07 March 2007

When simply "being gay" isn't enough

You can pad your resume with a sexual sheepskin...

I'm thinkin'... you might not wanna have your parents visit on Sado-Masochism day...

-- Visiting lecturers will address technical aspects of flogging, restraint, and role-play.

Students will 'research' questions (e.g. what constitutes coercion? consent? control? submission? can sexual practices transform our understanding of power?) by the optional performance of selected scenes.
Just trying to imagine what would have happened, if I had told my father I was gonna get a "Bachelor of Sexual Diversity."

Actually... scratch that last thought. I already know.

From the comments: Canadi-anna said...
Learning about flogging "techniques", rather than the mind-workings of those who feel the need to participate in such things is hardly what we expect of a university.

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27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Something to keep in mind the next time Universities demand more money from your paycheque and mine.

Anonymous said...

anon: No joke. I think of it every time they come looking for money, and yet they continue to keep those brain-dead theology departments intact. Seriously, for an institution that glorifies human reason, why they continue to fund faith - the antithesis of reason - is beyond me.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Just wanted to say that I think the title of your post is a bit misleading. As far as I can tell, this course isn't about homosexuality (I'm sure they'll discuss homosexuality, to be sure, but that's not the point).

It's not accurate to imply that Sado-Masochism is an evolutioon of homosexuality. In fact, the first play on the reading list is Antony and Cleopatra, and I'm, pretty sure they were straight.

Also, I think it's a little disingenuous to just quote a part of the course description. By making it sound like this course is simply "Studies in Sado-Masochism" there's an implication that the "performances" refered to are attempts to explore "Sado-Masichism itself, through engaging in actual acts of Sado-Masochism.

This is a DRAMA class that investigates the frequent appearance of Sado-Masochism and S/M imagery in plays and (presumably) film, and part of the investigation of these plays by the students will involve acting out scenes from the plays (like Antony and Cleopatra).

It's an edgy course, to be sure, but I doubt anyone who's read any Shakespeare would be shocked that one could compose an entire course out of an investigation of the portrayal of S&M in dramatic literature.

Canadi-anna said...

You know LKO, I never inferred by the title or anything else that Neo here believed 'sexual diversity' grew out of homosexuality. Maybe you're reading in.

What I see, is the point that most of us think acceptance of homosexuality within the mainstream is 'tolerant' and here's an example of something much more extreme being offered at a publicly funded university. To many of us, that's shocking.

As for the rest of your comment, why is Neo obliged to put any more in his post than he feels conveys his meaning? For the purpose of his premise, it doesn't matter if they are learning about SM-BS etc. for the fun of it, or in reference to 'drama'; just the notion that there is actually a "Centre for Sexual Diversity" is bizarre.

Neo Conservative said...

"Lord Kitchener's Own said... Just wanted to say that I think the title of your post is a bit misleading. As far as I can tell, this course isn't about homosexuality"

You think maybe I'm unfairly inferring that the agenda may be a little light on the hetero side of the equation?

Let's explore a little further...

***

Trans Theory and Politics (UNI455H1S)
Dan Irving, MA, Ph D (Political Science)

Monday 6-9 UC248 L0501

This seminar aims to explore the identities and experiences of "trans" people within the context of contemporary North American society.

***

Queerly Canadian (UNI375H1S)
Scott Rayter, MA, Ph D (English)

Thursday 6-9 UC256 L0501

In this course, we will focus on some Canadian literary and artistic productions that challenge prevailing notions of nationality and sexuality.

***

Shaindl Diamond Phd Student, Adult Education - Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto
lesbian/ gay/ bisexual/ transgender/ queer psychology, multicultural psychology, critical psychology, feminist theory, and equity studies

***

Michael Kennedy Phd Student, Faculty of Social Work
Understanding how rural MSM (men who have sex with men) manage their sexual identities: A grounded theory approach.

***

Cassandra Lord Phd Student, Sociology and Equity Studies in Education and the Collaborative Women's Studies Program - Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto
Queer Diasporas: Exploring how home and nation is imagined for queer people of colour in the Toronto Pride Parade

***

Juan Pereira Marsiaj Phd Student, Department of Political Science
LGT Politics in Brazil

***

Jesmen Mendoza Phd Student, Adult Education - Ontario Institute for
Studies in Education at the University of Toronto
Same-sex partner abuse

***

Gang Pan Phd Student Department of East Asian Studies
gay experience and representation in China

***

As Seinfeld once said, "Not that there's anything wrong with that!"

Neo Conservative said...

*
"Canadi-anna said... just the notion that there is actually a "Centre for Sexual Diversity" is bizarre.

at the very least, in the name of equality, there should also be a "centre for sexual uniformity", don't you think?

