Bloomberg reports that Ivy League colleges everywhere are taking swift and vigorous action to suppress student misbehavior.
Harvard and Cornell universities have joined Yale University and Dartmouth College in cracking down on out-of-control behavior as drinking, hazing and sexual harassment endanger students and tarnish Ivy League reputations.
Harvard faculty voted last month to require registration of parties and ban drinking games, and Cornell ordered fraternities to have live-in advisers. This fall, Dartmouth began security checks at Greek houses and Princeton University banned freshmen from joining them.
The moves are the latest effort to regulate campus behavior since rules controlling students—known as in loco parentis—were abolished in the 1960s. Disobedience crested last year for Ivy League schools, which cost more than $50,000 a year to attend. A Dartmouth hazing article detailed rituals involving bodily fluids. A Cornell student died of alcohol poisoning, and Yale was hit with a discrimination complaint after fraternity members chanted “No means yes! Yes means anal!”
“Colleges have been in an arms race to prove to students that they’re cool and give more freedom than the others,” said Lisa Wade, head of the sociology department at Occidental College in Los Angeles. “Now, maybe the pendulum is starting to swing the other way.”
College students have come to equate the absence of boundaries with fun, said Wade, who studies the casual sex culture on campuses. That, combined with large amounts of alcohol easily available on campus, can skew students’ sense of what is acceptable or even normal.
There seems to be a tidal pattern about this sort of thing. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, when students were really riotous and disorderly in lifestyle and behavior, university administrators went home and hid under their beds, allowing student mobs to occupy administration buildings and even to shut down Yale a month before examinations and graduation.
Today, when students are meek and mild and cause little trouble, bold, brave deans react to every little contretemps that hits the newspapers the way the German Occupation reacted to the Warsaw Uprising.
The Berkeley Daily Californian (surprise! surprise!) has a regular sex columnist named Nadia Cho, whose most recent contribution, an account of celebrating Thanksgiving with romantic liaisons in on-campus locations other than her own room has attracted greater than usual attention.
I actually smiled indulgently as I clicked on the link to the young lady’s column, not having failed to remember with affection certain on-campus meetings with young ladies of my own back during the consulate of Plancus; but, alas! I found myself, upon reading the piece, involuntarily conscripted into the ranks of the censorious and disapproving.
Nadia Cho’s literary approach to the sensitive subject of love-making includes large servings of crude colloquial expressions embedded in a conspicuously unreflective rah-rah, just-let’s-do-it ideological perspective which inevitably strikes the reader as Philistine and coarse.
Berkeley is the best place to explore your sexuality. Our school is a predominantly safe and accepting space with many places, people and resources to help you discover your sexual self. It is the place where I learned what it means to be queer, to recognize the presence of patriarchy, to attempt polyamory and to become more confident in my sexuality so I could go ahead with new experiences — attending naked parties and orgies and writing a sex column, just to name a few.
Learn to appreciate your sexy side and experience a few frisky things during your time here. Take the Female Sexuality DeCal, have sex in Morrison, do the naked run and talk to people who are willing to share their personal experiences. The wide acceptance and freedom of open sexual expression are among the greatest legacies we have the opportunity to uphold at this university.
On the other hand, maybe Berkeley really isn’t the best place to explore your sexuality. You’ll probably get a dose, and it seems to turn some people into empty-headed, communist skanks, who think that Lawrencian latitudinarianism constitutes an intellectual legacy.
Try getting university recognition, support, and the use of university facilities for your newly founded alternative conservative newspaper, a film society, or a polo team, and see how far you get. But ask Harvard to recognize a BDSM & kinky sex club, and Harvard’s Committee on Student Life is on board, Man.
As the Crimson reports, things will be better for those a little bit different at Harvard now.
“If you come to campus and you have the sexual interests we represent, you may not even suspect that such a group exists,” Michael said.
Munch is also now allowed to apply for DAPA food grants, making it easier to find a convenient time and location to meet, instead of gathering in small dining halls.
