SL 686

In the New York Times, Jennifer Senior writes, “Read enough stories about the madness whipping through college campuses right now, and you can’t help but wonder if our institutions of higher learning have put the “loco” in in loco parentis.” She’s reviewing a new book by Laura Kipnis, “Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus.”

Senior writes,

Once upon a time, explains Kipnis, female students celebrated their sexual freedom and agency. Today, students and faculty alike focus on their vulnerability. This, in her view, is a criminally retrograde story line, one that recasts women as pitiful creatures who cannot think and act for themselves — and it’s a story they seem to have internalized.

Scary stuff for mothers of boys heading off to college.

Senate showdown over Gorsuch.

College admission counselors are on the hunt for nice people. How can we ruin this?

Dan Drezner has an excerpt from his book (behind the paywall) about the declining influence of academics in public life, as idea influencers. I’m not sure there was ever a time when academics had a big role in shaping the intellectual life outside the university, but I haven’t read his book. I’m more fascinated lately with the impact of non-academics. Love him or hate him, TNC has to be one of the most influential thinkers in the past five years. I’m also fascinated by how much money that guys like TNC make on speaking tours, but that’s off topic.

Advertisements

37 thoughts on “SL 686

  1. It may be scary stuff for boys, but it’s always been scary stuff for girls. So at least the scariness is spread around equally.

    I’m only half kidding.

    1. Your misandry is unattractive. I kind of liked John Roberts’ line: ‘the way to stop discriminating by race is to stop discriminating by race’. So, I substantially prefer the half of you which claims to be kidding.

  2. “College admission colleges are on the hunt for nice people. How can we ruin this?”

    Nice! That’s practically haiku.

    “Scary stuff for mothers of boys heading off to college.”

    Yeah, but that’s partly colleges’ chickens coming home to roost with regard to past coverups.

  3. I suppose she means well. I don’t suppose high school custodians could ever be bribed, could they? NO, perish the thought.

    I had to chuckle at, Until admissions committees figure out a way to effectively recognize the genuine but intangible personal qualities of applicants, we must rely on little things to make the difference. Sometimes an inappropriate email address is more telling than a personal essay. The way a student acts toward his parents on a campus tour can mean as much as a standardized test score.

    I loved campus tours for the people watching. But most of the colleges did not take attendance. So all the parents looking over their shoulders at this moment can calm down.

    And, “inappropriate email address?” Right, so you prefer children who are easily guided by private college coun$elor$ than a more normal teen with a backbone and a sense of humor. Most of our children’s friends had the ability to set up more than one email address, SMS handle, etc. They were also able to change the names on their Facebook accounts, usually to inappropriate collections of words.

    What she really should have said is that on paper, many students look alike, and college admissions officers are only human. Most of the rejections are due to chance, not merit.

    1. Cranberry said:

      “What she really should have said is that on paper, many students look alike, and college admissions officers are only human. Most of the rejections are due to chance, not merit.”

      Yeah–once you’re throwing out 90% of the applications of a strong pool, there’s going to be a lot of randomness and tea leaf reading and crystal gazing.

  4. Looking on the bright side, the last time I looked this up, the incidence of reported rape in the US was down something like 85%.

  5. A friend saw TNC speak not long ago in Eugene, Oregon. Big crowd!

    A few years back (like, when comments were still open on his blog), I tried to get the Paris embassy to bring him over to speak in several places in France. They sure missed an opportunity.

    Also, isn’t there a long history in the US of authors boosting their incomes with speaking engagements? I want to say that Dickens and Twain both did, but am too lazy to look up sources for this comment.

    1. Yes.

      “Also, isn’t there a long history in the US of authors boosting their incomes with speaking engagements? I want to say that Dickens and Twain both did, but am too lazy to look up sources for this comment.”

      http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-17017791

      Dickens wasn’t getting paid ANYTHING for his American editions.

    2. It’s not just TNC. I just threw him out as an example. Our high school has bought in ten (at least) speakers/authors for big money just in the past year. Last night, i went to one by an author who had tips/tricks for kids heading off to college. It was all about how to make friends at college. I could do this. So, could any of you. Truly amazing. The explosion of TED talks.

