From a long and very useful analysis of sexual assault on campus…

… by Emily Yoffe.

Carol Tavris is a social psychologist and author of the feminist classic, The Mismeasure of Woman, and, with Elliot Aronson, Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me). She says she is troubled by the blurring of distinctions between rape (notably by predatory males), unwanted sex (where one party agrees to sex not out of desire but to please or placate the partner), and the kind of consensual sex where both parties are so drunk they can barely remember what happened — and one of them later regrets it. She says, “Calling all of these kinds of sexual encounters ‘rape’ or ‘sexual assault’ doesn’t teach young women how to learn what they want sexually, let alone how to communicate what they want, or don’t want. It doesn’t teach them to take responsibility for their decisions, for their reluctance to speak up. Sexual communication is really hard — you don’t learn how to do it in a few weekends.”

In-Ground Morgue Optional

The residence also offered indoor and outdoor pools, commissioned artwork by the graffiti artist Retna, and an operating room in the basement. “It’s not like it’s set up to take out your gallbladder,” said Mark David, a real estate columnist for Variety, who has toured the house. “It’s for cosmetic procedures — fillers, dermabrasion, that kind of thing.”

Excerpts. To help you think about what has happened to the University of Virginia over the past few years.

Orin Starn, the sports-anthropology professor, is less sanguine. Duke, he says, has become “this place that’s sort of divided against itself. On the one hand, you have this university that wants to be this first-class liberal-arts university, with a cutting-edge university press, these great programs in literature and history and African-American studies, that’s really done some amazing things over the last twenty years, building itself from a kind of regional school mostly for the Southern élite into a really global university with first-class scholarship. But then you have another university. That’s a university of partying and getting drunk, hiring strippers, frats, big-time college athletics.

… If you were starting from scratch at Duke, no one would have imagined an athletics program where the budget is almost fifty million dollars. This huge outlay of expenses and energy and visibility of sports is just clearly out of proportion with what it should be. Yes, athletics has a place in college education, but not this sort of massive space that it’s taking.”

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Even before the lacrosse scandal, alarms had been sounded over the coarsening of undergraduate life. Toward the end of Nan Keohane’s tenure as president, the school undertook an extensive study examining the lives of women at Duke. The project’s summation reads like a scholarly anticipation of Tom Wolfe’s “I Am Charlotte Simmons,” the 2004 novel (published after Wolfe’s daughter graduated from Duke) portraying college life as a soul-deadening, booze-fueled marathon of sexual predation:

Students rarely go on formal dates but instead attend parties in large groups, followed by “hook-ups”—unplanned sexual encounters typically fueled by alcohol. Men and women agreed the double standard persists: men gain status through sexual activity while women lose status. Fraternities control the mainstream social scene to such an extent that women feel like they play by the men’s rules. Social life is further complicated by a number of embedded hierarchies, from the widely understood ranking of Greek organizations to the opposite trajectories women and men take over four years, with women losing status in the campus environment while men gain status.

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[T]he University of Virginia has allowed its top seeded men’s team to continue playing into the [lacrosse murder] post-season. … George Huguely V, the indicted midfielder from the men’s Cavalier squad, has, for nearly all intents and purposes, already admitted to the crime, and, in my mind at least, also implicated — albeit on a very different level — the culture and friends that provoked reckless excess and failed to take notice of a young man spiraling out of control.

… [T]he fact that Huguely was at times reckless and violent, particularly when drunk, and was alarmingly obsessive about Love, would have been recognized by fellow players, and perhaps coaches, too, and certainly should have been addressed. The fact that this was not his first violent interaction with Love is the strongest charge against the friends and teammates that failed to recognize the severity of the situation.

In truth, there are many places in the game’s culture where nights like the one Huguely had at Washington and Lee University in November 2008–when he was Tasered after resisting arrest and shouting slurs at a black, female officer who had found him stumbling into oncoming traffic–garner acceptance and credibility. As with other sports teams and fraternities, stories like these are traded like war stories among lacrosse players; they’re the battle ribbons of a culture that enjoys hard-drinking and recklessness. They’re a kind of proof of one’s weekend warrior bona fides.

