Tuesday 4/29/14

    1. Obscenity from Gloria Mundi in Indianapolis
    2. Swarthmore’s version of in loco parentis
    3. Contra mundi on equality
    4. You can blather, but we can read between the lines
    5. Facts versus Wisdom
    6. Meanwhile, in Rome …

1

The NRA had a shindig in Indianapolis over the weekend. Behold, the Krustian Republican woman who would be one heartbeat away from the Oval Office:

So far as I can see, the last semi-Christian thing this vulgar self-parody did was not abort or abandon Trig. Orthodox Rod Dreher and Lutheran Mollie Hemingway both are pretty incensed and eloquent, but I think Rod actually understates it. Palin literally (and I know she wasn’t speaking literally; she was dog-whistling) was proposing to turn a Christian sacrament into an instrument of torture.

Not. Even. In. Jest.

2

Swarthmore has a [fill in your word here] problem. It “allegedly has a culture of covering up sexual assaults.” Here’s what some mean by sexual assault:

[I]n the midwinter of 2013, Sendrow says, she was in her room with a guy with whom she’d been hooking up for three months. They’d now decided—mutually, she thought—just to be friends. When he ended up falling asleep on her bed, she changed into pajamas and climbed in next to him. Soon, he was putting his arm around her and taking off her clothes. “I basically said, ‘No, I don’t want to have sex with you.’ And then he said, ‘Okay, that’s fine’ and stopped,” Sendrow told me. “And then he started again a few minutes later, taking off my panties, taking off his boxers. I just kind of laid there and didn’t do anything—I had already said no. I was just tired and wanted to go to bed. I let him finish. I pulled my panties back on and went to sleep.”

(Philadelphia Magazine) I will say no more lest I be accused of “blaming the victim.”

Swarthmore represents a peculiar inversion of the “in loco parentis” once reliably promised by small liberal arts colleges: Students expect — and are granted — near-total autonomy. But that no-consequences freedom also sets up an expectation that students will be inoculated from any harm that befalls them on campus. I spoke at length with roughly a dozen victims of alleged sexual misconduct at Swarthmore and, through a Freedom of Information Act request, obtained the Title IX complaint that detailed the stories of a dozen more. (Swarthmore’s Phoenix and Daily Gazette published several such accounts, too.) One theme was constant: The women felt betrayed less by their perpetrators, from whom they never expected much, than by their college.

I’m 40+ years ahead of the times. I said after some Junior and Senior women at my Alma Mater, who asked to be spared “open visitation,” were mocked and told they could go live in an underclassmen dorm (whereafter one of them was sexually assaulted on an elevator in her dorm), that “open visitation,” a repudiation of in loco parentis, would last until the University got sued by the parents of a co-ed murdered in her room by one of the psychos who roamed women’s dorm halls at night (though the restrooms were shared and required leaving one’s room).

But I underestimated the willingness of lotharios, nymphomaniacs and college administrators to imperil innocent bystanders so that coitus and other sexual variants could be practiced in dorm rooms, 24 x 7 x 365.

Instead of wrongful death lawsuits, we’re getting morning after remorse, by co-eds, who blame the administration, not without cause:

When Sendrow told [Elverson] she had been raped, he was incredulous. He told her the student was “such a good guy,” she says, and that she must be mistaken. Sendrow left his office in tears. She was so discouraged about going back to the administration that it wasn’t until several months later that she told a dean about the incident. Shortly thereafter, both students graduated, and Sendrow says she was never told the outcome of any investigation. (Elverson, whose position was eliminated by the school last summer, emailed me that he would answer the “great questions” I raised, but never wrote back.)

Well, yes, I guess that if “no means no” even – oops! there I go again blaming the nympho along with the lothario – then this “good guy” is a rapist.

If her account is true, then yes, it was rape. But come on: what do you expect from a culture that brings together college-age men and women, and puts almost all of them in co-ed dorms? What do you expect from a culture that values casual hook-up sex … until suddenly, it doesn’t? Believe me, I’m not excusing what this guy allegedly did. If that were my daughter, I would be raising hell with the school (and if that were my son, I would be raising hell with him). But it does seem clear to me that college kids want to live in an environment in which they are free to engage in consequences-free sex with no interference from Mommy and Daddy (= the college administration), except when something goes wrong, in which case they rage at Mommy and Daddy for not protecting them from themselves. And Mommy and Daddy, like nice liberals who desperately want to be liked, and to be progressive, dither and wring their hands and try to pretend that what’s happening isn’t happening, that the decadent way their sons and daughters live isn’t as bad as all that.

(Rod Dreher)

Here’s the bottom line: A college that won’t tell you what to do because you’re an adult has no business protecting you from the consequences of your bad decisions or protecting the person you decided badly with. If someone rapes you, call the cops, not the Dean.

And if anyone in Swarthmore’s administration tries to criticize any church for softness and coverup of anything, I’m going wherever Swarthmore is to puke all over the Aministration building hallway.

3

One law for the ox and the lion is oppression.

(William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, via Richard Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences) That one’s good enough for adding to standing advice.

4

Richard Weaver had the admirable ability to unpack civic pieties:

A kindred notion is that democracy means opportunity for advancement, or in the language of the day, “a chance to be a success.” Obviously this contention presumes hierarchy.

An election, is after all, a highly undemocratic proceeding; the very term means discrimination. How is it possible to choose the best man when by definition there is no best?

Richard Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences)

5

[T]he average man has become imbued with this notion and imagines that an industrious acquisition of particulars will render him a man of knowledge. With what pathetic trust does he recite his facts! He has been told that knowledge is power, and knowledge consists of a great many small things.

(Richard Weaver) That one hits close to home. I collect particulars as if I’ll be synthesizing something useful from them.

6

This is where I come from.

There reportedly were some big religious doings in Rome Sunday. One of my classmates from the Evangelical Christian high school I attended was there – “there” meaning Rome.

According to a Facebook tagged photo, he was hangin’ with the folks at Chiesa Evangelica San Lorenzo.

Meanwhile, many of my high school classmates weren’t in Church at all, and I, the older brother, wouldn’t necessarily have predicted 47 years ago that this prodigal would come home. So I count my blessings that he did come home, even if it’s a home that thinks waterboarding an apt baptism for terrorists, and look forward to a chat at our 50th reunion, as Facebook is the only place I’ve seen him since graduation.

* * * * *

“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.