  6. This all reads like ridiculous scare-mongering to me. We’re forever in a panic about young people’s behavior, especially young women, and our quest for novelty in this regard knows no limit in terms of what will send us middle-aged people to our fainting couches with the vapors.

    Before it was young women who were too promiscuous, now it’s young women who are too fragile. Is there any actual data to support this new trend, or just the anecdotes of nervous parents? I refuse to indulge this nonsense until this thing actually becomes a Thing.

    1. I agree with Scantee. The reality is adulthood is risky period. And everyone still wants to blame women for all problems related to sex. A coworker’s son and his girlfriend conceived a child their first year of college. The way my coworker talked about this situation you’d think the young woman was a witch for insisting on child support.

    2. There’s the evidence that a sexual harassment complaint was filed against Laura Kipnis based on a newspaper article she wrote. What’s the matter with you people that you don’t see how wrong that is? What’s next, someone filing a complaint against Laura with the Department of Education for one of her Atlantic columns? (Or maybe this blog post, for that matter?)

      1. I haven’t followed this case closely enough to take a position, but didn’t the article suggest that a student at her school who accused a professor of sexual harassment was lying? As a professor there is no way I would expect to do that without risk of a lawsuit. That’s not to say I might not do it anyway, if I believed in him strongly, but libeling anyone is risky enough, and to do it to a student your own university invites trouble. (The obvious comparison is to the Duke lacrosse team accusations, and that was also problematic.)

        Here’s a summary on the Daily Nous:

        http://dailynous.com/2015/05/30/northwestern-and-title-ix-whats-going-on/

      2. I kind of think ‘what is wrong with you people’ is that they have spent too much time in drum circles in the faculty lounge where this shit is reinforced.

  7. First they came for Laura Kipnis, and I did not speak out, because I was not Laura Kipnis. Then they came for, well, no one else really, so I was glad that I didn’t waste all that much mental or emotional energy speaking out for Laura Kipnis since that turned out to be sorta a one-off thing instigated by a total internet rando…

    1. Yeah, that’s what I say every time a black man is killed by the police. The overwhelming majority of black homicide victims are killed by other black men (this is a true fact), and there’s no point worrying about the outliers. Also, most war victims don’t die from poison gas, most convicted criminals are guilty, most sex is consensual, etc. Don’t worry about outliers.

      1. I’m trying my best to ignore you, but this is just nuts. In the overall set of black men murdered, being killed by a police officer is an outlier and being murdered by another black man is common. But in the set of people shot by the police, especially unarmed people shot by police, those persons who are black are very much not outliers. In fact, that’s a very strong relationship.

      2. That data is all from officer’s self-reports. And says nothing at all about why, in a discussion of sexual assault, you decided to make it about black-on-black violence.

  8. You know, I keep bringing up 11D to see if there’s anything new, and there’s not, so this post keeps re-appearing. And the more I look at it, the more it makes me angry about the thing I said I was half-kidding about. Except I am probably at less than 20% kidding now. This line:
    “Once upon a time, explains Kipnis, female students celebrated their sexual freedom and agency.”

    WHEN? WHEN WAS THIS?

    I’m 51. I went to high school and college in the 80s. I taught college from the 90s until today. And i do not know when this time was.

    It’s a myth. And you can’t sustain a reasonable argument based on a myth.

    And that is why *I* don’t really want to waste any time or emotional energy on Kipnis except unfortunately I keep clicking on 11D even though I know Laura and Jonah are off doing college things today and this first post with its annoying sentence never goes away. Sigh. Grumble. I’d rather talk about Coach handbags.

    1. Yeah – I agree with this. I’m not saying the number of female students who celebrated their sexual freedom and agency was zero, but I and many women I know spent a lot of time and energy worrying about how to avoid sexual assault. Where you chose to live, whether you would be able to walk somewhere safely at night, whether you could trust the guy you were just getting to know, whether you could drink and let your guard down… In the 1970s and 1980s women went on dates and to parties and got into scary situations and some got out of them without harm and some did not. Who knows how many, but if it was one woman in even twenty or thirty, you paid a lot of attention.

      I think her use of “once upon a time” is indicative of the fact that it’s a fairy tale. It reminds me of Stephanie Coontz’s “The Way We Never Were.”