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Huguely’s team is … one on which eight players have been charged with alcohol-related offenses. Is anyone paying attention?… If things go terribly wrong, the culture of protection — including parents, coaches and alumni boosters — hire high-priced lawyers who manage to get records expunged and witnesses to forget what they saw.

UD knew we’d get some great writing from rabbis…

… in the wake of Barry “Slam Dunk” Freundel’s stumble.

My most uncomfortable [conversion] moments were when an adult male had to lie on a table with his private parts exposed so the Bet Din could witness the hatafat dam brit (a quasi-circumcision). And yet, no man – not a single one – ever complained about the process because each knew that it was a small price he had to pay (a requirement) for membership in an eternal people.

Update, Horny University-Affiliated Koreans Abroad.

So many, they had to load two cases into one article:

[Korean Education Center in New Zealand] Director Bae Dong-in, a ministry official, has been accused of saying, “Women with large breasts are dumb” in front of the staff, and of frequently using abusive language toward them. A KECNZ staffer said Bae also “sexually humiliated” female staffers with unwanted comments about the size of men’s penises…

… [The last] director of the KECNZ was forced to return to Korea over accusations of misappropriating school funds.

… Separately, a Handong Global University professor was arrested for allegedly groping a sleeping woman on an airplane, the New York Post reported Tuesday.

Lee Eun-jong, 47, who is also a Cornell University visiting scholar, was nabbed by FBI agents after the plane from Tokyo landed at Newark Liberty International Airport on Sunday night.

You can sort of see the KECNZ staff wondering what’s going to be behind Door Number Three.

Be a literary critic!

Timothy Wilson of the University of Virginia suggests in his book “Strangers to Ourselves” that we shouldn’t see ourselves as archaeologists, minutely studying each feeling and trying to dig deep into the unconscious. We should see ourselves as literary critics, putting each incident in the perspective of a longer life story. The narrative form is a more supple way of understanding human processes, even unconscious ones, than rationalistic analysis.

“… [U]niversity workers had removed plants from outside the president’s home that contained decorative lighting that belonged to the Flanagans.”

We’ve all been there.

Never heard it called that before.

Benjamin Chisolm is a University of Maryland lacrosse player who is now being called a suspect in a case of aggravated sexual battery – and it is stunning news for the College Park campus.

Prince William County Police say that on Sunday night at the Jiffy Lube Live concert venue, a 49-year-old fell asleep on her lawn and woke up to find a man lying beside her and touching her inappropriate.

Rick Perry …

… was a cheertator at Texas A&M.

Although Perry gave into his desire to adopt this strikingly non-mainstream personal choice, he’s not very generous when it comes to the inclinations of others:

“I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that,” Perry said in remarks broadcast on the local CBS affiliate. “And I look at the homosexual issue in the same way.”

Jane Eyre was published in 1847.

That’s how far back you have to go to get a grip on Tuam, Ireland, in the mid-twentieth century.

During January, February, and part of March, the deep snows, and, after their melting, the almost impassable roads, prevented our stirring beyond the garden walls, except to go to church; but within these limits we had to pass an hour every day in the open air. Our clothing was insufficient to protect us from the severe cold: we had no boots, the snow got into our shoes and melted there: our ungloved hands became numbed and covered with chilblains, as were our feet: I remember well the distracting irritation I endured from this cause every evening, when my feet inflamed; and the torture of thrusting the swelled, raw, and stiff toes into my shoes in the morning. Then the scanty supply of food was distressing: with the keen appetites of growing children, we had scarcely sufficient to keep alive a delicate invalid. From this deficiency of nourishment resulted an abuse, which pressed hardly on the younger pupils: whenever the famished great girls had an opportunity, they would coax or menace the little ones out of their portion. Many a time I have shared between two claimants the precious morsel of brown bread distributed at tea-time; and after relinquishing to a third half the contents of my mug of coffee, I have swallowed the remainder with an accompaniment of secret tears, forced from me by the exigency of hunger.

