December 5, 2014

"Who Gets Kissed?"

"Researchers at UW-Madison developed a new sweet corn variety coined 'Who Gets Kissed?'..."
The breed’s name pays homage to an old tradition where communities would come together to husk corn and dance, according to the release. When a person found corn, they could kiss one other person in the group....
Hey... University of Wisconsin! What happened to yes means yes? Doesn't this "one other person in the group" have significant personhood and bodily autonomy?

From a Civil War discussion group:
I must not forget the ever popular corn husking bees where the finder of the red ear was in great luck, for he or she was privileged to take a kiss from the prettiest girl or the handsomest man there. Let me tell you there was lots of tears shed (in private) and some heartaches caused by the red ear of corn.
From Forgotten Stories:
What laughing and talking and romping, as the dry leaves were plucked from the ear!... What sly jokes went about as to which of the girls the lucky finder would kiss, that being his free full right and privilege; and when at length the talisman was found, what a shout of triumph from the discovery, and what a trepidation and giggling amongst the girls! Our illustration represents a husking party at the moment when the red husk has been unearthed. The gentleman is about to not only claim, but to enforce, his privilege, and, from the expression in the lady’s face, it is not improbable that she fully expected this mark of esteem should the husk be found by this particular cavalier.


Sorry to step on a commercial product of my university, but the name celebrates a tradition of coerced sexual behavior. I know... they landed an ear of corn on a distant comet and I — with no comparable achievements of my own — just want to talk about what shirts they wore.

59 comments:

David said...

" I — with no comparable achievements of my own — just want to talk about what shirts they wore."

"What are you wearing" has its own rapey implications. There's no place to hide.

traditionalguy said...

The restraint on kissing the girls was the old timers aphrodisiac...which brought old Aphrodite's back into harvest festivals.

Puritans meet lusty Wisconsiners. The war goes on.

Laslo Spatula said...

Wouldn't "Who Gets Cornholed?" be more appropriate?

I am Laslo.

Dr.D said...

Why worry about this now? This is from the past, a long time ago.

MadisonMan said...

A good Cornhusker was worth his or her weight in gold. Just needed good powers of concentration and forearm strength. Then automation killed off yet another job.

Now all those former cornhuskers have to be Policemen in New York City where, surprisingly, forearm strength can be useful.

Lyle Smith said...

That scientist is like the coerced woman in the picture. You sir will give our community what we want. Abide!

Gahrie said...

If this tradition had truly been offensive to the women of the community, it would have stopped. The women appreciated the ability to ignore social conventions just as much as the men did.

Why no picture or discussion of the attractive man who is forced to allow the ugly old woman to kiss him?

I know..no one gives a shit about men.

Big Mike said...

I — with no comparable achievements of my own — just want to talk about what shirts they wore.

To be fair, there are very, very few people whose achievements are comparable to Matt Taylor's. But yes, if women can't discuss anything but his shirt, then a reason for their relative lack of success in STEM is immediately suggested.

Can you imagine a conversation between the Curies?

"Zut alors, Pierre! I cannot go forth and discover radium because your shirt, it is too hideous and offends all persons of my gender."

"Ma cherie, Marie, this shirt it is merely in the spirit of fun."

Madam Curie runs weeping from the room.

Original Mike said...

"I know... they landed an ear of corn on a distant comet..."

Huh?

Fernandinande said...

What happened to yes means yes?

My girlfriend went to a Navajo "Squaw Dance" - an "Auntie" can make any man dance with her, and he has to give her money afterwards.

tim maguire said...

I — with no comparable achievements of my own — just want to talk about what shirts they wore.

It seems my version of blogger censored the passage where you called the researchers assholes and brought down the fury of the Twitterverse on them.

BarrySanders20 said...

Lighten up, Frances. Sometimes a kiss is just a kiss.

They wouldn't be a-shuckin' if they feared a kiss at the end.

Alexander said...

I'm all for making institutions live up to whatever standards they insist on lecturing the rest of us about. Which - I think - is the spirit of our host's post.

So yes, UW, why are you promoting historical cis-male white privilege, rape culture, microagression, et al.?

Bill said...

AA: Sorry to step on a commercial product of my university, but the name celebrates a tradition of coerced sexual behavior.
Doesn't attendance at the event indicate a desire to participate in the tradition?

Bob said...

Sigh...I remember the old phrase, "Spend all your kisses". Weren't those the good old days?

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Nothing wrong with a little reminder now and then that, if they wanted to, Men could take and do whatever they wanted (like they do in Islam).

We have only 'agreed' to be civil and respectful.

