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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

There used to be liberals

Student Amy Keel in the Harvard Crimson explains why she destroyed a phallic sculpture:

“As a student of Harvard University, neither I, nor any other woman, should have to see this obscene and grossly inappropriate thing on my way to class. No one should have to be subjected to an erect penis without his or her express permission or consent.

Many women and men, including myself, are the victims of sexual assault, child sexual abuse and rape. The unwanted image of an erect penis is an implied threat; it means that we, as women, must be subject to erect penises whether we like it or not. There was nothing “challenging” or “subversive” about the penis. The only thing it did was create an uncomfortable environment for the women of Harvard University.”

Presumably she would not have enjoyed the parties at the very countercultural communal flat of my CMU grad school days. We had wild ones. If you are a true conservative rather than a libertarian, they were everything you feared was going on some where… and more.

There was one Halloween party where a large chunk of the Fine Arts department ended up in our flat. It was a night Fellini could have been proud of.

Some of the costumes were so creative I remember them to this day. There was a gay friend of the household from Globe Players, our Shakespeare company, who came as “The Dope Fairy”. He wore a pink tutu, ballet tights and a Santa’s bag. He moved about the party spreading happiness where ever he went… and then there were the four fellows from Painting and Sculpture. They really put effort into it. It must have taken days to build the chicken wire frames, paper mache them and do the painting. They came as organs. Male and Female.

Have you ever had a 6 foot breast bump into you at the punch bowl? Or seen a face staring out at you from the middle of a hairy…

Perhaps I’ll skip that one.

18 comments to There used to be liberals

  • The phallus story is evidence that the politically-correct left and the moral-minority right have more or less the same mindset; everybody must be forced to think and act as they do, and all art and media must reflect the world as they would like to be.

  • What a sad and pathetic lot the young’uns are today!

    That party must have been a blast…MB is sorry she missed it…she loves that sort of thing even to this day.

  • Not much chance of springtime merriment round any maypoles in Harvard then, I suppose.

  • Jacob

    If Amy Keel didn’t want to see that thing she could perhaps have made some detour, and avoided it somehow.
    It was not an urge to preserve the purity of her soul that motivated her, but, as Tim Hall said above, an urge to dominate others, to dictate, to control what everybody can see. That coupled with an urge to destroy. The stark essence of leftish-liberalism.

  • D Anghelone

    “Presumably she would not have enjoyed the parties at the very countercultural communal flat of my CMU grad school days. We had wild ones. If you are a true conservative rather than a libertarian, they were everything you feared was going on some where… and more.”

    And if you were a true libertarian your fear was that your labors were going to pay for countercultural communes.

  • Jacob

    “What a sad and pathetic lot the young’uns are today”
    It’s more than that – they are vicious.

  • emma

    Kristina Hoff Summers is brilliant on all this humourless campus-feminist nonsense in “Who Stole Feminism?”

  • Dale Amon

    MB: You’d have loved it 🙂

    DA: As we were paying the rent it was simply the business of noone else *HOW* we lived. Our flat. Our lives. Our business.

    Others: Yes, quite a sick and sad individual, that prude from Harvard. As to writers… I love Wendy McIlroy’s stuff. I once gave “Freedom, Feminism and the State” to a much loved socialist woman friend for Christmas. Wendy is quite insidious and the book might have impacts on the friend’s world view over the course of the years…

  • OK, I had to post on my own site about this. Here’s a little excerpt….
    The claim to a “right not to be exposed to an erect penis” sounds great, until you break it down to the distinction between exposure and awareness. I regret informing Miss Keel that there are erect penises everywhere on college campuses, just as there are certainly large numbers of erect nipples. Granted, one solution might be to legislate classroom temperature at a shrivelling 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but I am afraid this might only exacerbate the erect nipple problem. Unfortunately, as humans, we must be tolerant and forgiving enough both of ourselves and others when it comes to carrying the burdens of the flesh.

    This is not a case of rape or sexual assault– it is a prank played by frustrated boys. Rather than run to the administration, Miss Keel should have a little fun of her own. For example, bobbitize the sculpture and leave a note signed with red marker reading, “The Scarlet Letter”. There is a time to cry and a time to play. I think Amy just got the two mixed up.

  • S. Weasel

    On the other hand – and not to encourage whining – but is it too much to ask that public art not walk miles out of its way to offend people? What kind of mentality defines art as “that which shocks” and then gets all huffy and righteous when someone is shocked?

    The college I went to had a Halloween ball every year, and the official assignment for the incoming Freshman art class was to design and build costumes for it. And every damn year, there were half a dozen generative organs in the bunch.

    You just knew those kids thought they were the first to light on the idea. The first! Ever! To be so bold! So daring! And yet so gosh-darned funny!

    And you could almost hear the sculpture teachers thinking, “Oh, swell. Another year, another crop of badly-executed twelve-foot foam rubber stiffies.”

  • Dale Amon

    Everything under the sun has been done before. All that counts is its new to those kids, they had a great time doing, they’ll remember the time fondly for years.

    I could go onto a campus today and probably find kids doing exactly the same things I did, who think they too are daring and the first… but why should I? Why should I rain on their parade? Why should I be a wet blanket when people are simply having the time of their life?

    Fun is in the eye of the beholder. Too many elder eyes have becomest jaded methinks.

  • Dale Amon

    Joni Mitchell said it well:

    “The season’s they go round and round.
    The painted ponies go up and down.
    We’re captured on the carousel of life…”

  • S. Weasel

    If you think those kids were “having the time of their life”, you have never met an 18-year-old art student. They were making Meaningful Statements about Man’s Alienation in an increasingly Indifferent and Urbanized Environment. And they thought they were devilishly clever about it, too.

    Rain on their parade? I’d drown them like kittens if I had the chance.

  • Dale Amon

    How very sad.

  • I’m not greatly surprised by the actions of little Miss Rightious Indignation.

    It did take place in Cambridge Massachusetts, after all.

    Some years ago, I was in the Harvard/Massachusetts Aveneu/Central Square area of Cambridge and wearing a 2″+ button (badge to my U.K. readers) that bore the simple, truthful legend:

    “Marx is a dead white male.”

    Let me tell you, if looks could kill!

  • Hmmm… I guess our annual celebration of Hitler’s birthday during my college years would be Bad Form today, too.

    Especially for the four Jewish guys in our circle, who always came wearing striped pyjamas.

    I went to a “Bad Taste” party a while ago, and there was the usual crowd of lunatics: Christ, complete with cross and crown of thorns; a guy with a tray of chunks of raw meat (“landmine explosion souvenirs”); and so on. The outright winner was a girl who brought her Mom and Dad to the party.

    Too bad it’s illegal to have sense of humor nowadays.

  • DANEgerus

    So when someone builds a snow-penis = bad, but ceramic penis’s strung in a public Library here in the States is a statement of woman’s empowerment?

    That’s why the carpet munchers are so tiresome… at least homesexual men are ‘gay’… get over yourself already…

  • I live down the street from the aforementioned former snow-penis, and let me tell you… they don’t call it the Republic of Cambridgestan for nothing.

    I grew up in a 2-artist household, and went to my fair share of drawing groups with nude models, etc. Today my parents would probably get hauled in for child abuse, and my aunt and uncle too. Yet my cousins and I are about as well adjusted as a person can be, which is more than I can say for Ms. Keel.

    People have the right to make stupid snow sculptures, and she has the right to avoid them. If she was in Australia instead of freezing-cold Massachusetts, she’d probably be participating in one of those nude “NO WAR” human signs on a hill somewhere.

    I bet she hated reading Camille Paglia in her Women’s Studies 101 class.