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Member since: Tue Jul 13, 2004, 07:39 PM
Number of posts: 2,978

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"maybe it really is a non-toxic environment" and "I'm suspicious"

aren't strong assertions, are they? So I'm not sure how I could be "simply wrong."

IHE's aren't discrete entities. There are influences across higher ed in which members of all IHE's participate (or that they contest or resist) that reflect neoliberal values. No institution is free from it.

I study this as part of my work (and I've worked in higher ed for 25 years) and I don't defer to the "Princeton Review"'s methodology and raison d'etre for expertise on anything.

Also, volunteer programs (read Marc Bousquet on academic exploitation) can be used to exploit student labor. I've certainly seen the new movement in student "service learning" twisted in this way at many an institution.

Having said that, if the programs there are consciously resisting 30 years of academic capitalism, that's awesome, especially if they build in the transition-town (sustainability, resilience, whatever we call it) approach of an Oberlin. Every time I hear one more thing about Vermont (and I've met Bernie Sanders at the WH--he's delightful and an inspiration) I seriously consider moving there. But I feel it's more important that we fight the good fight here in North Carolina and look to Vermont as inspiration.

To recap, an entire institution cannot be somehow exempt from academic neoliberalism. Do the kids not use federal student loans? Do the faculty not pursue external federal grants? Could they collectively vote to reinstate tenure as a body if they wanted to? The larger trends in higher ed do not spare individual IHEs. It's like saying your entire town is exempt from capitalism. Can you resist it? HELL YES.

only silver lining--this is what pornography already is

and maybe, maybe, more people will begin to understand that most "pornography" is a photograph of a legally unconsenting (through being underage, drugged, or coerced) person being sexually violated that is then spread in perpetuity without their consent or even compensation.

I'm heartened that there's an uproar about rape photos and revenge porn, but that's because people believe (except for the original perpetrators, clearly) that those violated in them are human beings. Because mainstream society is conditioned to not think of prostitutes and pornography "actresses" (usually, sex trafficking victims) as humans but as things (and "whores" who deserve and secretly want it) then photographs of them don't even register on the moral meter. They're just so much human trash.

I'd venture to say that 50% of pornography online is photographic sex crime evidence. I'm sorry we're seeing more of it being made of the "good" females, but maybe that'll wake people up to the humanity of the "bad" ones to whom this has been happening for decades.

ah yes, the "freeze"

We Southern women were taught that from a young age. One is never supposed to acknowledge it --to "dignify it with a response."

A funny Southern writer, Florence King, really captured the weird class/gender/regional dynamics in that, because if a woman didn't acknowledge it--if she froze as if refusing to see anything inappropriate and continued on her business, as if that prurient world wasn't real to her, then that meant she was a real lady and the men felt guilty and wouldn't do it again (to her). So, our opportunity to seize "power" in that situation was the opportunity to assert class. And to prove we weren't Yankees.

That's a weird holdover from aristocratic notions of upbringing, wherein ladies do not acknowledge things that are inappropriate. So, what the system gets is women who don't argue directly back when they're harassed, but what it dangles in front of a certain type of woman is the opportunity to assert that she's a lady. Not exactly a fair trade, and one that reinforces the Madonna/whore complex.

until the DINOs in this state are willing to stand up

We have a bunch of inside the beltline (Raleigh, that is) multimillionaire neoliberal Dems who've let this happen too. I bet any one of them would be upset about any 3 of the 10 monstrous pieces of legislation underway (but not all 10), but would they ever dirty themselves at a protest? Why, that's so 20th century. And no one who wants to be taken seriously does that. They just pay congratulatory lip service to those who did it in the past, because it's safe to say you would have taken to the streets from a vantage point of 40 years, when you know the outcome.

They're busy with their wingspread seminars and smoked salmon post-seminar buffets and that neoliberal celebration of academic capitalism called the Emerging Issues Forum to rehash the same stale pro-corporate crap about "making NC competitive for the 21st century!" They have no idea the level of evil they're dealing with, nor of the environmental/energy shit storm coming our way. It's hard to be too worried when you haven't yet fallen out of the middle class.

