me, that is all to the credit our proprietor, Ann Althouse. There are very view bloggers who genuinely tolerate those who regularly, and sometimes provocatively, disagree with them. Most prefer an echo chamber with one or two token opponents who know their proper place and stick to it. (I know of only two people who have been banned here, both for very good reasons which had nothing to do with stifling legitimate conversation.)

Who knows how many times these comment threads have taken a different direction than Ann intended? (I can only recall one time when she ever said something to that effect.)

At the same time, despite all the mention in political circles of pendulums swinging, anyone who actually owns a pendulum clock realizes that the pendulum does not normally wildly swing from one extreme to the other, but at a measured pace well within the confines of the potential extremes. And that, I think, is true of most of the commenters here: they do not agree on a host of issues, but at the same time, they don't always line up on the same side on every issue, as extremists would (no pejorative intended by using that word).

At the same time, I have noticed that a couple of my personal favorite commenters, Sippican Cottage and Elizabeth, have been pretty quiet lately, and I hope that neither feels unwelcome here for some reason (or unappreciated).

In the end, however, the kudos must go to Ann for having enough self-confidence to "let a 1,000 flowers bloom" without chopping off heads once they do.

Just a random thought on a VERY LONG day.