Patterico's Pontifications

5/12/2015

UC San Diego: It Depends On What The Definition Of “Nude” Is

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:08 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Visual Arts 104A: Performing the Self :

Using autobiography, dream, confession, fantasy, or other means to invent one’s self in a new way, or to evoke the variety of selves in our imagination, the course experiments with and explores the rich possibilities available to the contemporary artist in his or her own persona

After a parent complained that her daughter was forced to take her class final in the nude or risk not passing, UC San Diego Associate Professor Ricardo Dominguez confirmed that students in his Visual Arts 104A: Performing the Self class are indeed required to take the final in the nude in order to receive a passing grade.

In describing the class, Dominguez said, “The class focuses on the history of body art and performance art in relation to the question of the self or subjectivity.”

Explaining the lead-up to the final:

“At the very end of the class, we’ve done several gestures, they have to nude gesture. The prompt is to speak about or do a gesture or create an installation that says, ‘what is more you than you are.'”

He said that 20 students strip down, including him. He calls it a performance of self, in a dark room lit only by candlelight.

“It’s a standard canvas for performance art and body art,” Dominguez said.

Additionally, Dominguez offers this reassurance:

“It is very all [sic] controlled.”

Well, thank God for that, right?

Dominguez gives students who are uncomfortable stripping down the option to be either figuratively or emotionally naked.

And in 11 years of teaching the class, he claims to have never had a complaint and that students know what to expect when they sign up for the class.

In response to media attention, Chair of the Visual Arts Department, Dr. Jordan Crandall released the following statement to media:

“The concerns of our students are our department’s first priority, and I’d like to offer some contextual information that will help answer questions regarding the pedagogy of VIS 104A.

“Removing your clothes is not required in this class. The course is not required for graduation.

“VIS 104A is an upper division class that Professor Dominguez has taught for 11 years. It has a number of prompts for short performances called “gestures.” These include “Your Life: With 3 Objects and 3 Sounds” and “Confessional Self,” among others. Students are graded on the “Nude/Naked Self” gesture just like all the other gestures. Students are aware from the start of the class that it is a requirement, and that they can do the gesture in any number of ways without actually having to remove their clothes. Dominguez explains this – as does our advising team if concerns are raised with them. There are many ways to perform nudity or nakedness, summoning art history conventions of the nude or laying bare of one’s “traumatic” or most fragile and vulnerable self. One can “be” nude while being covered.

“There are many comments from former students that are visible online. These comments clarify the matter quite directly. It is important to listen to students who have actually taken the class. Again, the concerns of our students are our department’s first priority.”

UCSD yearly tuition: $31,000. That’s a heck of a lot of money for parents to pay to give some pervy professor the opportunity to see their young daughters (and sons) in the nude.

–Dana

Precious University Students Too Delicate for Roman Mythology Or Rooms With White People

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:59 pm

Classical Mythology Too Triggering for Columbia Students:

In Columbia University’s student newspaper, four members of the school’s student Multicultural Affairs Advisory Board call on professors to be more sensitive when teaching provocative or controversial material… such as the Roman classical poet Ovid.

Ovid is best known for The Metamorphoses, a 15-book narrative poem that covers more than 250 mythological stories. Written entirely in dactylic hexameter, The Metamorphoses inspired future writers from Dante to Chaucer to Shakespeare. Whether or not it’s something today’s students should spend time on may be up for debate, but I think most people can understand why an instructor teaching it would focus on things like the language and imagery invoked.

Not these Columbia students, however. See, some of the myths Ovid recounts involve sexual violence. Zeus’ daughter Persephone (aka Prosperina), for instance, is kidnapped, raped, and taken as a bride by Hades, king of the underworld. The op-ed writers suggest this ancient Greek and Roman myth is too triggering to be taught in today’s classroom…

University Report: A Room Full of White People Is a Microaggression:

According to a new report released by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, just “walking into or sitting in” a classroom full of white people is a microaggression in itself.

“Students of color reported feeling uncomfortable and unwelcomed just walking into or sitting in the classroom, especially if they were the only person of color, or one of a few,” stated the report, which designated the experience a microaggression.

These people are too good for microaggressions. Someone needs to give them a macroaggression, upside the head.

NOW To President Obama: That’s “Senator” Warren To You, Buster (Video Added)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:36 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Today President Obama was accused of sexism by the National Organization for Women for referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren… by her first name. Yes. Elizabeth. The accusation came after the president commented about Warren’s criticisms of his free-trade deal:

“The truth of the matter is that Elizabeth is, you know, a politician like everybody else,” he said. “And you know, she’s got a voice that she wants to get out there. And I understand that. And on most issues, she and I deeply agree. On this one, though, her arguments don’t stand the test of fact and scrutiny.”

Responding, NOW president Terry O’Neill:

“Yes, I think it is sexist,” O’Neill said. “I think the president was trying to build up his own trustworthiness on this issue by convincing us that Senator Warren’s concerns are not to be taken seriously. But he did it in a sexist way.”

O’Neill said Obama’s “clear subtext is that the little lady just doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”

“I think it was disrespectful,” O’Neill said.

(Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) also thought the reference was sexist).

–Dana

Boycotted Gay Hotelier Who Hosted Ted Cruz Chat Speaks Out

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:21 am

Gay hotelier Mati Weiderpass is speaking out against those narrow-minded members of the LGBT community who have been boycotting his hotel since hosting a non-fundraising meeting with presidential hopeful, Ted Cruz:

It is amazing that my businesses are being boycotted by some because I hosted a discussion with an elected official. Not a fundraiser. Not an endorsement. A dialogue. What would we say if the Jewish community organized a boycott of a business leader who hosted a private discussion with an important Muslim politician? We know the answer. I am a longtime leader of my community – and proud of who I am and what I have accomplished.

Boycotting me for a discussion? Since when have we grown so small and intolerant?

Weiderpass also addresses the need for the LBGT community to work with those across the aisle in order to advance their causes.

Further, he necessarily points out what has been painfully obvious to us on this side of the aisle, and yet has been conveniently ignored by those on the other side:

I have many Jewish friends, and Israel, as the cradle of most religions, is near and dear to my heart. Today, there are American politicians who are embracing Iran at the expense of Israel, which has been America’s strongest ally in the Middle East, the most democratic country in the region, and very accepting of the LGBT community.

Iran, on the other hand, adorns their bridges and public squares with hanging ropes targeting the necks of anyone suspected of being gay. At the moment, homosexuality is illegal in all of the Arab countries, but I hope we can work to change that over time.

Should the treatment of gays in the Arab world not be discussed with candidates who oppose same-sex marriage? Do my boycotters think that is not important, or do they simply ignore it? Iran maintains control of its people by denying basic human rights, and many autocrats throughout the Middle East similarly oppress their citizens.

And, as if speaking to small children who haven’t yet grasped the basics, Weiderpass points out that free speech for everyone must be protected, at all costs:

In the U.S., if the rights to free speech, expression, and association are whittled away, the gay community along with most other minority communities will be vulnerable to losing all that has been gained. Shunning dialogue with political opponents is not the road to advancement.

One hopes Weiderpass’s words penetrate the narrow-minded bigots who have demonstrated an inability to tolerate the right of free speech being exercised by a member of their community.

–Dana


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