But for Michael, the biggest advantage to being recognized comes with “the fact of legitimacy,” he said. “[Our recognition] shows we are being taken seriously.”
Britain’s Daily Mail described the club’s founding and membership.
The group, which goes by ‘Harvard College Munch,’ first began its meetings in one of the university’s dining halls to discuss personal stories and broader issues related to BDSM and other forms of ‘kinky sex’. ...
Munch’s membership has grown to about 30 members from seven when it began more than a year ago and is one of 15 student organization that will be approved by Harvard’s Committee on Student Life this Friday.
None of the group’s members quoted by the media have been willing to give their full names.
One group member, who goes by ‘Marie,’ told the New York Observer that she enjoys ‘Bondage, handcuffs and ice play.”
‘I’ve been hit with a riding crop, a belt, a paddle, canes, a flogger,’ she said, ‘Floggers are my favorite.’
The Vanderbilt Avenue entrance to what used to be a respectable gentleman’s club.
The Yale Club of New York City (Bad idea!) resorted to a membership survey to determine whether the club’s perfectly proper and conventional dress code ought to relaxed.
60% (shudder!) favored relaxing the code, and rather than driving up to New Haven to shoot the people in charge of Yale’s admissions office, the powers that be at the Yale Club reached what our Bolshevik-edited alumni magazine describes as “a Solomonic decision.” (Just imagine what these guys would have said about Chamberlain at Munich!)
In a growing list of work environments and industries, denim has become an accepted and popular addition to sartorial correctness. The Club’s ban on denim in all areas, except the athletic and guest room floors, denies many members the ability to either have a meal or a drink in the Clubhouse. Accordingly, we will now allow denim – neat, clean and in good repair – to be worn on the roof this summer, on the library floor at all times, and in the Grill Room on weekends .
The dress code in the Main Lounge, Tap Room and other areas of the Club will remain business casual.
—————————— Caty Weaver, at Gawker, was deservedly abusive.
In a stunt so preposterous it could only have been dreamed up by a Harvard man, the Yale Club of New York City announced earlier this summer it would permit members to wear the rough twill fabric of Nîmes in select areas of the Clubhouse at certain times.
Yale, which, no offense, is literally a third-rate vocational-technical school that only offers night classes, is frequently ranked among the top universities in the country due to a long-standing clerical error.
At one time it served as a finishing school for America’s elite. In recent decades it has fallen into favor with the kind of people who would be seen in denim out-of-doors on the Sabbath.
Previously, the Yale Club observed a ban on denim in all areas with the exception of athletic and guest room floors. However, recently plain-faced Yalies with calloused hands and backwoods manners had begun grunting about their desire to wear tuxedos of the Canadian variety. To have shirtless wrestling matches in the middle of the club’s fine dining room. To turn cocktail hour into some kind of stockinged feet hootenanny.
Accordingly, the lord of the club, Mr. Yale himself, released a survey to members attempting to gauge how far they were willing to debase themselves.
The results were Fucking. Horrifying.
Over half the respondents reported a desire to wear jeans and probably bikini tops and bedroom slippers that look like cushy oversized sneakers all the time, including in bed and in the shower. Meanwhile, a mere 40 percent of respondents felt it should be legal to shoot and kill a person wearing denim on sight. ...
Thankfully, the non-brothel areas of the Club will remain business-casual.
A liberal academic classmate has been giving me crap again on the class email list for letting Blogads run that “Mutually Beneficial Arrangements” ad in NYM’s right-hand column.
When the notice to review that proposed new ad came in a few months ago, I had conflicting attitudes. On libertarian grounds, I thought I ought to let it run. It did seem to constitute an amusing commentary on society’s morals today after all as well. But I really am also pretty stuffy and I was not entirely comfortable with resembling the Village Voice and lending aid and comfort to the Oldest Profession.
