Gail Dines Supplimental: How She Even Manages To Get It Wrong On Academic Censorship (The Peggy Gish-Fresno State-Sinclair Institute Video Case)

Remember when Gail Dines posted her screed on the “censorship” of Appalachian State professor Jammie Price over the latter’s screening of the antiporn documentary The Price Of Pleasure…and how Dines used that case to spew her usual Male Porn Capitalist Conspiracy theories?? Also remember this nice quote:

I have never before heard of an academic suspended for either talking about or showing porn.

The assumption being here that any professor who attempts to even talk about porn in a more positive light gets nothing but free rides and accolades, while those who attempt to show the “dark” side of porn — you know, the side that induces ordinary men to become out-of-control rapists and vampires and sex fiends masturbating fervishly fifty times a day, waiting for the next victim to use as his own personal cumbucket — is essentially run out of academia on high-speed rail, thanks to the awesome power of the porn lobby and their capitalist moles??

Well..as usual, Gail has it completely bass ackwards….because there are plenty of examples of college professors whom have been censored or even fired for even taking up a pro-porn (or even anticensorship of porn) position….and there is enough intimidation of college professors by right-wing (and radical feminist) watchdog groups to ensure that the idea doesn’t even arise in the first place.

However…there are exceptions to every rule, and places where the attitudes on college campus are a tad more progressive. An example that Gail Dines missed while beefing on Appalachian St. tookk place recently.

Peggy Gish teaches human sexuality at California State University at Fresno (which most of us non Cali’s shorten to Fresno State University), one of the main state universities located in the mostly conservative Central Valley area of central California. For 25 years, she has used as a reinforcement to her teachings videos on sexual intimacy amongst couples, and until this year, she had had no issues with her students. That might have to do with the fact that Professor Gish makes it plain from the beginning that her courses will contain somewhat explicit material before hand, and that any student feeling uncomfortable about that will be able to leave the course without penalty. According to her, only one student has walked out of her videos, and she couldn’t tell whether it was from discomfort with the explicitness. (More likely, a slightly different kind of “discomfort” requiring a trip to a bathroom stall…or a bunk bed??)

This year, however, when she decided to include as part of her course a video put out by the Sinclair Institute titled “Better Sex Sexplorations, Vol. 1: Advanced Sexual Techniques & Positions”, her lucky streak ran out.

Before you get any bright ideas, Clones, allow me to quote from the Sinclair Institute’s description of the 20 minute “full length video”:

Making love is an art much like painting. Some couples use only primary colors, but when you use an entire palette, your sex life becomes a vibrant and thrilling adventure. Join some of the world’s leading experts as they help you become an artful and irresistable lover. Attractive real life couples explicitly demonstrate adventruous new techniques. Discover uninhibited positions that lead to pleasure, satisfaction, and closeness for a lifetime. Learn how sensual massage and erotic talk can enhance your intimacy and sexual pleasure. Watch together and bring your love life to new heights of sexual intensity.

Advanced Sexual Techniques is the first video in our three video Better Sex Series. Volume 1 discusses how to increase your sexual knowledge, increase pleasure, and heighten intimacy. Twelve couples from different ethnic backgrounds take you on an explicit sexual journey that explores sexual positions and techniques.

In essence, this is basically a straight hetero couples video designed to improve sexual intimacy between monogamous/married couples…except jacked up with some decently explicit scenes of couples performing and talking about how expanding their sexual horizions improved their marriages/relationships immensively.

Gee…sounds like exactly the kind of wonderful “essential sexuality” that folk like Gail Dines see as an viable alternative to the usual “body punishing” cumfests found in “typical” porn, right??

You would think so…but some right-wing activists, who see porn behind every bush and under every stadium bleacher and who think that even mild exposue to even the most benign forms of porn will ultimately “corrupt” young adults into sexual freakery, don’t take so kindly to even married couple porn in our vaunted universities.

