I wanna go to this class!!!!!
An OMG moment at Northwestern
A peep show during class? Beats some lecture on Indo-European languages or trying to figure when you'll flunk out of Engineering Graphics 103
March 3, 2011
Finally, the high cost of an American college education has been explained.
Naturally, there are professor salaries and dorm upkeep and research expenses. But there are always other unpredictable costs at a place like Northwestern University.
Like the cost of the sex shows.
Like the hundreds of dollars NU is paying a guest speaker who brought a couple to "perform" after a wildly popular class called Human Sexuality, which is taught by the wildly popular professor John Michael Bailey.
The class usually has about 600 students for each lecture. But recently, in an optional after-class setting, a mere 100 or so students watched a sex show.
They weren't at the Admiral Theatre, protected by the guys of the 36th Ward.
No, they were in Evanston, in a palace of higher learning.
Speaker Ken Melvoin-Berg, co-owner of Weird Chicago Tours, began by warning the students about what they'd see. Then a non-student couple he brought with him began to demonstrate. The woman got naked, and her male partner approached her with a mechanical sex toy called a "(bleep) saw."
I leave the details to your imagination. But the woman reportedly enjoyed her role to the fullest.
"It was a fun and educational experience," sex guide Melvoin-Berg told the Tribune. And the students, he said, "seemed to be incredibly pleased. We had a number of them that got closer and closer."
Fun and educational. Closer and closer. Oh, I get it.
Either way, it sure beats some boring lecture on Indo-European languages or hearing Beowulf read in the original or trying to figure when you'll flunk out of Engineering Graphics 103.
But, hey, even though I was a Merchant Marine sailor several centuries ago and spent enough time in Third World ports, I've never seen or heard of a "(bleep) saw" until now.
So I ask NU students and their parents to ponder the great mystery:
Does the sex show at NU devalue the diploma, is it merely creepy, or does it actually give new meaning to the term "Wildcats"?
Bureaucrats at NU seemed solidly in support of professor Bailey's sex class, according to a bold defense from the public relations office:
"Northwestern University faculty members engage in teaching and research on a wide variety of topics, some of them controversial and at the leading edge of their respective disciplines. The university supports the efforts of its faculty to further the advancement of knowledge."
Like penetrating a naked woman with a mechanical sex toy called a "(bleep) saw"?
We asked the Northwestern public relations guy who wrote the defense, Al Cubbage, to explain his statement about professors being "at the leading edge" of their disciplines.
Mr. Cubbage, how does this particular after-class session further the "advancement of knowledge," as the press release stated?
"I think I'll let the press release speak for itself," said Mr. Cubbage.
Professor Bailey, who was unavailable for an interview, issued a statement saying he saw no "legitimate reason why students should not be able to watch such a demonstration."
He defended his decision to put on the show while admitting he had "apprehension" — but not about how it affected the students. "I was worried that there could be repercussions that would threaten the valuable speaker series that I have built over the years," he wrote.
Repercussions? How about keeping your job, professor?
On the Daily Northwestern comment board underneath its story, which broke the news, one student tried to put things in context.
"The entire class is structured in a very specific way to serve a very specific purpose: observational data on the 600 students for Prof. Bailey," wrote the student. "Don't hate on him for selling a brilliant research idea to the school. Each term he teaches this class he gets 600 undergraduates to observe as he presents controversial data and research, and you better believe he takes notes about what he sees and what he finds interesting about our reactions. He's even overt about his desire to use the class for survey data, so I'm not sure what the surprise is."
At first, I thought it was creepy enough that he'd put such material before students and pretend it was about education. Then I thought it was even creepier that Northwestern would defend such absolute nonsense in that ridiculous statement about how they support higher learning.
But if this student is correct — and it sure sounds reasonable — using students as sexual guinea pigs to study them and chronicle their reactions, well, that's even more revolting.
It also makes me wonder, if this kind of thing is done at a great university, then how far can we define deviancy down?
If this bizarre peep show can be offered up as higher education, then what's the next "edgy" thing? How do you get any edgier?
Don't tell me. I don't want to know.
When I heard about this, I called a friend of mine, a good man and a good dad. One of his children attends that costly university.
"What do the kids say, OMG, right?" he said. "Well, this is an OMG moment if there ever was one. OMG."
Exactly. And it only costs $52,000 a year.