Instead, the paper’s inbox promptly bulged with outraged emails, and a Facebook page and online petition materialized literally overnight, calling for action to be taken against the paper for printing “The Prestige.” Why? Because the sex wasn’t consensual! Yes, this was a cartoon, the less hysterical opponents acknowledged, but it nonetheless condoned “a culture of rape” by encouraging the misogynistic objectification of women. Judging from the Facebook page, the harshest criticism came from women whom the Sexual Revolution might have liberated, but not into the arms of a man.
Rapidly aroused from a state of shock, Exponent editor-in-chief Zoe Hayes owned up to their grievous sin. How could she and her fellow editors have been so blind to the obvious? Her effusive apology ran in the following Monday’s edition. As the grammar and illogic suggest, it was a quickie.
“When we saw the sex position of the week graphic, we weren’t thinking in terms of rape,” she wrote. “When we conceived of the position, we assumed that everyone involved would meet our criteria for consent, which are conscious, coherent, and into it. When we saw the graphic, that’s what we, in retrospect mistakenly, assumed was taking place—consensual, albeit kinky, sex between three adults.”
Despite the cartoonish figurines being unable to explain themselves, the sentence was swift: Rape had been made the subject of (attempted) humor.
“But I’ve heard the stories; I’ve heard all the scary numbers,” Miss Hayes seemed to remind herself in self-recrimination. “There is a rape every 21 hours on an American college campus. Only 10 percent of college women who are raped report the rape. One in four women will be sexually harassed, abused, or raped in her life. How could I have forgotten that sex isn’t always consensual?”
This shan’t ever happen again, she promised. Furthermore, they were going to do something about it.
Their supine apology and pseudo-courageous call to action quickly quelled the protesters and blunted a typically wishy-washy liberal reprimand from the dime-a-dozen academic functionaries who preside at Purdue, just as do their clones elsewhere in academe. The day after Miss Hayes’s apology, the paper ran a letter from the graduate student who started the Facebook group. Not only was Michaela Null propitiated, but she enthusiastically endorsed The Exponent‘s pledge to “use its platform to educate, spread awareness, and make a positive impact” by “rais[ing] awareness about sexual assault and misogyny.”
First, the editors could use some education themselves: a little light to dispel Miss Hayes, if you will.
Several considerations never dawn upon the aggrieved editors of this “educational institution”:
• First, did they consider that featuring a cartoon strip suitable to the funny pages of Hustler (if that, given the artistry’s poor quality) might be, well, wrong? Morally wrong, of course—granted, moral considerations would have slippery traction with Sex Revolution babies—but also inappropriately sleazy for a highly ranked institution of higher education.
• Second, that both behavior and ideas have consequences. Running such cartoons, and in an editorial context condoning sexual profligacy, encourages behavior that, consensual or not, does real harm. The harm is not just spiritual and moral—psychological, if you’re a secularist—but physical in measurable ways: unwanted pregnancies (and abortions), diseases, the stray suicide, ad nauseam.
• Lastly, that the sorest losers in the Sexual Revolution are the same girls who, freed from sexual morality, are shocked to find themselves in compromising positions when getting primal with the stronger sex—often under the influence of alcohol, women getting as stinking drunk as sailors being another of those benighted taboos jettisoned in our enlightened age. Might The Exponent be contributing toward the sexual-assault statistics Zoe rolled out like a brainwashed zombie, i.e., perfect product of public education? “OMG!”
Might any “constructive dialogue” include such considerations? You can bet your first-edition signed copy of Sexual Behavior in the Human Male against it. In the Temple of Tolerance, faith and reason are the unknown gods.
Yes, the children are in error, but they should be forgiven. They know not what they do. Sexuality was desacralized and converted into a commodity well before these college students were born in the late 80s and early 90s. What they need is a classic education in good old-fashioned right and wrong. Such an education is not really old, however. Actually, it’s timeless. Virtues do not change, for they are the pillars supporting the natural law governing all human relations, in all places and at all times. Although that law never changes, it can be denied at one’s peril. Alas, traditional morality and her virtues, like the heroes of Western Civilization who exemplified them, have been jettisoned from the academic mainstream like flotsam clogging the flow of tolerance. Such an education cannot be bought for the $20,000-$30,000 per year charged by such august educational institutions as Purdue University unless it happens purely incidentally.
Matthew A. Rarey enjoyed temporary Hoosier status during his halcyon days of youth at Wabash College (class of 2000). He writes from Chicago.
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