Having read the course listings for several departments of Women’s Studies at places that were once universities, such as Dartmouth, I am considering becoming a deep-sea squid. Many considerations recommend this course. Squids are more dignified than people. They make less noise. Universities run by squids do not have Departments of Lesbian, Gay, Cross-gendered, Transmogrified, Transvestite, and Deeply Puzzled Squid Studies. Lady squids are less infuriated than human females in such courses, and frequently better-looking.
Departmental offerings of fascinating import abound:
WMST488R Senior Seminar: Queering the Global South (D)
WMST698D Special Topics in Women’s Studies: The History of Drag. C. Schuler
I can’t imagine anything more appropriate to a college education than the history of drag. Perhaps there is a chapter on Elizabethan Englishmen, who wore brightly colored pantyhose and swords. Where I come from in West Virginia, any man who wore panty hose would need a sword, so maybe it made sense. I am not sure how one queers the global south, but I believe I will move north and, just in case, get a Kevlar codpiece.
There was a time, long, long ago, in another universe, when universities were not chiefly comic. We have evolved. Today you can pay fifty thousand withering dollars a year to let your daughter be an extra in Saturday Night Live at, say, Yale, solemnly studying erotic peculiarities. The appeal is multi-faceted. A major in Women’s Studies (or would it be a majorette?) would simultaneously satisfy the teenager’s natural prurience, allow her a pleasant sense of advanced moral superiority, and permit her to avoid any danger of an education.
A tone of aggressive smugness pervades these not-very-scholarly hives, and a whine of misandry like the sound of a dentist’s drill in an adjoining room. Many have noticed that immaturity in today’s society lasts years longer than it did when the young had to work and raise families. This, plus the control of universities by the students, has allowed the coagulation of adolescent consciousness into whole departments. In these academic sandboxes the idea of critical thought seems to have died, equipping students with the self-awareness than one would expect of a peanut-butter sandwich. A department of militant sexism warring against sexism would be an embarrassment to more-logical beings, such as, I suspect, any other beings.
There is in such courses much nattering about Women of Color. The inmates of these refuges from adulthood apparently regard themselves as being at one with oppressed women of the Third World, which in all likelihood they have never seen one of. If they had any idea of what an actual Nicaraguan woman thinks of pampered brattesses lolling about a pseudo-educational theme park paid for by their fathers, they would hide under their beds.
However, I subscribe to the Californian principle that if a thing is not worth doing, it is worth doing to outrageous excess. After exposing myself to an afternoon of such course descriptions, I decided that I would get into the spirit of the thing, that perhaps I was being retrograde in not having a sufficient respect for cross-gendered, bicephalous, transalpine, trisexual people of pigment. I decided that maybe the dyspeptic children of Dartmouth and worse had a point. Maybe we should study aberrant, non-traditional sexualities. I’m not sure why, but these days the question appears not to be important.
It seemed reasonable that bestiality should be our next front in the ongoing battle for sexual liberation. While our Victorian and Puritan inhibitions have driven this form of love into the shadows of fear and repression, history shows that it has had a vibrant existence in more-tolerant societies of the past. Among the ancients there were Europa and the white bull, and Leda and the swan. More recently we have had the Lone Ranger and Silver, and Bill and Hillary. Many clandestine amors have been reported of shepherds in the lonely moors of the Scottish Highlands. (It is reported that Scotsmen wear kilts because sheep can hear zippers, but this may be slander.) Taxonomic miscegenation is thus seen to have a lengthy lineage. It merits exploration.
In furtherance of this idea I tossed together a few collegiate courses that seemed to me a good beginning at legitimizing trans-species relations. Proposed offerings:
Introduction to Bestiality. This marginalized sexuality will be considered in the light of historical intolerance, oppression, and the liberation struggle. Basic concepts to be explored: The sheep as social construct. Countering institutional humano-centrism. The eroticism of the orangutan in the cultural context of the rain forest. The Bolivian anteater, insertor or insertee? A Latina perspective on the donkey and the Tijuanan folk tradition. Laboratory twice weekly, covering practical techniques to include stepladders and the camel, and positioning the iguana.
Managing Cross-Phylum Relationships, with interdisciplinary emphasis on the Cephalopod. The role of tentacles. Animals of Color, centering on the cockatoo.
The Concept of Species: Socially Constructed or Injection Molded? The course will consider this complex subject from perspectives of sociology, gender struggle, and plasma physics. Accommodating differing reproductive sexualities: Budding vs. the egg strategy. Instructor: Señora Rosalita Consolador y Alic ates
Bestiality and the Law. Barking and the principle of informed consent. Recent Supreme Court decisions. Date rape: When “Moo” means “No.” Negotiating with parents: the danger of trampling.
In my paroxysms of liberational afflatus it occurred to me that a truly inclusive sexuality would have to embody necrophilia, which suffers today from grave discrimination. It seems unmodern to bar people from the consolations of love merely because they are dead. Cannibalism being nothing but culinary necrophilia it seemed reasonable to combine the two. As the reader can see, I’m nothing if not reasonable.
NECCAN 202 Snuff: The Problem of Finding a Lasting Relationship. Techniques for digging up a date on short notice.
NECCAN 402 Fattening prisoners. Soy substitutes in time of peace. Sausages, gravies, and organ meats. The problem of deserts. Kosher. When baby dies. Road kill. Cannable vs. bottleable.
Enough. Much as I want to contribute to social advance, I believe I will stick with becoming a squid. It will be less embarrassing.