Women would be wise to remember that, and not overplay the feminist hand.

Original Mike said...

Speaking of Matt Taylor's shirt, the Orion spacecraft is back!

EMD said...

Althouse? You should rename it Steakhouse with all the conservative red meat you're offering up.

EMD said...

AA: Sorry to step on a commercial product of my university, but the name celebrates a tradition of coerced sexual behavior.
Doesn't attendance at the event indicate a desire to participate in the tradition?


She's putting you on.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Bill said...

Doesn't attendance at the event indicate a desire to participate in the tradition?

You must provide affirmative consent before progressing to the next stage of the process.

Michael K said...

"Women would be wise to remember that, and not overplay the feminist hand."

Too late.

"My generation of boys is f**ked," says Rupert, a young German video game enthusiast I've been getting to know over the past few months. "Marriage is dead. Divorce means you're screwed for life. Women have given up on monogamy, which makes them uninteresting to us for any serious relationship or raising a family. That's just the way it is. Even if we take the risk, chances are the kids won't be ours. In France, we even have to pay for the kids a wife has through adulterous affairs.

Ann Althouse said...

"Doesn't attendance at the event indicate a desire to participate in the tradition?"

No. Not if you're in a small community where this is the social life available. There is coercion of a type, not the most forcible coercion, but coercion, similar to the coercion to pray when someone says grace at a family Thanksgiving dinner.

Dewave said...

I thought the president had made coerced kissing cool again?

Hard to blame an ad campaign for picking up on behaviour modelled by the most powerful and popular elected official in the land.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Doesn't attendance at the event indicate a desire to participate in the tradition?"

No. Not if you're in a small community where this is the social life available. There is coercion of a type, not the most forcible coercion, but coercion, similar to the coercion to pray when someone says grace at a family Thanksgiving dinner.


Small price to pay to have the privilege of being female in the Western World.

Again, there are many forms of society that could exist, and ones where the genders are not "equal", as they are not in most of nature, could be prevalent.

I wouldn't rock the boat too much.

We're all still paying dearly for the mistake of the 19th amendment.

Gahrie said...

but coercion, similar to the coercion to pray when someone says grace at a family Thanksgiving dinner.

There's no "coercion to pray" when someone says grace, merely an expectation of quiet respect while those who wish to say grace do so.

Alex said...

Does who can't do(land ships on comets), criticize the shirt.

Alex said...

Time to repeal the 19th amendment.

Alex said...

Ann is getting all social justice warrior-ey this morning. I wonder why?

Original Mike said...

"There's no "coercion to pray" when someone says grace, merely an expectation of quiet respect while those who wish to say grace do so."

Yep.

Gahrie said...

Time to repeal the 19th amendment.

Amen brother.

All four of the Progressive amendments were mistakes. We have already gotten rid of one of them, now it is time to repeal the other three.

Rusty said...

Aw fer chrisakes perfesser. Give it a rest.
If they wanted to be malicious they would have named their discovery-whining c*nt.

Sam L. said...

Our past was Just SOOOOOO Horrible!

mikee said...

Was the participation in the husking forcible? Or did everyone participating know that when a red ear of corn was found, someone (including themselves, possibly) would be kissed?

The tradition is no more non-consensual than a game of spin the bottle.

Pat Moynihan's famous phrase, "defining deviancy down" is not just applicable here to the actions described, but to those who go out of their way to condemn the actions.

Bob R said...

Seems to me it's a standard kissing game like spin the bottle or post office. Participation is consent. Yes, there may be social pressure to participate, but I'll need something more than Althouse's deep knowledge of 19th century rural folkways to convince me it was genuinely coercive.

Drago said...

Was the shirt the "kisser" wearing appropriate and "chick-affirming"?

tim maguire said...

Ann Althouse said...There is coercion of a type, not the most forcible coercion, but coercion,

And then there is the mental anguish of not knowing whether to prepare to be upset that you were singled out as the most desirable woman in the room or upset that you were not.

richard mcenroe said...

Wait a minute... they DEVELOPED a new strain of corn... you mean they MODIFIED an ORGANISM? And this went on at YOUR school?!

richard mcenroe said...

c'mon, Ann, you want to say it. Getting a kiss at a cornhusking party is a MICROAGGRESSION! You should write it up for Rolling Stone.

Rusty said...

tim maguire said...
Ann Althouse said...There is coercion of a type, not the most forcible coercion, but coercion,


Yeah. Forcing a guy to kiss a girl is awful.
Just ask Titus.

Gahrie said...

Anybody else see Rolling Stone's retraction of the UVA rape story?

Big Mike said...