*

Anonymous said...

Are you guys for real? What is the issue with the rational investigation of sexual practices being taught as a seperate program at an institution of higher learning?

I will take it immediately to religion, because that is the root of the hang up here. Perhaps we should return to the method of the Church wrt sex - never talk about it, and quickly clean up any priests-diddling-the-choir-boy incidents. There is nothing wrong with a more open dialogue about human sexuality. If you want to talk about unnatural views of sexuality, lets start with the Catholic view of celibacy. Seriously, no other species in the natural world practices forced celibacy - and these people profess to have a monopoly on NATURAL sexual practices? There is nothing more UNNATURAL than Christian guilt and taboo about sex. Give me a friggin' break.

All I have to say is Ted Haggard. Uh huh. Snap.

No really, he snapped.

Neo Conservative said...

*
"anon said... Seriously, no other species in the natural world practices forced celibacy"

so really... what this faculty is all about is freeing the monogamous hetero slave population from their bonds.

well, i thanks you massa.

my wife, who btw, has a graduate degree from trinity college at u of t, after her initial reaction of "oh, my god" and bursts of incredulous laughter, wanted to know if they offer any courses on pedophilia or bestiality... you know, for the latent sexual gourmand in all of us.

actually, her main point was that you can study just about anything at an institute of higher learning, but when you cross over into political advocacy... the program becomes an entirely different creature.

*

Neo Conservative said...

*
"All I have to say is Ted Haggard. Uh huh. Snap."

a wise man once said, "you wouldn't worry so much about what people think of you... if you knew how little they actually did."

get over yourself.

*

Anonymous said...

Neo: If your wife is involved with the faculty of divinity, it's really too bad she wasted all that time studying the mythology of an imaginary friend. She would have been much better off studying poetry, art history or literature. Way better off. Also, a graduate degree doesn't impress me as much as you think it should. I have two and I know dozens of people who have them, but they all managed to choose a field that actually relates to the real world in a meaningful way. Glad to hear she went to UofT, though, it's a good school; however, I've met people from Trinity and dropping the name on me to imply brilliance is pointless.

I'm at a loss to understand why someone who obviously values higher education would feel that there is any reason to restrict the discussion or study of any topic of interest, in detail. And what program doesn't cross over into political advocacy? Are you telling me that there is no political outreach from any of the departments related to theology at UofT? This is the weakest point I've seen in any of your responses, since nearly any supporter of a university program advocates on behalf of their field of study. They are, after all, the closest thing to experts.

I noticed you decided to skip the point about unnatural sexual practices from those who claim to understand human sexuality. A wise move, perhaps a graduate degree from Trinity is useful for something after all.

Anonymous said...

"All I have to say is Ted Haggard. Uh huh. Snap."

a wise man once said, "you wouldn't worry so much about what people think of you... if you knew how little they actually did."

get over yourself.

---------

I thought it was funny, but while we're discussing inflated senses of self-importance: What exactly do you mean by 'get over yourself'? This is coming from someone who just finished posting a diatribe about how they feel that THEIR SUBJECTIVE opinion about a program of higher learning should be enough to convince everyone that not only is it a pointless program, but somehow the fact that it's members advocate on their own behalf implies that it is - bluntly - part of some deviant sexual agenda or conspiracy? And honestly, where do your opinions about this program come from, and why aren't those opinions valid when applied to, say, the Faculty of Divinity?

Get over yourself, indeed.

Shane said...

Forced celibacy?

I ain't a catholic, but one thing I do know. Nobody is coerced into the priesthood. If you can't be celibate, don't VOLUNTEER for the pristhood. Kind of like if you can't help having sex with schoolgirls, you shouldn't be teaching at a high school.

Simple as that. You can't fathom the lifestyle, fine. But just because you can't doesn't mean others can't either. Who is it in this conversation that needs the tolerance and diversity training now?

Canadi-anna said...

Anonymous -- no other species in the natural world practices forced celibacy

No other species laughs, blushes, reads, invents, watches television, writes, eats with implements, fashions natural materials into tools, manufactures, wears clothing, . . .
but sure, let's do it your way. Let's lower ourselves to the basest level and do it the way the dogs do out on the lawn or least watch and learn.

We are higher beings and one would hope that not everything we do and care about is related to our most basic instincts.

Sex has a place -- not necessarily the bedroom, but why shouldn't people at least be surprised that deviant sex plays an instructive, rather than analytic or research role in a place of higher learning -- not because sex is bad or dirty, but because learning about flogging "techniques", rather than the mind-workings of those who feel the need to participate in such things is hardly what we expect of a university.

