Sunday, February 17, 2008

Duke's "don't ask, don't tell" Chronicle

Duke spokespeople say the Sex Workers' Art Show recently sponsored by the Women’s Studies Department and other Duke organizations promotes “healthy living.” What's more, it's an expression of "free speech."

Viewers say the show's "art" and "free speech" included a near naked transvestite on all fours with a lit sparkler stuck up his anus while “America the Beautiful” played in the background and a dominatrix with a large, strap-on dildo leading a kneeling, dog-colared "slave" about the stage as she appeared to masturbate while the mostly student audience chanted "faster, faster."

And what are Duke professors saying about the sex show?

We don't know.

The Chronicle hasn't reported whether Professors such as William Chafe, Carla Holloway, Ole Holsti, and Tim Tyson - so loud in their condemnation of the lacrosse team for hiring strippers - agree the sex workers Duke hired, including strippers, were promoting “healthy living” and engaging in "free speech."

Given how often and intensly many Duke professors condemned the lacrosse players for hiring strippers, why isn't The Chronicle interviewing those same professors now?

And why hasn't The Chronicle asked Duke administrators and faculty to respond to Professor John Foubert?

From a Jan. 29 news report:

...William and Mary professor John Foubert … is an education professor and researcher of sexual violence toward women. He cited several studies finding that exposure to pornography made men more likely to commit sexual assault.

"I'm opposed to — and working strongly against — pornography and the industry," Foubert said. "What I believe the Sex Workers' Art Show does is promote the porn industry, and it goes beyond a speech issue. ... The issue here is an issue of public nudity."

If a former sex worker wanted to come to the university to talk about her experiences, the discussion could be "a valuable learning experience for students and faculty," he said.

"You don't have to be naked to describe a past experience."…
For the last few years, we’ve repeatedly been told by Duke adminstrators and faculty that the act of hiring a stripper is a form of violence. Professor Tyson actually said it was not unlike slavery.

Why isn't The Chronicle reporting on what administrators and faculty have to say now?

Why, for example, has The Chronicle failed to ask President Brodhead what his position was on Duke's sponsorship of the sex show? What's his position on the show's returning for a repeat performance next year?

We should know the answers to those questions.

We don't because on the sex show story and a number of other important stories, The Chronicle has adopted a "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Whose interests does that policy serve?

Certainly not most of us in the Duke community.


sceptical said...

Great Post! I am putting it up on Liestoppers Forum. It appears that the new Editors of the Chronicle, led by David Graham, are following the "move on" agenda of the Duke administration. Graham has a reputation for being a "suck up."

Anonymous said...

Interesting...I didn't know that you were a member of the Duke community.