I actually shilly-shallied about making up my mind on that policy issue and then, lo and behold! I found that Blogads actually had it up and running without my explicitly granting permission. I looked into the whole thing, and I was amused to find that NYM readers were clicking through that ad in much, much larger numbers than usual. So I concluded that my readers were also finding amusement and food for thought in that ad.
Readership interest seemed to me to argue decisively for the libertarian side, and I refrained from eliminating the ad.
HuffPo actually did a long feature on what has become a booming business in the Age of Obama last year.
Many 20-somethings are beginning their adult lives shouldering substantial amounts of student loan debt. According to Mark Kantrowitz, who publishes the financial aid websites Fastweb.com and Finaid.org, while the average 2011 graduate finished school with about $27,200 in debt, many are straining to pay off significantly greater loans.
Enter the sugar daddy, sugar baby phenomenon. This particular dynamic preceded the economic meltdown, of course. Rich guys well past their prime have been plunking down money for thousands of years in search of a tryst or something more with women half their age—and women, willingly or not, have made themselves available. With the whole process going digital, women passing through a system of higher education that fosters indebtedness are using the anonymity of the web to sell their wares and pay down their college loans.
“Over the past few years, the number of college students using our site has exploded,” says Brandon Wade, the 41-year-old founder of Seeking Arrangement. Of the site’s approximately 800,000 members, Wade estimates that 35 percent are students. “College students are one of the biggest segments of our sugar babies and the numbers are growing all the time.” ...
Wade, who started Seeking Arrangement back in 2006, can easily identify with the Jacks of the world. He created the site for fellow high-net-worth individuals who “possess high standards but don’t have a lot of time to date the traditional way.”
Wade, whose legal name is Brandon Wey, says he changed his name to better appeal to his clientele. “They’re more familiar with Hugh Hefner than with some Asian guy from Singapore,” he explains. Wade got the idea for Seeking Arrangement more than 20 years ago, while in college at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Watching from the sidelines as his beautiful dorm mates pursued significantly older, moneyed men, Wade fantasized about someday becoming one such man. After business school at MIT and stints at General Electric and Microsoft, Wade dabbled in various start-ups before finally creating his own.
Awkward and shy, he started Seeking Arrangement in part because of his own inability to attract younger women. “To get the attention of the girl I really wanted to meet, I was kind of at the mercy of the statistics of traditional dating sites. I’d write hundreds of emails and only get one or two replies,” says Wade, who is now divorced. He says married men account for at least 40 percent of the site’s sugar daddies. Sugar babies outnumber sugar daddies by a ratio of nearly 10 to 1. Wade declined to disclose how much money he makes from the site. With more than 115,000 sugar daddies averaging $50 a month in membership fees, and some paying more to belong to the exclusive Diamond Club, it’s safe to assume Wade’s investment has more than paid off—and that’s not even including advertising revenue.
Debt-strapped college graduates weren’t included in his original business plan. But once the recession hit and more and more students were among the growing list of new site users, Wade began to target them. The company, which is headquartered in Las Vegas, now places strategic pop-up ads that appear whenever someone types “tuition help” or “financial aid” into a search engine. And over the past five years, Wade says he’s seen a 350 percent increase in college sugar baby membership—from 38,303 college sugar babies in 2007 to 179,906 college sugar babies by July of this year. The site identifies clients who might be students by the presence of a .edu email address, which the site verifies before it will allow a profile to become active. Although, it should be noted that individuals without .edu email addresses can identify as students as well.
At The Huffington Post’s request, Seeking Arrangement listed the top 20 universities attended by sugar babies on the site. They compiled the list according to the number of sugar babies who registered using their .edu email addresses or listed schools’ names on their profiles. New York University tops the list with 498 sugar babies, while UCLA comes in at No. 8 with 253, and Harvard University ranks at No. 9 with 231. The University of California at Berkeley ranks at No. 13 with 193, the University of Southern California ranks at No. 15 with 183, and Tulane University ranks at No. 20 with 163 college sugar babies. ...