Sorry to be so cynical. I have my reasons.

nor do they understand the discursive requirement of "hedging"

Enculturation into science writing entails learning how to qualify arguments all over the place. Even with startling data, one has to position one's self humbly within a larger community across space and time.

Then, Republican deniers take text from those articles and twist it to make it sound like the scientists really aren't sure about their findings.

I remember one asshole House member asking a scientist during a hearing, yelling at him, basically, "is it right or wrong?! can you not answer a question with yes or no!? why can't you tell us the truth!?" etc. etc. (so he could have footage for his campaign web site, we presume).

Is Steubenville footage the 21st c version of fire-hosing African Americans?

Like others, I am simultaneously heartened--actually, I teared up about it this morning--to see so many MEN gather in Steubenville who not only don't think sexually degrading females is funny or "the slut's fault" but who are willing to get out there to protest this behavior. I'm in my mid-40s and this is not the world I grew up in. Even in the 80s we were sexually harassed in school, on the street, in stores, on jobs, with impunity, and God help you if you drank too much. It was always your fault. At best, it seemed men hated rape of "the good girls," but any girl who deviated was held responsible. Anything less than self-depreciation and constant ego-boosting of males was enough to make you a bad girl. We policed ourselves, and internalized a lot of those standards. Don't get to be too (smart, pretty, non-pretty, strong, athletic, self-reliant, reliant on female friendship. . . anything). Standing out in any way made you at fault--the corollary to the Shador. Visibility made you responsible for men's reactions to you.

But this is re-raising for me the larger issue of media ecology and how these new technologies are liberating as much as demeaning.

I first became an "antipornography feminist" in the late 80s. While I've parted ways with some of my compatriots from those days on some issues (w/r/t to consenting adults), of course the ways digital technologies have amplified if not fueled sexual objectification, violence, child trafficking, etc., through instant access and a huge profit motive, have been more upsetting by the year (as I've raised daughters and watched in horror as their environment is saturated by documentation of females being grossly abused).

I'm thinking this footage is so disgusting to Americans' sense of themselves that I'm beginning to wonder if giving these soul-less female-hating f**ks digital media with which to saturate the world with sexual crime documentation--with their rape ideology-- is finally forcing males and a lot of females to "take sides."

More and more, I hear and read sincere arguments and concerns about sexual violence and objectification of women from men from all walks of life and ages that I would have only heard among my feminist friends 25 years ago. Granted, maybe I perk up more when it's from a man.

But maybe this horrible event is like the firehoses and German Shepherds being deployed against African Americans in Birmingham. Once it was filmed, the "decent" people in white America had to wake up from their comfortable ignorance about what non-whites were suffering in the Deep South. Just like now, there were overt racist haters, but there were lots more whites who unconsciously benefited from the privilege of being white (as I have) while generally trying to be decent human beings. They/we were just clueless. Sometimes that's worse, but it gives you something to work with--a person's basic desire to be a decent human being, particularly when confronted with the possibility that one's been unintentionally selfish and hurtful.

To see so many fundamentally decent but formerly clueless guys wake up like this--even as it's taken this horrific sacrifice of this poor girl--is truly heartening. I cannot believe so many men are out there on the streets protesting about females being treated this way. I really didn't expect to see that level of awareness in my lifetime.

Alphabetic literacy, print literacy, photographs and video, and now these media, as has often been said, are as complex as the humanity that developed them. The confounding element with pornography is the use of the media itself as the tool of oppression . . . Firehoses and German Shepherds were accidentally filmed. The sheriffs didn't firehose their Black residents and circulate that to their white friends so they could have orgasms to it and further humiliate other Black residents. The act of recording sexual abuse--making the female an object whose privacy and subjectivity is perpetually violated by being simultaneously one man's trophy and a million men's thing--is another tool of direct abuse. It's not just a recording of it.

But all of that aside, these horrific videos may usher in an Anita Hill-like sea change, and probably more.

(If only Hill had had an iPhone recording when Clarence Thomas asked her about the pubic hair on her Coke. . . of course, he would have still probably referred to it as a "high-tech lynching."
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