Wednesday, 14 December 2011

I also have a cousin who studies Sanskrit, one who does the Ironman and one who lives in Vermont

Last night for dinner we baked one of the 250 pounds of cod that my cousin caught off the coast of Newfoundland this summer.  His wife is a born and bred Newfoundlander, and they spend a lot of time on the East Coast (clearly much of it fishing).

I mention this because I have a wide and varied family featuring many, many cousins (anyone remember Mr. Kotter and his endless uncles?) all of whom enrich my life in all sorts of ways.

Tonight's featured cousin keeps me informed of the travesties against humanity political scandals at her women's college.

Latest ridiculousness features an article about S-E-X published in the college paper that led to the paper losing its funding.

Sex? In college? What next - a keg party? A Pro-choice rally?

But this is no ordinary school tabloid. It's the only co-ed paper at a religious women's college.  And the article is a first person account written by a girl who allegedly went what used to be called all the way with her boyfriend before they were married.  Part of the controversy was that said boyfriend removed his yarmulke prior to the illicit encounter.  (Wondering if it would've been worse had he left the kippa on during some of the dicier moves).

Publication met with complete pandemonium.  Postings, e-mails, petitions, hell - there were whole editorials about this.  I think I saw somewhere that the paper's $500 of school funding was withdrawn.  They took the story down, which created even more internet hits, so they put the story back up.  Media coverage included the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

I am trying to figure out why everyone's knickers are in a twist.

1.  Girls should not be having sex before they are married.
2.  If they are having sex, they should not be talking about it.
3.  If they are having sex and talking about it, they should not be writing about it.
4.  If they are having sex, talking about it and writing about it, they should not be publishing it.
5.  If they are having sex, talking about it, writing about it and publishing it, for Crissakes, they should not be reading about it.

One problem with all of the above.

This is not an article about a young woman caught in the throes of passion getting it on with the doorman in the alley behind the bodega.

This is about some college chick who thought premarital was a good idea but then realized it wasn't for her.  Don't make the same mistake I did, girlfriends. It's not what its cracked up to be.

Maybe instead of panicking, the censors should have actually read the article.

Had they bothered to take a look, they would've seen that:

1.  The couple were in a committed relationship (with each other)
2.  They were religiously aligned (aka both Orthodox Jews)
3.  They were both of consenting age
4.  They were off campus at the time

and to me, the absolute cherry on the sundae, if you will -


Censors, you missed the boat here.  You could have had a great cautionary tale.  A "lessons learned".

Instead you ended up with an embarrassing lack of commitment to freedom of speech, blatant sexism and more internet hits than you really deserved.

And all I ended up with was a few pounds of cod.


  1. what are you saying... religious Jews have sex before marriage on occasion.... it's a Shanda! Why did I convert?????

  2. ames- you know i always appreciate your humour and am a huge fan of your blogging.

    however, two reports are incorrect and i think you are misinterpreting some of the key elements of the situation.

    a. it is not an all female newspaper, it is actually the only officially co ed one.
    b. the kippah removal bit was not at all a point of contention. i don't think people even realized that he did that.

    i did appreciate your point about her having second thoughts. i think that speaks to the crux of article, more than any other part. in writing the article, the author was was trying to convey her "dual life" and expose a reality that is otherwise ignored (or so she obviously felt). Premarital sex for many orthodox women would create a notion of a "dual life" because it is antithetical to the tenants of the religion to which they devote their lives to.

    people were outraged because:
    a. the article was of no literary value, yet it was published anyways.
    b. people felt that the only reason it was published was to create controversy (which it apparently did).
    c. it did not open dialogue like people had hoped an article of this nature would.

    finally, i think the real shame of it all, the true tragedy (more than the censorship/defunding/media attention) all is that students feel so constrained but the university, that they must rebel in way. this rebellion takes the form of sex scandal articles. if the university were to loosen its grip they have on its students, sex scandal articles would not be necessitated.

    i think thats it, and i otherwise enjoyed the read.

  3. @Anon - thanks for your comments. I will edit the part about the all-female paper. As for the kippa being controversial - I got that from some comments I read online so I'm not going to take it out. xxoxo