“I’m honestly surprised there aren’t more college students doing this,” says Jennifer, not blinking. She’s a 23-year-old recent graduate of Sarah Lawrence College.
Fed up with young, unemployed men her own age, Jennifer recently began trawling for a sugar daddy to pay down about $20,000 in student loan debt. She also wouldn’t mind a clothing allowance or rent money for her studio apartment in New York’s East Village.
A week ago, she boarded a plane to Florida to spend the weekend with a 30-something banker she met on SugarDaddie.com. He told her his house was undergoing a renovation and instead drove her to a nearby hotel, where they spent the night together. ...
“I realize I’m not going to have it forever,” Jennifer says, brushing her blond, wavy hair off to one side. “While I’ve still got it, I’m going to milk it for all it’s worth. I mean, maybe I’ll get swept off my feet. Really, anything could happen.”
It’s clear that the kind of materialist utilitarianism preached by today’s universities combines very effectively with whopping piles of tuition debt and hard economic times to popularize the philosophy expressed by blues singer Ruth Brown in this old number:
Me: Blue hair, silver tube top, fishnets, Knee high black biker boots.
You: Red mohawk, black pentagram gauges, viper piercings.
I was grinding on you in the pit, then we went to the bathroom, and got f***ed up. You had a nice c**k and I was wasted so I let [you] raw dog it in the stall. You were really good and you had to gag me so I would make too much noise.
Anyway I’m pregnant. It’s yours. contact me if you want to be part of your child’s life.”
I looked for photos of those scantily clad young conservative hussies. I really did.
Erick Erickson scolded some of the flaming youth attending CPAC 2012 for their inclination to party.
I am more than a bit shocked by the young men at CPAC this year who just seemingly refuse to grow up or act their age. More troubling, while in 2005 it seemed to be just college kids, as the years have passed it is not just the 18 to 21 year old set, but the twenty and thirty somethings who just can’t seem to grow up. It’s like they started out at CPAC this way in college and each year at their CPAC reunion descend back to their freshman year rush week.
This is more and more common in society and none of us should expect that a behavior increasingly common in society should not spill over into any event including CPAC, but just because something is common does not mean it is responsible or acceptable.
We can be thankful that CPAC is not like the communications war room at Media Matters. But it should be much more than that. The young men and women who go to CPAC are often present or future leaders on their college campuses and within the conservative movement. They go to CPAC and are often on near equal terms at CPAC with people much older than themselves. Unfortunately, too many treat CPAC like spring break.
More than a few of the twenty and thirty somethings who go to CPAC seem to treat it like an extension of their college days doing their best to hook up before passing out. It’s not the majority to be sure, but it is a noticeable minority.
———————————————— Dr. Melissa Clothier was even more censorious about the attire of some of the naughty young conservative girls.
Women will be future leaders, too, and I was dismayed to see how many of them either looked frumpish or like two-bit whores.
First, are these young people being taught anything by their parents? I was at another service-oriented gathering of young women where the girls were in tight bandeau-skirts (you know, the kind of tube-top skirts that hookers wear on street corners?). They were sitting with their mothers. What is going on here?
Second, have women so internalized feminist dogma that they see themselves in only two ways? Butch, men-lite wannabes or 3rd wave sluts who empower themselves by screwing every available horndog man?
Neither path is a way to self-love and respect, mind you. Both tracks will inhibit future success.
Women, if you’re at a conference where you’re learning to be a future politician or wish to succeed in the business of politics, dress the part. No, you don’t have to be in a business suit with pearls. However, modesty is a minimum. So:
1. No cleavage. That’s right. Cover that up. I say “no” in absolutist terms because women will show a tiny bit and that’s okay, but really, in a business environment where ideas are the priority, a dude thinking about your ta-tas is counter-productive.
2. Skirts no more than three finger-widths above the knee. Why do I even have to write this? Well, because someone is allowing these girls out of the house with mini-skirts that reveal too much.
