Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Letter to the Editor: Response to Sex Show Article

The DSEDuke President wrote a letter to the Chronicle correcting their most recent mistake. The letter was published today:
I was disappointed the other day when a Chronicle article mistakenly asserted that I was "offended" by the Sex Workers' Art Show. That is precisely not the point of Duke Students for an Ethical Duke's efforts to bring national media attention to the matter, as we are not in the business of defining what is socially acceptable on this campus. We are, among other things, in the business of ensuring that Duke's own rules are created for and applied fairly to all students.

From reading The Chronicle, you might have thought that DSED and I want to keep similar shows out of Duke.

Quite the contrary, I encourage student groups to hire as many strippers as they like. I'm eager to see what happens when a fraternity sponsors an educational strip show intended "to get people talking about fraternity culture in a way that they never do normally." We'll see if Duke's opinion of stripping transforms from sexual expression and female liberation to exploitation and sexual gratification.

The show, of course, violated Duke's policy on strippers. Publicly, Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta has fiercely asserted that Duke's commitment to "free speech" and "academic freedom" permitted the recent sex show. In person, when I inquired about the policy conflict saying Duke can't have it both ways, Moneta responded, "I can." Why? Because "I can make the distinction" between personal gratification and education, he said.

So these distinctions are entrusted to Larry "Water Buffalo" Moneta, who classifies sticking a sparkler in one's anus as "speech" and finds bouncing breasts "academic." What might people have learned? "I have no response," Moneta wrote in an e-mail. Then how do you know the show was educational? "I'm done with this conversation," he said.

I may or may not personally agree with what you're doing, but the next time any student group wants to throw a stripper-fest on campus, I will defend to the death your apparent right to have strippers regardless of race, gender, class or ideology. In fact, we will even help ensure you get sponsorship from the University and Cultural Funds.

Topless car wash in the blue zone? Wet T-shirt contest in the Bryan Center? Call it the Larry Moneta Wet Water Buffalo Blast, call it artistic and educational and we'll see to it that you have your event.

Kenneth Larrey

Pratt '08


Anonymous said...

Great article. You do a wonderful job of using laugh out loud humor to get your points across.

Anonymous said...

DSED should hold a Larry Moneta Day approximately on the anniversary of the water buffalo incident.

Events should include a panel discussion featuring Kors and Silverglate (founders of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, FIRE), and there should be a very public invitation to Moneta to participate in the panel.

Slogan: "No student is safe while Moneta remains."

Get someone to write a guest column for the Duke Chronicle and, if possible, local papers.

Advertise with posters featuring water buffalo.

Gary Packwood said...


Topless car wash in the blue zone will work just fine if Duke students go there to nurture their rage.

Creating that atmosphere of rage is apparently the self assigned job description of Duke Anger Studies faculty and staff.

If you artificially create rage on campus then you must nurture that rage...or it will dissipate.

If students are expected to be OUTRAGED with sexual assault on campus you need to have several sexual assaults each semester to nurture that rage ....or that OUTRAGE will dissipate.

DSED would do well to take your focus off the events designed to nurture rage and instead focus on why rage is artificially created and enabled on campus in the first place.

Anger Studies faculty and staff creating a hostile work environment on the campus of Duke is after all, a serious ethical problem and an OUTRAGE.