Human Sex: The Never Ending [Non] Controversy

Well months have passed since I posted anything on here, but as a student I have so much work to do and so many different ways to procrastinate on doing that work, that it becomes difficult to do any meaningful blogging. But as this tumultuous academic year at Northwestern comes to a close, I have plenty of new material coming your way throughout the summer.

Now to get to down to business: let’s talk sex. Not just sex, but human sex. And not just human sex, but Human Sexuality, a course that was formally offered by the psychology department at Northwestern University. This past winter, the class and it’s professor caused quite the media stir for the live (excuse the language) fucksaw demonstration. The incident became probably the biggest overblown “controversy” in the history of Northwestern that tarnished this great institution’s name and because of this, the administration has decided to cancel the class for the next year and “review the curricula” to evaluate it’s importance. (Click here for the scoop)

As you imagine the announcement has riled the masses again with the most liberal students crying academic censorship, and the uber-conservative Midwestern oldies applauding a return to “good moral values in the classroom.” Letters are pouring into the campus publication proclaiming shame on Morty (the university president) for punishing the most controversial professor and denying students the opportunity to be uncomfortable. My reaction: get over it and go read a book.

Now as a pretty liberal person, I don’t think the class really had to be cancelled, as those who really have a problem with it and don’t see it’s utility to the non-repressed student who doesn’t have qualms talking about sex or their sexuality (like myself) wouldn’t take the class. And we are all legal adults and if it is legal for us to purchase porn and view it in this state, it should be legal to watch live if you so wish.  I also feel Robin Mathy has a vendetta against Bailey and is making it her life cause to destroy him. Whatever, I don’t particularly like Bailey myself, but I just disagree and move on.

But why is the class not being offered next year the end of the world? Why do people feel it is their only opportunity to be exposed to controversial and challenging opinions? All members of the Northwestern faculty are required to complete research/write books on their area of expertise; if you like Bailey so much, go and pick up a copy of his controversial book, The Man Who Would Be Queen, he advertises all of the time. Look up his research articles in the Northwestern Library system, they’re free for you to access and use to your heart’s content. Look up other people’s research on human sexuality. How about doing an independent study for credit if you need a class format to learn about a subject that interests you? All you need is an advisor and a reading list and you can go for it. If you don’t want to take advantage of those resources still available to you, then you obviously must not care that much about the course. They haven’t burned his books or fired him, and there is still the internet.

That’s the problem I have with the complaining. Learning doesn’t only happen in the classroom, the opportunities to learn and become passionate about an issue are all around. That is one of the most frustrating things about people today, they have to be spoon-fed everything and need someone else to make them learn instead of taking responsibility for their own enrichment. That’s why teachers are vilified and blamed for a failing education system, when most of the time we have the power to crack open a book and study, go to keynote speaker events, go to a museum, or freaking Google something. There are plenty of worthwhile classes and amazing professors capable of inspiring critical thinking, you know if you bother to put in the effort to think.

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