Of course, despite disagreeing with you (or some other anonymous, who knows) I am dazzled by your brilliance because you were compelled to denigrate those who believe in a higher being. Those of us who subscribe to the God-myth are deluded enough to think that if simple things like a television, a computer, a car or a radio required an intelligent mind to first imagine and then to create them, then something like a complex world, or a magnificent and highly organized universe or a sentient cerebral being like the human would hardly be 'random' and would also require some thought to create.

You have to understand that we believers have simple minds, like Einstein, Aristotle, Benjamin Franklin,Immanuel Kant, Voltaire, Galileo, Adam Smith, Lord Byron, Emerson, Henry David Thoreau ... but you're obviously so much more clever than all of them. Lucky you.

Anonymous said...

Shane: I think you missed my point entirely with regards to forced celibacy.

I'll sum it up: an organization (in general), and its representative members (specifically, priests) that claims to have a monopoly on sexual norms and *natural* behaviour, should pay particular attention to the crass hypocrisy of making such a grandiose claim to moral virtue and an understanding of the natural world when they clearly preach the most *unnatural* sexual practices anywhere in the animal kingdom.

IOW, Catholics can bugger off with their talk about how 'X' is sexually unnatural or deviant. Forcing your upper adherents, role models and dispensers of sexual truth to be celibate would be comedically ironic if it wasn't so bloody pathetic. They have nothing of value to add to the discussion that hasn't already been added by reasonable people.

Neo Conservative said...

*
"If your wife is involved with the faculty of divinity, it's really too bad she wasted all that time studying the mythology of an imaginary friend.

oooh, another swing and a miss...

what on earth makes you so focused on the faculty of divinity? you feeling a little persecuted?

neither of us have a religious affiliation... in fact, my wife, unlike myself, has never been in a church... aside from friends weddings. i was probably 14 when i defied my parents and stopped going.

as for mentioning the degree... it was simply to legitimise her comment... unlike myself, she actually attended u of t.

funny though, how it immediately brought out the "I have two degrees" comment from you... it's something my ten year old son does reflexively... kind of cute, really.

your canard about "restricting the discussion flies in the face of what i said... "actually, her main point was that you can study just about anything at an institute of higher learning..." and your comment that, "what program doesn't cross over into political advocacy?" is simply not credible.

anyway... i don't want to cut into your study time too much. always nice though, to hear the other side of the argument.

*

Anonymous said...

canadianna:

First of all, spare me the 'universse is so complex and beautiful it must have a creator' argument. You know as well as I do that it is garbage, and I'm not going to re-iterate the arguments against that point other than to say that NONE of the natural or physical laws, evolution included, require the presence of a divine being to create order or organization. If you want to allude to the beauty of the universe, I ask where the beauty is in the creation of a parasitic worm that can only survive in the eyeball of an impoverished and starving boy in sub-Saharan Africa? The biologist J.B.S Haldane said "If there is a God, he has an inordinate fondness for beetles" - for every brilliant thinker you bring out of the past (which is a horrible skewed sample to draw from with regards to religious thought), I easily present a contemporary thinker that can attest to the bewilderment the universe creates without the need for a creator. Who created the creator anyways?

I have no issue with Einstein's brilliant work in physics. Adding Aristotle is a little bit pointless since he largely predates even monotheism, but again, his contributions have echoed through the last two millenia. Kant is a strange choice because his argument for God was largely practical, i.e., he argued for God from the existence of morality. I'd rather not get into why that argument is flawed. In any case the contributions of all the people you list are not be downgraded, but they are more important to the extent that they can be taken seperately from their belief in the supernatural, which for most of them, is still quite far.

Hey! Why no listing of Hume, while you're cherry-picking philosophers?

Anonymous said...

neo:

"funny though, how it immediately brought out the "I have two degrees" comment from you... it's something my ten year old son does reflexively... kind of cute, really."

Ooo, how patronizing; however, I believe you brought up the education first, and by your own admission, it was to 'legitimise [a] comment'.

"your canard about "restricting the discussion flies in the face of what i said... "actually, her main point was that you can study just about anything at an institute of higher learning..." "

Granted, but you then go on to dismiss it precisely because it 'crosses over into advocacy', as you say. Are you surprised that I chose to read this as a negative comment towards the program, given that you claim that it a) DOES cross over into advocacy, and b) that this is unusual, and c) that it is a bad thing? You are essentially saying "A is a good thing, except when B. And by the way, B." How did you expect me to take this as an endorsement of A?

As for my comment about political advocacy, please list the programs or departments at UofT that don't advocate on behalf of their chosen professions, and for which these chosen professions don't influence their political views. I expect you should be able to list at least half of them, if your claim is true.

Isn't the aversion to this program just a manifestation of knee-jerk conservative ideology that is ultimately founded in repressive Judeo-Christian taboos about sex?

