Imagine a college English course in which a male instructor assigns a book that focuses crass attention on the male reproductive organ—names men have for it, how it might dress, what it would say if it could talk? Imagine that this shallow piece of faux-literature was filled with ridiculous paeans to the godlike quality of the penis. And imagine this vile work having a chapter that romanticizes the molestation of a thirteen-year-old-boy by an adult male.
Can you see college administrators saying, in response to complaints, that it trusts the judgment of its instructors? Can you envision adults taking all this in stride and even noting that such a text is sure to spur interesting discussions? Can you picture in your mind someone comparing this tasteless tripe to a literary classic?
One can hardly imagine such an insensitive, politically incorrect course ever seeing the light of day. And if it did, outrage, firings, and lawsuits would follow posthaste.
Now imagine English 100 at a community college. Imagine a short reading list that includes Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues and a lurid essay by bell hooks called Penis Passion. Imagine a monologue called “The Little Coochi Snorcher That Could,” that highlights a female’s fond recollection of being seduced at age thirteen by a “gorgeous twenty-four-year-old woman.”
Actually, one needn’t visualize such a course, since it was offered at Palomar College by an adjunct professor. Indeed, the course was thought sufficiently controversial to deserve a warning label—so it’s unlikely administrators were unaware of its content. Yet even after a public complaint, President Bob Deegan was satisfied to say, “There are no guidelines in course content because we trust professors to choose the right materials.”
To date, commentary on this incident has been decidedly ho-hum, and largely of the academic freedom variety. Any honest adult knows, however, that if the sex of the instructor, the offensive materials, and the complainant were reversed, there would be hell to pay. No one would be suggesting that academic freedom covers benign depictions of child molestation and gross, male-centered vulgarity. So why isn’t what’s sauce for the gander, sauce for the goose?
The truth is that higher education is on the cutting edge of societal decadence and that “academic freedom” is now an Orwellian concept used to sanction whatever immoral, intolerant, and conspiratorial lies are being proffered by tenured leftists. (Ward Churchill springs to mind.) Likewise, “diversity” is the term most employed to stifle dissent. Note the Arizona State University resident assistant who was put on probation after objecting to the school’s mandatory sensitivity training—a popular program that reeducates employees to the way white, heterosexual males and religious folk victimize every other grievance group in society.
Morality simply isn’t a component in the thought of elites who view The Vagina Monologues as feminist scripture. For them, politics trumps morality every time. That’s the sole reason this line was omitted from later editions of the play: “…if it was rape, it was a good rape.”