One such group runs a website called CampusReform.org, a sort of Far Right “watchdg” site for monitoring Central Valley schools for excessive “leftist” activity; and when a student of Gish’s class tweeted his “shock” at seeing a “porn film” in his class, the Brietbart wannabes were quick to spring to action.

Oliver Darcy, a “conservative blogger” and a former student at the neighboring University of California-Merced, posted a full-on red-flag blog post on the shock and horror of Gish’s showing this “pornographic, full-length” film in public at taxpayer’s expense:

Fresno State Public Health Professor, Peggy Gish, played a pornographic, full-length film for her class on Tuesday. The adult film was called “Advanced Sexual Techniques, Volume One” and contained both sexually explicit audio and graphic video.

Campus Reform learned about the incident after a student, who does not wish to be identified, came forward.

According to an online synopsis the movie follows “12 couples of varying backgrounds and ethnicity” who “explore sexual positions and techniques.”

[...]

It is not known what educational value the showing of the adult film added to the course.

According to our source, the entire class seemed to be in shock that the professor chose to play the explicit film.

After numerous requests, a university spokesperson finally provided the following comment:

    The educational video about which you inquired is a 20 minute segment from a longer DVD.  This is an element of a 3-unit, semester-long “Introduction to Human Sexuality” general education course that explores physiological, psychological, social, cultural and developmental considerations for life-long understanding related to sexuality.  It is not a required course. Students who take the course are advised, in advance, that they may find some content objectionable and that they may opt out at their discretion.  Since material is provided in a variety of formats, students have the opportunity to gain course content for assignments and exams without being required to view material they may find objectionable.

The university spokesperson, however, has failed to respond to further questioning from Campus Reform.

Of course, leave it to a wingnut to suggest that a video on couples sexual intimacy has “no educational value” in a course on human sexuality. The thinly veiled concern about “backgrounds and ethnicity” (read that to mean, “Oh, noez…ZOMG…they’re teaching NEGRO/MUSLIM sex as superior to American Christian sex!!!  NOOOOOOOO!!!!111ONE111!!!!”) is a nice touch for all the nativists out there, too.

But, if they figured that the CSU-Fresno administration would react as App St. did with Jammie Price, they would be greatly disappointed. From a slightly less biased account of the brohaha via the Huffington Post:

A statement sent to The Huffington Post from Andrew Hoff, dean of Fresno State’s College of Health and Human Services, defends Gish and explained the 20-minute video segment was an element of a three-unit, semester-long Introduction to Human Sexuality general education course. The class explores “physiological, psychological, social, cultural and developmental considerations for life-long understanding related to sexuality,” he said.

“It is not a required course. Students who take the course are advised, in advance, that they may find some content objectionable and that they may opt out at their discretion,” said Hoff in the statement. “Since material is provided in a variety of formats, students have the opportunity to gain course content for assignments and exams without being required to view material they may find objectionable.”

And, then, the Huffington Post article give what appears to be the final verdict on this case (emphasis mine):

Hoff said, “The goal is providing relevant information so all students, no matter their learning style, are prepared to offer informed opinion and make critical determinations regarding issues raised in class.”

University-level courses typically utilize a range of materials to deliver course content, he adds.

The school isn’t planning disciplinary action and considers the matter closed.

It may not matter, because Professor Gish was shaken enough by the entire affair that she did consider killing the video for her next semester.  A follow up interview she gave for the official CSU-F journal The Colleagian tells what she went through:

Angry callers, some from as far as the East Coast, have left messages in Gish’s office phone, condemning her for allegedly showing porn to her students.  A caller who identified himself as “William” left a message on Gish’s office phone in which he sarcastically commended her for her “extreme liberal beliefs.”

“It’s people like you that really help us conservatives by showing pornos to your students,” he said in the message. “This really gets the message across that people like you don’t need to be teaching in a public university or university whatsoever.”

