Ethics Quiz: The Harvard Soccer Team’s “Locker Room Talk”

harvard-soccer-team

A week ago I wrote about Donald Trump’s rebound at the polls, and noted, among the factors, this…

B. This just in, from  The Harvard Crimson: Female soccer recruits at Harvard were rated for their attractiveness by their male counterparts – and a sleazy document speculated on their favorite sexual positions. A ‘scouting report’ from 2012, has emerged, containing sexually explicit comments about women, alongside photographs of them. One soccer recruit was described as looking “like the kind of girl who likes to dominate, and likes to be dominated.” The nine-page document assigned each woman a hypothetical sexual position. This document was shared between members of the Harvard 2012 men’s soccer team, and scouting report appears to be a yearly tradition.

Wait…how can this be? When Donald Trump tried to explain away his vulgar conversation with Billy Bush as “locker room talk,” the news media sprinted to prove this was just another lie. Why, athletes in all-male settings never denigrate women or objectify them among team mates! Absolutely not!

Now we learn that Harvard has cancelled the men’s soccer season as punishment for “the widespread practice of the team’s players rating the school’s female players in sexually explicit terms,” reports the New York Times.

The university commenced an  investigation the men’s team after The Harvard Crimson reported last week, in the piece that prompted the Ethics Alarms note, that a player created a nine-page document in 2012 with numeric ratings, photos and lengthy evaluations of the freshman recruits of the Harvard women’s team based on their physical appearance. Apparently the practice had become a tradition.This was the response from the women’s team:

“Locker room talk” is not an excuse because this is not limited to athletic teams. The whole world is the locker room…. We are hopeful that the release of this report will lead to productive conversation and action on Harvard’s campus, within collegiate athletic teams across the country, and into the locker room that is our world….”

I’m not going to lay all my ethics cards on the table immediately on this one. For now I’ll just list a few random thoughts…

1. All of the players on the team lost the chance to play, whether they were part of the ranking activity or not.

2. Funny…I thought college coaches were teachers, and were responsible for training Harvard men to be gentlemen. Or is that an old-fashioned concept?

3. Does this mean that it is now an offense at Harvard for male students to think impure thoughts about women? To express those thoughts in the company of other men? To get caught expressing such thoughts?

4. If Harvard had credible evidence that the women’s soccer team sat around after a game making cruel, sexually degrading statements about the men’s soccer team, what would be its response? What would be the offense?

5. Will Harvard punish students for listening to hip-hop music  that denigrates women? How about male students playing such songs in the locker room? How about female athletes playing them in the locker room?

6. Regarding the women’s team statement: would “locker room talk” be excusable it it was limited to athletic teams? Are students responsible for the fact that some people keep acting juvenile after graduation? How about high school athletes: should they be punished for the crude tendencies of the world’s men? Middle school athletes?

7. Was the team’s punishment so harsh because of Donald Trump and Billy Bush?

___________________

Pointer: Althouse

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts, and seek written permission when appropriate. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work or property was used in any way without proper attribution, credit or permission, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at  jamproethics@verizon.net.

156 Comments

Filed under Childhood and children, Education, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, language, Sports, This Will Help Elect Donald Trump, U.S. Society

156 responses to “Ethics Quiz: The Harvard Soccer Team’s “Locker Room Talk”

  1. junkmailfolder

    What exactly is Harvard trying to accomplish? As you touched on in your random thoughts, what is the actionable offense here? Such a slippery slope to be descending, and it raises the question: what is the end goal of the people who would support this kind of retribution? At what point between seeing an attractive person, consciously thinking they (or a certain body part) are attractive, and then acting on that thought, whether with a compliment, a request for a date, or writing it down on a blog, does it become unacceptable?

    Unfortunately, it seems to me, that most feminists would base their answer on the gender of the people involved, rather than the actions involved.

  2. Spartan

    1. All of the players on the team lost the chance to play, whether they were part of the ranking activity or not.

    Well, according to the news report, this is not just one or two players, but a pervasive practice dating back to 2012. So, it’s part of the team’s culture and it needs to be eviscerated. Even if there were players not actively involved, they had a duty to stop it or alert their coaches earlier so it could be handled appropriately.

