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« The Fiend in Human | Main | Friday Cat Blogging »

February 26, 2004

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Beth

If, as I have read, it was common at Yale in Naomi Wolf's time for faculty and students to establish intimate relationships, I have a hard time accepting Wolf's claim. She was no innocent by her own admission. But in the end, what is most extraordinary about Wolf is the way in which she has voluntarily stripped herself of her achievements and her status and reduced herself to a victim, nothing more. The implication here is that women are psychologically weak: One hand on the thigh, and they never get over it.

He made a pass. Big deal.

Annam

Excellent post, and a point that occurred to me many times during the scandal over Trent Lott's remarks.

I only wish to add that the sorts of people indulging in historical relativism in both cases are otherwise -- like Harold Bloom for that matter -- fulsomely committed to universal values and opposed to cultural relativism.


Katie

What disturbs me--and has, as far as I can tell, gone unmentioned in the media response to Wolf's article so far--is that it remains an open secret at Yale that Harold Bloom continues to make passes at female students. That is, I graduated from Yale less than a year ago, and I had classmates who had been the object of Bloom's efforts of seduction--and this after sexual liaisons between faculty and students have been banned for more than 20 years.

Of course, my acquaintances, like the 20-year-old Naomi Wolf, also chose not to press charges. Whether this was because they felt that "He made a pass. Big deal," to quote the poster above, or because they felt that they had little to gain personally by engaging in a lengthy "he said, she said" sexual harassment hearing process and antagonizing this intellectual giant, I'm not sure.

Mr Ripley

Indeed, there's this weird academic analog to the Glass Closet when it comes to abusive profs. As Katie says, everybody knows what it's like to be a woman alone in an elevator with Bloom, and everybody over fifty has heard stories of Bloom having been a guest-lecturer at this or that venue and expected his hosts to line up "co-eds" for him to amuse himself with. Where Paglia and Wurtzel were on this one I dunno; but my guess is that they're not the kind of people sexually-harrassed students tend to confide in.

But the topic at hand is the "things were different" excuse, which made me physically ill to read. Thanks for calling b.s. on that one.

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