Gish is unsure if she will show the video in the future due to the coverage it has received in the media.

“I love my job and would not take any chances of doing something that would put it in jeopardy,” she said. “But even more importantly, I wouldn’t do something that would be offensive to my students.”

And, even the student who tweeted his discomfort with the showing of the video has expressed remorse.

Darcy also wrote in his blog that the anonymous student claimed the class was in shock when the film was played.

The student, however, said he wasn’t offended by the video and has apologized to Gish for publishing the post to his Twitter account.

“At first, we all seemed sort of awkward and laughed,” the student said about the class while the film was shown. “It wasn’t anything negative.”

Now, what does all this have to do with Gail Dines??  Well, it shows that contrary to her notions of a “porn conspiracy” that enables the nastiest of porn to be defended, if not prompted, on college campus without dissent, it is actually quite rare for any defense of porn to be prooffered on campus without a firestorm of protest from the Right (and, to a lesser extent, from the antiporn feminist “Left”). There are individual exceptions to that rule, especially in California, where there are a few tenured professors who do fight the good fight for truth and reality when it comes to porn and human sexuality (folks like Jessi Fischer (aka The Sexademic) and Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals (of Porn Valley Vantage) and Constance Peley, to give notable examples) who also are targets for their more progressive positions. Yet, strangely enough, Gail can’t be arsed, even though she is a tenured professor and a supposed “Marxist”/ Leftist who should respect academic freedom, and purports herself to be such an expert on global capitalism and its political power, to make even a tacit stand against attempts to stifle academic debate and discussion…except when her side happens to be the ones attacked.

And then there is this fact that can’t be denied: the position of Breitbart wannabes like Oliver Darcy is far, far closer to Dines’ stated ideals about sexuality in general than those of Peggy Gish, especially when it comes to pornography and women’s sexuality. After all, if Dines is more than willing to accept the funding and help of PornHarms in the name of “fighting capitalist porn”, then it would figure that she would give a free pass to the conservatives at App. St. who probably did protest the explicitness of The Price of Pleasure and go straight for the “Damn Pornographer Capitalists!!!” card off the bottom of the deck. And also, why doesn’t Gail go after the App St. administration who levelled the harsh suspension at Professor Price without, apparently, the right of appeal? Does she think that Paul Fishbein has that much influence there??

Summary memo, Gail: You can’t bitch and moan about academic censorship only when your side gets “hosed”. If Peggy Gish had gotten the same treatment as Jammie Price, would you have done the decent thing and raised so much as an eyelash towards her treatment at the hands of a right-wing public lynch mob…one with far greater power and funds than the “porn industry” would dream of??  Would you spend even a pixel defending a video like Better Sex, Vol. 1, which seems to me to be exactly the type of “erotica” that celebrates happy, healthy, and safe monogamous sex in a form that even a feminist would love??  Would you even so much as lift a finger to defend the right of female college students to watch a video that would actually empower them to learn how to sucessfully negotiate and celebrate their sexuality in a non-degrading and empowering fashion?

Oh, what the fuck am I saying?? This is GAIL DINES we are talking about..she’d probably dismiss the video as yet another “niche” gimmick by “capitalism” to fool women into seperate them from their money, and a deliberate distraction from the “real” attitudes of porn-watching men displayed by sites like GagMyCockBitch[dot]com, MakeHerEatMyShit[dot]com, and DrownHerWithTonsOfCum[dot]com*, even if their profits don’t even reach the top single digits, or equal one day of the Southern Baptist Convention’s daily take from tithes. But of course, the SBC doesn’t do porn like the Marriot hotel chain or Microsoft does, so their capitalism is AOK by Gail..heck, maybe she thinks that their women can be the easiest to flip over to her form of “radical feminism”.

Then again, shared sexual fascism makes for not-so-strange bedfellows.

*Back away from the Google, Clones…those sites don’t exist…except probably in Gail’s mind.

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