@Gahrie, yeah, I read about it. Now will UVa President Teresa Sullivan formally apologize to the campus fraternity system for her rush to judgement? Not holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

Researchers in the Critical Ag Studies program are developing their own variety, to be called "That's Not Funny!"

MaxedOutMama said...

How about covering the Rolling Stones/UVA recantation to add a touch of gravitas?

traditionalguy said...

You cannot beat hot buttered kisses that start with a red ear and end in a shotgun marriage.

Mary Beth said...

I suspect that the husk of the red corn might not look exactly like the others, maybe a bronze hue in part of the leaves. But, whether obvious or not, which one it was was known to some of the older members of the group who made sure that one person of a current wooing pair (or a flirting pair that haven't reached the wooing stage yet) got the red ear, thus letting the young lovers have an "group approved" public kiss.

They could have named the corn "we know what you're up to and we approve", but that's kind of wordy. Their choice is better.

MaxedOutMama said...

Oh, for heaven's sake. Ann! There was no coercion involved. These were bees, or working parties.

If a woman or a man found a red ear and did not want to participate, she or he could give the ear of corn to another. Married people generally did, if they knew someone who was interested in another:
http://www.enotes.com/homework-help/what-did-red-ear-corn-signify-463080

Furthermore, it was somewhat like a Sadie Hawkins dance, in that a woman could, if bold enough, pick a man and have him kiss her. So it was entirely gender-nonspecific. It was more a way to overcome shyness than anything else, plus put a little excitement into a basically dull task.

I cannot think of a more mistaken ground for cultural angst, except perhaps the Shirt of Gender Disdain.

I am so tired of fainting couches.

Quaestor said...

Yes Means Yes has nothing to with sex other than sexual politics. It's a naked coup against justice and academic freedom intended to demote men to a status of a tolerated minority with second-class academic status, and to elevate "Women's Studies" and its professors to campus dominance.

Quaestor said...

There is coercion of a type, not the most forcible coercion, but coercion, similar to the coercion to pray when someone says grace at a family Thanksgiving dinner.

Whoa! There's no way to know who is praying and who is not; who sincerely petitioning a deity, and who is merely paying a modicum of respect to one's host, a duty any civilized person owes to society. Althouse has pushed the definition of coercion way past the breaking point.

Quaestor said...

I'm going out on a limb and perhaps be banned: A false accusation of rape is a more heinous and damaging crime than rape. "Jackie" of UVA should face a minimum of 65 months of active prison time.

buwaya puti said...

This was just "spin the bottle".
In my old country we had equivalent games.
And it was always the girls who wanted to play. I suspect it was girls that invented it.

BarrySanders20 said...

That's even more provocative as your avatar points his accusatory finger.

Alex said...

No doubt social justice warriors think "spin the bottle" is a tool of the patriarchy and must be destroyed. Little boys pulling the pigtails on girls should be banned as well. Put those boys into concentration camps.

Jupiter said...

Ann Althouse said...
"There is coercion of a type, not the most forcible coercion, but coercion, similar to the coercion to pray when someone says grace at a family Thanksgiving dinner."

Or when ISIS kills your father and brothers and sells you and your mother into slavery.

Jupiter said...

Helen Dragas, a member of the university’s governing Board of Visitors, said Friday that U-Va. needs to continue its focus on preventing sexual assault.

“Despite doubts that have been cast on the Rolling Stone story, we need to keep our eyes on the prize, which is nothing less than zero tolerance for rape,” Dragas said. “There will be time enough to look back and ask hard questions of our administrators about how rapes have gone unreported and unanswered, and I have no doubt our Board of Visitors will do just that. But for now our primary concern must be for the well-being of our students. We need to get this right for them, and do so with no hesitation or concern for image.”

Jupiter said...

Oops. Wrong thread.

walter said...

That's a corny tradition. (Such low hanging fruit, I know)

Rusty said...

I remember, having spent some months in Newfoundland Canada in small villages, that the girls were quite aggressive and complained that the boys weren't. I think this corn kissing tradition is something the mothers invented.

William said...

What about the Puritan practice of bundling. The courting couple laid in bed together. Theoretically one stayed outside of the covers, but they could huddle together for warmth. Talk about rules that are more honored in the breach than the observance. Anyway, Puritans got married young without expensive and ineffective courtship rites.

Smilin' Jack said...

Jeeeezus...is that picture historically accurate? You couldn't coerce me enough to kiss that gargoyle if you held an M-16 to my head. Never mind kissing,how did those creatures ever manage to reproduce? Surely in Wisconsin the men had far more attractive cows available.