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“Madam, allow me an instant. You are aware that my plan in bringing up these girls is, not to accustom them to habits of luxury and indulgence, but to render them hardy, patient, self-denying. Should any little accidental disappointment of the appetite occur, such as the spoiling of a meal, the under or the over dressing of a dish, the incident ought not to be neutralised by replacing with something more delicate the comfort lost, thus pampering the body and obviating the aim of this institution; it ought to be improved to the spiritual edification of the pupils, by encouraging them to evince fortitude under temporary privation. A brief address on those occasions would not be mistimed, wherein a judicious instructor would take the opportunity of referring to the sufferings of the primitive Christians; to the torments of martyrs; to the exhortations of our blessed Lord Himself, calling upon His disciples to take up their cross and follow Him; to His warnings that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God; to His divine consolations, “If ye suffer hunger or thirst for My sake, happy are ye.” Oh, madam, when you put bread and cheese, instead of burnt porridge, into these children’s mouths, you may indeed feed their vile bodies, but you little think how you starve their immortal souls!”

“[I]t was as natural as breathing to seek adventure by enlisting in 1914…”

He cherished, like all his family, ties of affection and family mythology to his lowland Scottish heritage. The Scottish virtue of unswerving loyalty meant unreflecting acceptance of Great Britain as the font of all that mattered in the world besides the bush Australian ethos of strength and endurance.

What began as an adventure ended in horror too profound for speech. The farewells, the adoring young ladies, the troopship, England, and the training on Salisbury Plain, were in line with all the British empire tales heard in childhood. The daily slaughter of the trenches never ceased to be a part of his nightmares. A childhood spent hunting kangaroos made him an excellent shot and earned him the post of sharpshooter, the man sent ahead alone to pick off the enemy. About this he could not speak, except to describe the common experience of the trenches, a kind of fellow feeling for the opponent. His worst memories were the screams of wounded horses, and the sight of men being driven back to the trenches at rifle point.

For Memorial Day, Jill Ker Conway’s description of her father in The Road from Corain.

Karma’s a bitch.

Jill Abramson has elected not to attend commencement ceremonies at Brandeis University, where she would’ve received an honorary degree this weekend…

… Brandeis previously canceled plans to award an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a women’s rights activist who frequently criticized Islam.

Dear me. Between various cancellations and regrets, Brandeis seems headed for an all-male commencement.

Socialisme.

Mediapart said [Aquilino Morelle] used the presidency’s chauffeurs to drive his son around; that a shoe-shine man was ordered to come to his office to take care of his 30 pairs of luxury shoes; that he dipped into the Elysee’s fine-wines cellar and that he spent most Fridays at a luxury Paris hammam. Mediapart also mentioned his rude attitude toward some Elysee staff.

Annals of Higher Ed

“I think greed is healthy,” [their speaker] told the graduating class at Berkeley’s business school in 1986. “You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself.” The speaker was Ivan Boesky, who shortly thereafter would be fined $100 million, and later go to prison, for insider trading.

Paul de Man: True Detective

[He] duly provides a résumé listing an imaginary master’s thesis (“The Bergsonian Conception of Time in the Contemporary Novel”) and an “interrupted” doctoral dissertation (“Introduction to a Phenomenology of Aesthetic Consciousness”). On a separate form, he describes his service [he was in fact a fascist collaborator] in a resistance group during the war…. When his transcript arrives, from the Free University of Brussels, he doctors it to appear that he got his degree…

University Diaries is always interested, as you know, in academic frauds – diploma mill grads, credentials-conjurers, etc. – and no one fits the bill better than Paul de Man. (UD was his student at the University of Chicago, and writes about it here.)

But Youth Wants to Know - What the hell? Why was he an academic God?