3. Save the stilettos for Saturday night on a date with your boyfriend.
4. Bend at the knee. No, I don’t want to see your butt.
Young women, you degrade your own value by dressing and then acting the ho.
But, really, no pictures?
How can you properly denounce the times and the morals without whipping out your cell phone and recording the goings on at the Fall of Rome for posterity?
You know what I always say? If you’re going to drink too much and scandalize the godly, come sit next to me.
———————————————— Jim Newell, at Wonkette, was appropriately derisive.
It is a true fact that there were a full dozen or two ladies at CPAC this year wearing sparkly cocktail dresses approximately ten million inches above the knee from nine in the morning ’til eleven at night, each being pursued by 10,000 sex-starved young conservative males. Why else would they all go to CPAC? To respectfully take notes on Richard Viguerie’s conservative movement stories from the mid-60s while sipping on a club soda? ...
Boys will be boys, ladies will be evil family-shamers. This is just the way of the world and there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s conservative.
Someone bring that man another drink, and one of you young ladies ought to offer him a tour of the interior of that Marriott gift shop storage closet.
My hatred of the Boomers, who have brainwashed and wasted these kids is boundless. There is nothing wrong with them. They have just never been taught anything but bullshit. They have been betrayed by their parents and their teachers. It is very depressing. The country has been shamefully dumbed down.
Reading all this with just a little partisan bias, I’d say that he then blames left-wing Baby Boomers for both the intellectual vacuity of their young epigones and for the country’s inability to reform its policies and effectively address the current crisis.
They say they want a revolution. To have a revolution, you must have a secular social catechism that accumulates the sort of strategic effects that will trigger a fatal split in our current set of societal elites. In the crisis so far, we’ve only seen dusty formulas trotted out by ancient and creaky Boomers yearning re-fight the glorious battles of youth.
Here’s an unintended side-effect of extended human lifespans: ideological stasis. To butcher Max Planck: a political notion does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. Boomers, given unnaturally long biological life by historical developments they barely comprehend, give unnaturally long life to their foolishly destructive notions. Society may stagnate in some areas while progressing in others with unforeseen effects. This may make the process of sorting out of what’s needed to grapple with our current predicament prolonged, painful, and prone to triggering frustration and outbreaks of corrective violence.
Go tell the Boomers that, in the words of Oliver Cromwell and Leo Amery:
You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!
The dining hall of Berkeley College, one of the twelve residential colleges at Yale.
This is where I used to eat lunch.
Michael Rubin (Davenport ‘94) warns us that Yale is going to hell in a handbasket, the colleges are losing their distinctive individual identities, the left is running the place into the ground, and la patrie est en danger!
For decades, residential colleges have both been Yale University’s chief selling point and the feature by which the university differentiates itself from its Ivy League companions and other top tier universities. All freshmen are subdivided randomly into one of 12 colleges, remaining affiliated with it for four years and living there for three or four years. The net effect is that the colleges provide a sense of community—the chief benefit of a small college experience—with the classroom and campus resources of a much larger university. In a society in which identity groups often self-segregate themselves, the residential colleges also enable Yalies to meet a diverse array of people.
While in theory each residential college is equal, over time, they develop different characteristics. Each college is led by a master. Some masters are disinterested: When I was an undergraduate, I was in Davenport College. In my freshman year, the master was a professor of 19th-century Germany and ran the college like a Prussian general. In my subsequent three years, the master was a retired admiral, who, it turned out, was retired not only from the Navy but also from anything which required effort. In contrast, when I was a graduate student, I was for a year a resident graduate affiliate in Pierson College. Harvey Goldblatt, a professor of medieval Slavic literature, was master and quickly catapulted Pierson into the envy of all other colleges: He knew each student not only by name, but also made an effort to interact with everyone. He cheered on the residential college’s intramural sports teams, and even undertook his own alumni endowment to allow, for example, a spring break trip to Italy for most seniors. Behind the scenes, he was involved in administrative issues and stayed on top of everything from employee morale in the dining hall to the length of time scaffolding remained up after work was completed.