    2. Funny…I thought college coaches were teachers, and were responsible for training Harvard men to be gentlemen. Or is that an old-fashioned concept?

    Replace “gentlemen” with “decent human beings” and I’m with you. Male and female coaches need to model and reinforce proper behavior. And, I’ll note what makes the players’ conduct even more offensive is that they are talking about their fellow athletes — don’t they owe a higher duty to their sisters and brothers?

    3. Does this mean that it is now an offense at Harvard for male students to think impure thoughts about women? To express those thoughts in the company of other men? To get caught expressing such thoughts?

    Oh please. What about this punishment even suggests that?

    4. If Harvard had credible evidence that the women’s soccer team sat around after a game making cruel, sexually degrading statements about the men’s soccer team, what would be its response? What would be the offense?

    The same offense and the same punishment.

    5. Will Harvard punish students for listening to hip-hop music that denigrates women? How about male students playing such songs in the locker room? How about female athletes playing them in the locker room?

    No. Hip hop music still is an art form. But I can see coaches having approval over music in locker rooms — music can be inspiring, depressing, insulting, patriotic, etc. It’s important for coaches to have the right atmosphere and judgment should rest with them.

    6. Regarding the women’s team statement: would “locker room talk” be excusable it it was limited to athletic teams? Are students responsible for the fact that some people keep acting juvenile after graduation? How about high school athletes: should they be punished for the crude tendencies of the world’s men? Middle school athletes?

    No — but as I said above, I believe the conduct was even more depressing because they were talking about their brethren. I would be offended if a stranger called me a cunt, but I would be offended AND HURT if my brother or a colleague called me a cunt. Yes, and middle school and high school students should know better as well — perhaps if they were taught basic standards of decency, they wouldn’t have grown up to be assholes.

    7. Was the team’s punishment so harsh because of Donald Trump and Billy Bush?

    No — as the article states, the team was caught doing the same thing in 2012. And it wasn’t harsh. A harsh punishment would have involved disciplinary action. The punishment here was the denial to play a collegiate sport, not a diploma. I’ve told my kids that they can’t have a sleepover with their school friends tomorrow if they don’t clean their rooms and play areas — but I won’t pull them out of school if they don’t do what I said.

    • Isaac

      I was going to reply but each one of your points are so illogical and self-defeating that I just threw my hands up. There was no narrative thread to even grasp. The same sexism would have been ok in musical form, because that’s art, except maybe it’s not ok, because it isn’t positive and affirming?

      • Isaac

        You wouldn’t be hurt if someone calls you a nasty name, but if a family member did it, you would not only be deeply wounded, you’d want them to be punished extra for the additional suffering incurred? And people who play the same sportsball game are somehow “bretheren” and should be punished more because of that? If the girls were from a different school or played, say, tennis, that’s not as bad? I can’t even.

      • Chris

        The same sexism would have been ok in musical form, because that’s art, except maybe it’s not ok, because it isn’t positive and affirming?

        What do you mean, “the same sexism?” Does Jay-Z have a song about the sexual things he wants to do to the Harvard women’s soccer team?

        You’re conflating listening to music with sexist lyrics with writing demeaning things about specific women that you know and passing it on to your friends. You really don’t see the difference?

        Really?

        • Y’know…. I don’t listen to a lot of the hippity hoppity bibbity boppity… But If I had to bet, because y’know… I’m a betting man, I’d bet that Jay-Z might not have written about the Harvard Women’s soccer team in particular, but maybe he’d written about a bitch or two in his time.

          • Chris

            Yes, and that’s exactly the difference I’m pointing out: these players aren’t being banned for talking explicitly about random women, they’re being banned for talking explicitly about specific individual classmates they know, and for publishing a document demeaning and ridiculing those specific classmates.

    • Fascinating answers, S. Some reactions:

      1. All of the players on the team lost the chance to play, whether they were part of the ranking activity or not.

      Well, according to the news report, this is not just one or two players, but a pervasive practice dating back to 2012. So, it’s part of the team’s culture and it needs to be eviscerated. Even if there were players not actively involved, they had a duty to stop it or alert their coaches earlier so it could be handled appropriately.