I don’t think it was his essays on literature, although the essays very cleverly reveal the way poetic assertions and poetic structures always seem uncontrollably to contain their own idea- and coherence-dissolving refutations. The essays very cleverly reveal the way this inescapable linguistic dissolution-operation applies just as much to the critic who thinks she’s interpreting literature as it does to the writer who thinks she’s creating literature. We think we’re using language to create meaningful fictive worlds and meaningful interpretations of those worlds, but we are being used by language. We are always trapped inside interminable sign-play, and all we can do is fashion more or less self-aware and intricate verbal fabulations, little mythic narratives about what’s going on in literature, the world, and our minds — narratives that reassure us that the world exists, we exist, beauty exists, meaning exists, moral conflict exists, consciousness exists. But we must be self-aware about all of this futility; we must never, as Peter Brooks puts it in describing de Man’s approach, take “the seductions of rhetoric as something in which to believe.” We must, indeed, de Man’s work and life seem to suggest, believe in nothing.

These essays were part of de Man’s immense charismatic appeal, in that they were the written address, if you will, of de Man’s broader, all-out assault on human consciousness. You could look it up there. You could go to the essays and delectate what Harold Bloom called de Man’s “serene linguistic nihilism.”

But de Man’s real appeal, I think (and I’m thinking about it because a new book full of evidence of de Man’s moral degeneracy has just come out and is being widely discussed) lies in his having embodied, for his time, first-rate absolute unswerving nihilism. Not just linguistic nihilism. Everything nihilism. Like America’s current wildly popular nihilist, the tv show True Detective‘s Rust Cohle, Paul de Man seems to have believed that, as Cohle puts it, “human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution.”

Let’s be clearer about “consciousness.” We assume that we have a quality of self-reflective cerebral aliveness which can be trained to understand the world in clarifying and useful ways. We acknowledge that along with being clarifying and useful, consciousness can be a source of obfuscation and evil and false consolation and many other bad things. Yet few among us assume that because human consciousness can be monstrous as well as illuminating and transformative we must dedicate our lives to loathing it as tragic, and to revealing again and again its absurd insidious pointlessness.

And yet – all reflective people rightly take an interest in nihilism because all reflective people know what it feels like to have – at one point or another in your life – all of the supporting structures in your life collapse. We are drawn to – even seduced by – people we rightly identify as true nihilists or nihilistic in appearance (Amy Winehouse, Chet Baker) because we have room in our consciousness for the possibility that their brutal flattening of value and meaning might be right. A philosopher discusses Rust Cohle’s

meditation on the eyes of murder victims. The idea that they would have welcomed it, that they were being released, [chimes] well with many pessimists. [Rust’s take on the murdered is] a visualization of what the pessimist ultimately holds — that death is to be welcomed…

Adam Phillips, a psychoanalyst, channels everyone’s nihilistic capacity when he says

These are parts of ourselves – that don’t want to live, that hate our children, that want ourselves to fail. Freud is saying there is something strange about humans: they are recalcitrant to what is supposed to be their project.

Cohle and de Man represent and represented true detectives of our collective latent nihilism; they’re on the case in our rats’ alleys where the dead men lost their bones, and they are taking notes.

In the latest New Yorker, Louis Menand quotes one of de Man’s colleagues calling him “a connoisseur of nothingness.” In an article written in 1989, when the dimensions of the de Man mess were just emerging, Frank Kermode describes critics influenced by de Man as “connoisseurs of the symmetry between the impossible and the necessary.” (Impossible to use language to posit meaning in a meaningless world; necessary to keep using and positing anyway.) UD would suggest that connoisseurship is the right way to enter into an explanation of de Man’s intellectual appeal. A good wine; a good nihilism. One wants to delectate this endgame. One should want to delectate this endgame, because it is a very serious and real thing. You can do it via Paul de Man quite adequately, and throughout his American adventures people excitedly intuited this about him.

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