Alas, Yale has changed. In the twelve years since I have left New Haven, faculty members tell me that the number of administrators has almost doubled. While Yale University once encouraged autonomy among students to set up organizations, fix problems, and take responsibility for their own decisions, today, an ever-increasing number of deans get involved to regulate all aspects of life and administration. Whereas Yale students could once choose to excel in extracurricular activities or academics, today there is little differentiation: grade inflation and administration intervention has evened the playing field so that a lazy and irresponsible student will, from his or her record, appear equal to one who in the past might have been able to differentiate themselves academically.
The quest for equality and the bolstering of safety nets has not only blurred distinctions amongst students, but also faculty. At some point, administrators—for whom bureaucracy rather than education is a career—decided that it was unfair to have inequality among colleges. After all, if a college master managed to energize both students and alumni, students in other colleges might resent that another master was not up to the job.
Enter President Richard Levin: Replicating what too often happens in liberal society, rather than celebrating success or encouraging competition to keep up, Levin instead sought to encourage mediocrity by “equalizing” the college experience.
He’s basically not wrong, of course. But the rot set in long, long ago. Kingman Brewster, brilliant, talented, and impeccably bred from the bluest blood of Plymouth Colony descent, personified Yale’s style, ethos, and tradition perfectly, better, one thought inevitably, than any other living, breathing person could, but the King was already leading Yale full tilt down the primrose path of fashion, Modernism, and leftism.
One’s other quibble is that no one really goes to Yale for the residential colleges.
Most people admitted don’t even know about the residential college system, a New World, early 20th century attempt to emulate the British Oxbridge style of elite education, until they have read thoroughly their admissions material.
I think it isn’t really possible for Yale colleges to feature the colorful individuality and eclat, which in earlier days reflected the personalities of great men like Basil Duke Henning (a direct descendant of a famous Confederate Kentucky cavalry officer) or Beekman Cannon (whose marriage and private life inspired Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf). America just does not supply a suitable contigent of illustrious, flamboyant, and idiosyncratic WASP gentlemen scholars anymore. Besides, today’s Yale values “diversity” over cultural continuity and arete.
Out-of-date “Heather Has Two Mommies” controversy to be superseded by the hip new “Kate Has Three Mommies” model?
On a leafy drive in west Los Angeles, at a newly renovated home with cathedral ceilings and a backyard pool, 4-year-old Kate Eisenpresser-Davis’ friends have been known to pose an intriguing question: “Why does Kate have three mommies?”
Lisa Eisenpresser, 44, and her partner, Angela Courtin, 38, share custody of Kate with Eisenpresser’s ex-partner.
When asked to describe their life, Eisenpresser and Courtin respond with the same word: “Normal.” Days are spent searching for the right balance between work and home, and zigzagging through Mar Vista to meetings, school and gymnastics.
Courtin is pregnant. Kate will soon have a sister, Phoebe, conceived from Eisenpresser’s egg and sperm from a donor — the same 6-foot-1 Harvard grad, who scored a 1580 on the SAT, who served as Kate’s donor.
“It’s almost like I’m too busy to be thinking too deeply about being gay and different,” Eisenpresser said.
Maybe she shouldn’t bother. According to a Times analysis of new U.S. Census figures, the Eisenpresser-Courtin-Davises are on the leading edge of change — of a steady evolution in the meaning of “family” and “home” in California.
But what the heck kind of woman not only tells the media that the sperm donor that facilitated her childbearing is a Harvard grad but tells the media his frickin’ SAT scores? (Unfortunately, I can’t evaluate how awestruck I ought to be without more information on whether the reported score was generated before or after the various dumbing-down “renormings” of the scoring system.)
Presumably the singing groups will soon need to update their repertoires to include “Your Daddy Was a Yale Sperm….”*.