    2. According to legend, once upon a time there was a major US logician that everybody thought was hot stuff who worked at an Ivy League school (and he really was hot stuff). He was also a major perv. He doesn’t work at that Ivy League school anymore (he’s now at one that doesn’t have any undergraduates), but he had a quarter century to do his thing at the Ivy League school.

  9. Yeah, I agree with others in that this seems like the moral panic du jour, and Laura Kipnis has just found a way to package it for money, much as Caitlin Flanagan did a generation ago with Rainbow Parties. One of her examples of modern puritanism is that professors can’t sleep with their students like they used to. Count me in as not particularly sad about this form of sexual “free expression” no longer being acceptable.

    1. B.I. said:

      “One of her examples of modern puritanism is that professors can’t sleep with their students like they used to.”

      Really–that was one of the go-to examples?

      !!!!

  10. As any mother of a girl will tell you, “I know spent a lot of time and energy worrying about how to avoid sexual assault. Where you chose to live, whether you would be able to walk somewhere safely at night, whether you could trust the guy you were just getting to know, whether you could drink and let your guard down… ” is still true.

    I’ve heard way too many stories of how the girls think they are protecting themselves, from bringing the guy back to their own room, to where they can duck in when they are being followed by someone who they are worried about. To some extent, there will always be some fear/protectivness based on the physics of the interaction (i.e.men are bigger/stronger than women). The difference I see now, is that we don’t see the times when the attempts at safety failed as *always* being the woman’s fault.

  11. Regarding the good old days:

    http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/03/23/berkeley-renowned-philosopher-john-searle-accused-of-sexual-assault-and-harassment-by-former-cal-aide/

    “BERKELEY — Renowned philosopher and UC Berkeley professor emeritus John Searle has regularly sexually harassed his students and employees, and the university has just as routinely covered it up, according to a lawsuit filed by a former research assistant who claims she was fired after she rebuffed and reported Searle’s unwanted sexual advances.”

    “The lawsuit alleges that when Ong reported the assault to Hudin, Hudin told her she would protect her and that Searle “has had sexual relationships with his students and others in the past in exchange for academic, monetary, or other benefits,” the complaint reads.

    “Ong alleges that Searle openly watched pornography in his office with the sound on as students went by. Among the inappropriate comments she alleges, Ong said that Searle repeatedly asked her to log on to a “Sugar Baby, Sugar Daddy” website.”

    I was was just googling “philosophy sex scandals” and oh my goodness!

    Stars seem to be especially prone to bad behavior.

    1. Ugh. I am not surprised AT ALL. Searle is not a nice person, and philosophy is one of the worst when it comes to harassment.

      I agree that stars are the worst, mainly because universities would rather protect the star than deal with the issue. Our school hired a star biology researcher with a million dollar NSF grant who’d been let go from his last post for raping a student. He showed up and, guess what! Raped one of his grad students here, too. That incident made the NYTimes, as this guy had trail of covered-up sexual assault charges from every place he’d been.

      One of the things I am EXTREMELY thankful for is that my male committee members are not lecherous assholes. If you’re a young female grad student and a famous male professor who has the power to make or break your career comes on to you, you have to make a choice, your career or your sexual autonomy.

      1. “I agree that stars are the worst, mainly because universities would rather protect the star than deal with the issue. Our school hired a star biology researcher with a million dollar NSF grant who’d been let go from his last post for raping a student. He showed up and, guess what! Raped one of his grad students here, too. That incident made the NYTimes, as this guy had trail of covered-up sexual assault charges from every place he’d been.”

        Oh my goodness!

  12. In general though, the vast majority of college students end up having all sorts of sex and sexual relations without anyone’s life being ruined. False rape accusations are extremely rare. Obviously it’s terrible for the people involved, but sending a boy to college and worrying about false rape accusations is like worrying if your kid joins a soccer team he’ll be struck by lightning, or if he uses public restrooms he’ll lose all his limbs to flesh eating bacteria. That COULD happen and would be horrible if it did, but it’s unlikely enough that worrying about it would be counterproductive.

    1. OK, but the number of female students raped by professors is also very low, and I don’t hear anyone saying not to worry about it.

      1. Anything bad that happens to a member of a politically disfavored class, like Jonah, is by definition an “outlier.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s