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Monday, March 7, 2011

Yes, Yes, YES ! Push Those Frontiers Of Education Forward One More Time, Baby !

Let no one say that American Education is stultifying, unstimulating, and in severe need of some sort of prodding, at least not at Northwestern University, where, Jessica Bennett reports in THE DAILY BEAST, a Human Sexuality Course included an optional live demo.

Some excerpts from Bennett's report, with emphasis and expurgation mine :

It was bizarre, say students—even for a professor who gets off (excuse the pun) on controversy. On Feb. 21, after a lecture on sexual arousal, students in Northwestern University psychology Professor J. Michael Bailey’s human-sexuality course were given the option to stay for a guest presentation. Most were used to these sessions: With topics like “The Gay Guys Panel” (gay men talking about their sex lives) and Q&A sessions with transgender performers, the optional add-ons were part of what made Bailey’s class one of the most popular on campus.

But this particular lecture was, shall we say, different. Led by a man whose website describes him as a “psychic detective and ghost hunter,” it was called “Networking for Kinky People,” and began with a towel placed neatly on the auditorium stage. Next, a woman took her clothes off, and—with an audience of around 100—lay down on her back, legs spread. As students moved forward from the theater’s back seats, for a closer view, “The girl grabbed the mic,” says Sean Lavery, a Northwestern freshman. “She explained that she had a fetish for being watched by large crowds while having an orgasm.”

Performing Significant Behavioral Research, or Doing the Nasty in Public Just for the Hell of It ? You decide. 
No, the girl involved was not a student. Yes, she was over 21, we’re told—and the guy stimulating her was introduced as her boyfriend. “It was a committed couple who did the demonstration, and it happened at the end of the class,” says Ken Melvoin-Berg, the guest speaker, who helps operate a tour company called Weird Chicago that offers sex tours.
We'll spare you the gory details—but let's just say they involved the woman's boyfriend bringing her to climax on stage using a contraption called a "****saw", and plenty of gasps, not just from flabbergasted students.

Is this actually Ken Melvoin-Berg, who narrated during the demonstration and is pictured holding a version of the sex toy used therein, or merely a prankster, brandishing an oddly customized reciprocating saw ? Again, you decide.
Back on campus, Northwestern is still defending its longtime prof, despite Bailey's comments in another class, quoted in the student newspaper this week, that "Sticks and stones may break your bones, but watching naked people on stage doing pleasurable things will never hurt you." "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's vice president for university relations, Alan Cubbage, told The Daily Beast in a statement. "The university supports the efforts of its faculty to further the advancement of knowledge."
Subsequently, Bennett reported, Northwestern University's President stated that he was ' troubled and disappointed ' upon hearing of the incident, and would launch an investigation into it.

I have only one question about this investigation. Can I help ?   

For more on this throbbingly vital story, check out CBS News' website.

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