A reference to the old-time Yale a capella singing group song “Your Daddy is a Yale Man,” which not every reader may be familiar with, so here are the 2009 Whiffenpoofs performing same:
Anne Merritt complacently describes a list of skills which today’s millenials are apparently content to go without. Her list includes using a standard transmission (no real sports cars for you, kiddies!), cooking anything from scratch (no real food either), building anything, fixing anything, penmanship, and even sharpening a knife.
A man should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
——————————————— SHARPENING A KNIFE
The best method is to use a flat stone. Ideally, to do a really excellent job on a very dull knife, you want three stones: in order of coarseness, a coarse carborundum, a soft Washita stone, and a hard black Arkansas stone, but you can pick up a flat rock off the ground and use it if you have nothing better.
Wet the stone. A light machine oil is best, but water, even spit, will do.
Take your knife and pretend that you are trying to cut a thin slice off the stone, cutting away from you. Do one side and then the other. The angle you want is quite effectively approximated by pretending to be cutting a thin slice off the stone.
Obviously, if you have coarser and finer stones, you start with the coarse and end with the finer stone. Hard black Arkansas
stones are expensive, but you can produce the finest finished edges with one of those.
High-end custom knife makers, like Randall, commonly supply small medium India whetstone in a pouch outside the sheath. One little India stone of that sort is basically adequate.
Newly appointed Yale deans this fall: W. Marichal Gentry, dean of student affairs and associate dean of Yale College, and Shelly C. Lowe, the University’s first assistant dean for Native American affairs and director of the Native American Cultural Center.
In an email to the entire Yale student body, Dean of Student Marichal Gentry reminded students that “consensual sex can be glorious”. We’re used to getting emails about staying safe, saving the Yale Police phone number in our phones, and to always call for help, especially around the biggest drinking weekends of the year. The past two years we have received very standard emails about Spring Fling, Harvard-Yale, and Halloween, but this one definitely caught the eye. With unusually eloquent prose for Dean Gentry he reminded us,
A few years ago when we introduced the idea that consensual sex could be glorious, it seems that was a surprise to many. Consensual sex is having the sex you want, something you can say “yes” to, not something you’re afraid to say “no” to. Glorious consensual sex is something given, not taken, something shared not endured: something that makes you smile the next day, not something that hurts psychologically, emotionally or physically.
The philosopher can hardly avoid laughing at the 180 degree reversal of the Puritan establishment’s position on carnal activity on the part of the persons it supervises in loco parentis.
Yet, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, the annoying tone and conscribed perspective of the cant of indulgence differs only in puerility from the earlier cant of continence.
Yale has acquired a treasure in Dean Gentry. To mark the inauguration of one’s term in office by delivering via email a sermon to the water advising it to run downhill represents a gift for inadvertent comedy amounting to genius.
And I’m doubly grateful to Mr. Gentry for bringing it to my information, via his university appointment press release, that Yale now boasts a dean in charge of Native American Affairs. Who would have imagined that Yale actually had Native American Affairs? We are not Dartmouth, after all.
Sing, Eris, Goddess of Discord, the joys of Diversity!
America’s elite has a problem. It’s skinny jeans and scarves, it’s Bama bangs and pants with tiny, tiny embroidered lobsters, it’s Michael Cera, it’s guys who compliment a girl’s dress by brand, it’s guys who don’t know who bats fourth for the Yankees. Between the hipsters and the fratstars, American intellectual men under the age of twenty-five have lost track of acting like Men—and these are our future leaders. We have no John Wayne, no Clint Eastwood. And girls? Girls hate it.
This all occurred to me at 1:47 a.m. on November 8, 2008. I was on the phone in a hotel hallway, listening to this guy moan about this girl that didn’t want to get it get it, if you will. Out of some cruel, dazzling dark corner of my metal heart, a single thought formulated: Man up.