      Is that realistic, though? On a team (or an army unit)? Shouldn’t the responsibility fall entirely on the coaches? Especially if the non-participant sees no tangible harm in the vulgar “tradition.” I’m not sure I do.

      I think punishing all the students was unfair, and grossly so.

      2. Funny…I thought college coaches were teachers, and were responsible for training Harvard men to be gentlemen. Or is that an old-fashioned concept?

      Replace “gentlemen” with “decent human beings” and I’m with you. Male and female coaches need to model and reinforce proper behavior. And, I’ll note what makes the players’ conduct even more offensive is that they are talking about their fellow athletes — don’t they owe a higher duty to their sisters and brothers?

      Wow…didn’t see that coming. You mean if the team had done the same thing with the women on the Feminists Club, it would be less of an offence?

      3. Does this mean that it is now an offense at Harvard for male students to think impure thoughts about women? To express those thoughts in the company of other men? To get caught expressing such thoughts?

      Oh please. What about this punishment even suggests that?

      All of it? What’s being punished, but sexual fantasy and talk?

      4. If Harvard had credible evidence that the women’s soccer team sat around after a game making cruel, sexually degrading statements about the men’s soccer team, what would be its response? What would be the offense?

      The same offense and the same punishment.

      I don’t believe that for a minute. Really?

      5. Will Harvard punish students for listening to hip-hop music that denigrates women? How about male students playing such songs in the locker room? How about female athletes playing them in the locker room?

      No. Hip hop music still is an art form. But I can see coaches having approval over music in locker rooms — music can be inspiring, depressing, insulting, patriotic, etc. It’s important for coaches to have the right atmosphere and judgment should rest with them.

      Bad answer. Satire is an art form. Humor is an art form. Even vulgar humor is an art form. Animal House? Porky’s Any Wayans film?

      6. Regarding the women’s team statement: would “locker room talk” be excusable it it was limited to athletic teams? Are students responsible for the fact that some people keep acting juvenile after graduation? How about high school athletes: should they be punished for the crude tendencies of the world’s men? Middle school athletes?

      No — but as I said above, I believe the conduct was even more depressing because they were talking about their brethren. I would be offended if a stranger called me a cunt, but I would be offended AND HURT if my brother or a colleague called me a cunt. Yes, and middle school and high school students should know better as well — perhaps if they were taught basic standards of decency, they wouldn’t have grown up to be assholes.

      Is decency still mandatory in private?

      7. Was the team’s punishment so harsh because of Donald Trump and Billy Bush?

      No — as the article states, the team was caught doing the same thing in 2012. And it wasn’t harsh. A harsh punishment would have involved disciplinary action. The punishment here was the denial to play a collegiate sport, not a diploma. I’ve told my kids that they can’t have a sleepover with their school friends tomorrow if they don’t clean their rooms and play areas — but I won’t pull them out of school if they don’t do what I said.

      1. What? The team wasn’t punished in 2012. That doesn’t address the question.
      2. My room mate at that college was there on a soccer scholarship. Replace “soccer” with “football” and “Harvard” with “Nebraska.” Still not excessive?

      • Chris

        All of it? What’s being punished, but sexual fantasy and talk?

        Are you really saying you see no difference between one guy telling another “I’d really like to [insert vulgar sexual act here] her,” and a team writing and distributing what basically amounts to a sex manual about their female peers? One is fairly normal, the other is incredibly disrespectful and borderline psychotic.

        • Both are disrespectful. How do you get psychotic? It’s juvenile. It’s beneath college student’s dignity. It needs to be stopped. It is still not intended to hurt anyone, nor does it, until it’s emblazoned on headline. Kids making fun of other kids among themselves for cheap laughs is psychotic???

        • Spartan

          Chris! Boys will be boys. If anything, I bet the girls LOVED all the attention. I know I would have.

          • What ‘attention’? Do you believe they even knew what had happened before someone plastered the doc all over the internet? Hell, I bet at this point, there might still be ‘victims’ that don’t know what happened… Unless perhaps, the school called to offer them counselling or something.