BTW, don't worry about study time. It's my week off at work. Plus, I rather enjoy some of the mix-ups we engage in on this site. I don't believe this is the first, is it?

Neo Conservative said...

*
"Isn't the aversion to this program just a manifestation of knee-jerk conservative ideology that is ultimately founded in repressive Judeo-Christian taboos about sex?"

whoa... slow down professor.

sometimes a cigar is just a... well... not just something you use to sexually arouse a young, not too bright whitehouse intern.

as for patronising... maybe you should really try asking questions, instead of imputing, "aren't you just an uptight religious bigot", which, for the record, i think i have already answered... more than once.

now, call me wacky, but i guess i'm just one of those small-minded rural freaks... who thinks the world could use a few more physicists and a few less floggers.

*

Canadi-anna said...

anon - First, I never said the universe and everything in it was 'beautiful'. I never suggested the creator is divine or omniscient, only that it is highly unlikely that it is all just a random fluke. A contemporary thinker might argue that the universe didn't require a creator, but only small minds push aside all possibility.

Despite what you might think about God etc., much value comes out of religion and religious thinking, from advocacy to charity much of our modern way of reaching out to the poor and needy grew out of religion and a belief in a higher being and a greater good. (Please spare me the argument about the wars and pain religion you blame on religion - on balance, religion has been a net positive force.)

Simplistic arguments like 'who created the creator?' and 'God must like bugs' are just silly attempts to shift the topic. You're the one who brought up God. Neo was just giving a frame of reference for his wife's comment about the program.

Apparently you're more concerned with what we think of your intellect than with actually arguing the original point because you really haven't said anything besides 'religious people are uptight and judgmental', which is wrong and doesn't address the topic.

You certainly haven't put across what value might be gleaned from this area of study or why it is so offensive to you that someone might find it a bit wacky.

What is your point, BTW? That unless a person thinks there is value to a whole area of learning in university dedicated to sexual deviance, that person must be RC or a prude? That's very narrow thinking.

Neo Conservative said...

*
"anon said... The biologist J.B.S Haldane said "If there is a God, he has an inordinate fondness for beetles."

apropos of nothing in particular, my wife recognised the quote and, at my request, has pulled out her, sorry, softcover copy only, of "An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles" by evans & bellamy.

which is not, as you might now hastily accuse her, an attempt to namedrop or impress... but merely an indication of her... well... fondness for insects in general.

hey, i just felt like sharing.

*

Anonymous said...

Canadi-anna said...

“No other species laughs, blushes, reads, invents, watches television, writes, eats with implements, fashions natural materials into tools, manufactures, wears clothing, . . .
but sure, let's do it your way. Let's lower ourselves to the basest level and do it the way the dogs do out on the lawn or least watch and learn.”

To all: Don’t knock it until you tried it. I bet you all could benefit from being in the pitcher and catcher position of the doggie style technique. You seem to be a little screwy in the head – why not in the ass. LOL.

Anonymous

Neo Conservative said...

*
"anon said... I bet you all could benefit from being in the pitcher and catcher position of the doggie style technique."

as i've commented elsewhere on this blog... on an individual basis, homosexuality isn't even on my radar.

it's homosexuality as a political statement, as some kind of brainless, gotta have an annual "stick a dick in the breeder's faces parade" type of thing... that winds me up.

same thing for even a really radical feminist agenda. go live your principles without insisting everyone march with you in andrea dworkin lockstep.

*

Mugs said...

I have one girl a year away from university and I only hope if she wishes to branch off on the kinky side of things later on in life she uses her smarts and buys a few twenty dollar books rather than waste good money on the type of education thats only fit for rats ,retarded ones at that.

Blazing Cat Fur said...

My elementary scholl principal was amster Strap weilder....

jaycurrie said...

“No other species laughs, blushes, reads, invents, watches television, writes, eats with implements, fashions natural materials into tools, manufactures, wears clothing, . . .

And,when you get right down to it, no other species transcends the lovely Bloodhound Gang lyric like we do:

You and me baby, we ain't nothing but mammals, so let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel

Gay, straight, confused? Sex for humans is complicated. It is not at all a bad idea to study that complication.

Neo Conservative said...

*
"jaycurrie says... It is not at all a bad idea to study that complication."

study whatever kinky esoterica you want to, jay... just don't expect to do it on my dime.

that sound fair?

*

gimbol said...

Neo:

Let me help the preening narcs by explaining it at their level.

Humans can reason, animals act on instinct.

There I just encapsulated all the ciriculum for the humanities being taught at such institutions like U of T.

BTW
Isn't that Iggy and Rae's old Alma Mater?