Intellectual elite girls know this secret. Vanderbilt University stands near the light end of a two-decade tunnel from Southern Playground of the Rich to generic Duke stepsister, but the tunnel produced a foil to the unmanned masses: the 2000s Vandy Girl. Embodied most in a handful of elite sororities, the concept of Vandy Girl requires one shot of the Old Spirit (pearls and champagne and knowing what to say and when to say it), and two shots of this confidence that’s a tic-tac-toe board of goals and timelines.
So, the calculus goes, the girls isolate aspects of masculinity—the drive, the confidence—in lightning rounds of Natural Selection Yahtzee. The men, likewise, drift to the center. They soften. They become Euro basketball players who never played high school ball, falling down like they’ve been shot after every hand check, and telling you they don’t feel respected. Don’t feel respected? Feel? I wouldn’t trust that person in a crisis. Why can’t we all shift in one direction, instead of stumbling into an androgynous mass of feelings-first zombie groupthink?
But perhaps you don’t believe me. Maybe you live in some neo-noir situation where the men smoke on dark corners or in open plains and don’t wear scarves unless it’s cold enough to cut a hole in some ice and pull a fish out, and even then are a little hesitant about the whole thing. I don’t know your life.
They’re not bad guys, not necessarily, this First Team All-Sister Mary Margaret. They’re generally polite, they love their parents, they get good grades at excellent schools. But underneath this sheen of the Good Kid, the Good Kind, thought overcomes action, and emotion overcomes thought.
“It’s selfishness,” my high school principal explained to me. He grew up in Western Pennsylvania and commands respect, whether at my privileged high school, or at his new, post-retirement post at a far rougher school. “It comes down to two questions: ‘What have you done for me lately?’ and ‘How will this look?’ ”
Vanity over pride, selfishness over self-restraint—serious problems that can be traced from one to the next, streaks of light in the dark forming one big circuit.
Yale undergraduate conservative leader Tristyn Bloom found the other young lady’s observations too obvious, and had a different idea of the correct masculine attitude.
I can sympathize with Miss Miller. I’m no fan of limp-wristed milksops, and I can forgive an (almost painfully) redundant essay. But something about this line caught my attention:
“Vanity over pride, selfishness over self-restraint—serious problems that can be traced from one to the next, streaks of light in the dark forming one big circuit.”
Now I don’t know about you, but when I read the phrase “vanity over pride” I didn’t think of metrosexuals, I didn’t think of hipsters, I didn’t think of the Backstreet Boys, or Justin Bieber, or anyone from the 20th, or 21st, centuries at all. Those three words, like some kind of hypnosis-induced trigger, brought before my mind’s eye, in rapid succession: Sebastian Flyte, Peter III, Paul I, and the stereotypical image I somewhere acquired of what most Hanoverian kings must have been like ages 7 through 36. I kept reading, and thought of the whiny, needling tone of Prince Kurbsky’s epistles (justified though it may have been) and Oblomov’s distinctly effete brand of hypochondria (grounded in self-conception as “delicate”, rather than basic neurosis). I thought of decadence and decadents throughout culture and history, from the late Severan Dynasty of Ancient Rome to the Karamazov Dynasty of 19th century Russia.
But no, these are new problems.
“Pain + silence = masculine strength” is certainly an old formula, and one that has waxed and waned over time as the be-all, end-all of manliness. Miss Miller proposes we address its current waning by stubbornly invoking some Frankenstein’s monster with John Wayne’s heavy cadence, Don Draper’s emotional repression and Winston Churchill’s functional alcoholism. “MAN UP!” we cry, hoping they see what we do when we say it.
Now granted I hate fops- really, I do- but I have to go back to Sebastian Flyte for a moment, because I think he has a better answer. There’s a scene early on where Sebastian and Charles are driving together to Brideshead, and Charles is being very inquisitive about the Flytes (for my own convenience I’m referencing the transcript of the 1981 miniseries):
“You’re so inquisitive.”
“Well, you’re so mysterious about them.”
“I hoped I was mysterious about everything.”
“Why don’t you want me to meet your family? Who are you ashamed of, them or me?”
“Don’t be so vulgar, Charles.”