Clutching Pearls

Woman Clutching Her Pearls. 5th Ave - MDPNY20090617, by mdpNY @ Flickr

Woman Clutching Her Pearls. 5th Ave - MDPNY20090617, by mdpNY @ Flickr

I recently received a bit of a hat tip from a teacher of 18 years who is just dipping her feet into the blogosphere. I always appreciate a mention and a link when someone finds something here at Crowded Head that they like or find informative. Peggy apparently did, and said so. I sort of got conflated a bit with Brian Switek who led the discussion in the conference session about which I blogged, but there are certainly worse people with whom to be confused, from my point of view. (I’ll let Brian speak for himself on his end.)

In any event, Peggy found some interesting points that she thought might be useful to her as a teacher and pointed them out as part of an assignment for her ITED 511 class.

One of her commenters though, not so much.

This is a comment about the first blog entry – “Teaching College Science: Blogs and Beyond”

How do I say…what I am about to say…and be politically correct? There is too much sex referenced on the web page. It distracted me from the blog. It also gave me credibility issues. In one sentence the blogger talks about his excitement with teaching high school students, while several sex-related ads run in the margins.

Or am I misunderstanding the sex part? Please come to my rescue here.

I hope I’m wrong.

I presume that Linda meant that my blog gave me credibility issues, but I’d argue her statement is more accurate as it stands.

I of course was a bit bewildered, thinking perhaps my blog had been hacked or something and immediately checked, looking for “several sex-related ads run in the margins”.

Um.. yeah.

There is exactly one ad and it’s for a charity calendar, unless you count the link to Sex in the Public Square where I am a contributing editor (though calling that an “ad” when SitPS doesn’t sell anything is a bit of a stretch of the vernacular). No racy pictures or nuthin’. (What’s with that, anyway? I really have to spice up the blog sidebars at some point.) A purple banner linking to the 2010 NYC Sex Bloggers Calendar (have you ordered yours yet? Get on that!!) gets poor Linda clutching her pearls. Not exactly what I would characterize as “several sex-related ads run[ning] in the margins”.

Anyway, more interesting than Linda’s apoplexy is the underlying assumption that high school teachers should be asexual, or perhaps at least publicly so. It’s not an uncommon attitude in our society, but exactly where did this supremely bizarre notion come from? Does anyone actually know any high school teachers that are not at all sexual? Is that even possible?

Honestly, I’ve considered writing less about sex here from time to time in light of the medieval attitudes about the subject. I am aware that here in North Carolina school boards and the general public are all about waving their Bibles around and clucking their tongues about other people’s sex lives. (And let me point out here as an aside that the Bible is probably not the best anthology of fairy tales on which to base one’s prudery – have you ever read that thing? It’s not even well written porn, mostly.) Yes, even tangentially discussing human sexuality decimates my hirability here in Jesusland, but that’s exactly the kind of problem I work to correct with what I write. It would be rather hypocritical of me to bow to that kind of pressure when I’m preaching on the other corner about standing up to sexual repression.

I just can’t bring myself to do that.

So for the foreseeable future expect to see posts here on sex and sexuality right alongside posts about my Biology and English classes. You’ll find sexy photos of my wife, and you’ll find write ups of Science Conferences I attend. If a school board I’m considering working for later has their panties in such a wad that they can’t hire me because I’m unashamedly human, then that’s their loss and unfortunately, their students’ loss.

Hell, just for spite I might even let JanieBelle make the occasional guest appearance.

From whence came the art:

That image is titled Woman Clutching her Pearls. 5th Ave – MDPNY20090617, by mdpNY, and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial No Derivative Works license.

The Unlikely Disciple’s Unlikely Victim

The Unlikely Disciple

The Unlikely Disciple, by Kevin Roose

In the very unlikely event you haven’t heard me squawking about it all over the universe, I’ve got a book review up at Carnal Nation.

“The Unlikely Disciple’s Unlikely Victim” is my review of Kevin Roose’s Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University.

An excerpt from my review:

Inspired by a research trip to Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church, Brown University sophomore Kevin Roose, raised a liberal Quaker, decided he wanted to know what it was like to live in the world of the fundamentalist Christian. Rather than do his research from the outside, Roose took the extreme measure of going undercover and transferred to Liberty University for a semester. He lived in the dorm, attended the classes, and immersed himself in the student subculture. His research trip takes place in the Spring semester of 2007, and he was there during the shootings at Virginia Tech, and there for the death of Falwell himself. Roose even managed to finagle a one-on-one interview with Falwell for the school paper, just a handful of days before Falwell’s fatal heart attack. The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University is his story of that semester.

When Chris Hall first asked me to review Unlikely Disciple for Carnal Nation, I was ecstatic. I’d heard about it and read a few short reviews before then, and was anxious to read it myself. I never suspected that by page fifty I’d be slogging to the bathroom with the dry heaves every few pages, wishing I’d never heard of this book. Roose’s account has given me just a glimpse of what trigger warnings are all about.

Read the rest at Carnal Nation.