Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

Bound and gagged at the University of New Mexico

So apparently the beat goes on and on and on at the University of New Mexico in regards to what the the Daily Lobo now refers to as creative writing professor Lisa Chavez posing in sexually suggestive photos with a student.  Prior descriptions have been Chavez engaging in an s&m oline performance with a student or students whose student status had expired at the time of the performance. 

No matter that the so-called student protested that the performance was consensual and that she was not a student at the time of the performance; no matter that the UNM administration concluded that the performance was irrelevant to the mission of the University of New Mexico, and that UNM would not intervene to punish, censure or do anything in reference to Lis Chavez.  No matter since English department chairman David Jones resigned Wednesday after battling turmoil within the department for nearly a year.

Convincing the English department faculty that Chavez’s out of class performances were of no relevance to her performance as a creative writing professor would be similar to convincing Republicans that Sarah Palin’s performance as a mother and specifically as a hockey mom was of no relevance to her being competent to be Vice President.

In the dankprofessor’s opinion, the UNM faculty reaction to Chavez and the Republican reaction to Palin represent the worst of the worst pulp fiction. But pulp fiction sells, and the English faculty just can’t get beyond their fictive and apparently salacious imagery of the Chavez performance.

So now that David Jones has resigned as Chair of the English Department, he has “refused to to discuss his resignation further, publicly or privately.”  Such appears to be a wise decision to the dankprofessor.  However,

“some faculty members expressed outrage after Jones sent an e-mail Tuesday that lists “ground rules” to abide by during the meetings.

The e-mail asks members of the department to maintain confidentiality, “not discussing specific comments/events in the department with the press or in a legal context.”

One tenured faculty member said she and other faculty find the confidentiality clause appalling.

“The ‘facilitated discussions’ are a facilitated muzzling or gagging,” she said.

She said the rule violates faculty members’ First Amendment rights.

So the English faculty does not want to be bound and gagged. But isn’t it the case that at least some of this faculty want Lisa Chavez to be bound and gagged?  Or to put it another way- they want UNM administrators to bound and gag Lisa Chavez, they want others do the dirty work for them.

If there was a a basic respect for freedom of expression amongst the English faculty at UNM, no turmoil would have occurred.  Of course, the irony is that in programs such as creative writing such respect should be axiomatic.  But as Lisa Chavez knows, as open minded and creative faculty know, as the dankprofessor knows, nothing is axiomatic in university life.

September 15, 2008 Posted by | academic freedom, consensual relationships, ethics, higher education, lisa chavez, sadomasochism, Sarah Palin, sex, sexual politics, University of New Mexico | Leave a comment

The coupling of McCain and Palin

When it comes to mate selection, John  McCain certainly does not engage in any pretentious behavior.  He doesn’t spend very much time personally wooing a prospective mate.  All the pre-selection stuff is handled by his staff.   His first glance and his very first gut reaction most likely tells him whether or not this is the one.  No personal courtship is needed; one date is enough to find the good mate.

So the fact that the good senator immediately wanted Sarah Palin as his running mate should come as no surprise.  He could tell she had what it takes to please him and his base.  She could help him get what he wants.  No need to vet her about Pakistan or Georgia.  McCain knows that politics is in part about love and romance and so the whirlwind began.

There is an uncanny similarity relating to his choice of his other mate, Cindy McCain.  With Cindy it was also love at first sight; he knew right away that she was his wife to be; the complicating problem for him was that he already had  a wife.  This situation was resolved via divorce and then a John and Cindy marriage.
And the fact that both John McCain’s mates were beauty queens should come as no surprise.  Being surrounded by beauty never hurts.   Beauty is power and power is what all politicians want.  Being surrounded by beautiful women affirms for self and many others that one has the power.

And it should not be surprising that both Cindy and Sarah are significantly younger than the senator; Cindy by 18 years and Sarah by 27 years.   Surrounded by beauty and youth one can feel “eternally ” young at heart.  Such may be the case why McCain apparently is unable to give serious consideration to the possibility that his VP selection will become President if he should die.  For McCain it may be that his whole life affirms that he transcends death; he is the survivor par excellence.

I do not mean to indicate that there is no cynical manipulation going on here.  Politics is most often a combination of cynicism and romance.  Certainly John McCain believes that Sarah Palin can help him get a higher percentage of the women’s vote.  But if he thinks that this will help him gain the vote of Hillary supporters and feminist women in general, McCain is engaging in unrestrained pipe dreaming.

For many feminists, a John and Sarah pairing symbolizes their dreaded male patriarchy- that of the older male being in the power position with the younger woman being in the subordinate position.  Nothing new here; it’s the same old same old.  In fact, the more radical feminists might very well argue that this pairing is not a consensual one since for them where there is differential power, there can be no consent.  In other words, they could hold that the Governor was unable to say “no” to the Senator.

What may be even more galling to feminists is that Sarah apparently holds herself up as a replacement for the displaced Hillary.  Of course, Hillary can no longer be a yes woman to anyone. Sarah playing the role of yes woman to John is the antithesis of feminism. 

As for the conservative base, such is entirely another story.  The older male/younger female is a traditional acceptable pairing.  No matter that Palin is inexperienced in national and international affairs. The good VP and the good wife follow traditional values.  And in this framework all that Sarah has to do is to follow the wishes of her running mate who will then become her President.  And just as the devoted wife who loses her husband thru death often inherits the wealth and status of her husband, such would be the case for the devoted VP who then becomes President Palin.

Of course, when it comes to love and politics, one knows that one does not know.  McCain could dump Palin before election day.  Of course, it has happened before.  It was the the Democratic candidate in 1972 George McGovern who dumped his VP choice Tom Eagleton when Eagleton was no longer seen as useful to his candidacy.   And the case of Spiro Agnew illustrates that in dire circumstances a VP can be forced to step down so that a Spiro Agnew cannot become President.

So if the McCain/Palin ticket becomes the winning ticket and then President McCain becomes seriously ill, it could be that Palin is forcibly removed from office and then if McCain dies, Nancy Pelosi will become President Pelosi.

If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com
Guest commentaries should also be submitted for consideration
to the same email address.
Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessor™
© Copyright 2008

August 29, 2008 Posted by | feminism, John McCain, Sarah Palin, sexual politics | Leave a comment


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