        • “Are you really saying you see no difference between one guy telling another “I’d really like to [insert vulgar sexual act here] her,” and a team writing and distributing what basically amounts to a sex manual about their female peers? One is fairly normal, the other is incredibly disrespectful and borderline psychotic.”

          Except that saying “I’d like to [blank] her” is not normal, for me, and lot of people. I DO NOT talk about women that way. Many people also don’t, but our over-sexualized society has changed such that there are more people than not who feel that that’s an ok way to talk about other people. And that societal shift is, IMO, moving in a direction (if it hasn’t already arrived) where making “sex manuals” is normalized. Do YOU really not see this?

          Regardless, what you, or I for that matter, think of as “fairly normal” is irrelevant here, as it’s incredibly subjective. But for the record, Male player A saying to Male player B that he’d like to [blank] Female player A is, IMO, no more or less disrespectful that Male players A & B putting Female player A on a list rating their attractiveness, and speculating about what they like in bed. Why do you think that the latter is more disrespectful?

          • Chris

            It shouldn’t be normal, but it is.

            But for the record, Male player A saying to Male player B that he’d like to [blank] Female player A is, IMO, no more or less disrespectful that Male players A & B putting Female player A on a list rating their attractiveness, and speculating about what they like in bed. Why do you think that the latter is more disrespectful?

            I don’t. We’re talking about doing so as part of a nine-page document, a “scouting report,” passed along as part of some sort of tradition. This is not normal behavior. There was time and effort spent on this.

            It’s the same as the difference between spreading a nasty rumor about someone in passing, and creating a “burn book” with pictures and lengthy descriptions of that person. They’re both wrong, but one would be considered targeted harassment at most schools.

    • “Well, according to the news report, this is not just one or two players, but a pervasive practice dating back to 2012. So, it’s part of the team’s culture and it needs to be eviscerated. Even if there were players not actively involved, they had a duty to stop it or alert their coaches earlier so it could be handled appropriately.”

      While we’re at it…. School dances? Prom queens? Absolutely sexist. Completely misogynistic. In need of a purge by fire. Evisceration is too kind! How DARE those man-cubs gather amongst themselves to talk about their betters in anything but the most reverent of tones? Don’t they know that impure thoughts cause cancer? They are literally, actively raping and killing those girls and it needs to stop. Immediately.

      “And, I’ll note what makes the players’ conduct even more offensive is that they are talking about their fellow athletes — don’t they owe a higher duty to their sisters and brothers?”

      Incestuous little shits! How dare they notice things like breasts? Their sexual peak cannot possibly be an excuse? They need reconditioning! 10 years dungeon! That’ll cool them off. And while they’re down there, we’ll set them to work in the pumpkin spice mines to atone for their indiscretion.

      “Hip hop music still is an art form.”

      That’s it! We just need to culture these prurient neckbeards! Perhaps we could send them to a feminist basket weaving class! Gender studies! FEMINIST THEATRE!

      “No — but as I said above, I believe the conduct was even more depressing because they were talking about their brethren. I would be offended if a stranger called me a cunt, but I would be offended AND HURT if my brother or a colleague called me a cunt. Yes, and middle school and high school students should know better as well — perhaps if they were taught basic standards of decency, they wouldn’t have grown up to be assholes.”

      Bretheren and sister…en… Lend me your thoughts! So I can pour bleach all over them unless they are deemed clean and pure by the ministry of vaginism. Lest we all grow up as donkeys, and the centers of doughnuts. Egads! Tommorrow, tomorrow and today, and all the better yesteryears, thine thee tis.

      *fizzle* *crackle* *burst*

      • Chris

        I laughed at “pumpkin spice mines,” but I have to know: do you really see nothing wrong with the behavior of this team?

        • Oh course it’s a shitty thing to do, but not every shitty thing a person does is punishable, and especially not by a university. I cannot possibly find it in myself to do anything but brutally mock anyone who thought this was a good idea.

        • The real issue, and the one that should be terrifying, is again that you see yourself as the needed agent who must intervene to attain ‘punishment’. It is both at the start and at the end more of an evil that you and thousands like you, sublimating into these ‘issues’ you dig up a punishment that you will administer and inflict some of your own emotional problems or deep dissatisfactions — or what in the heck is it?

          It is something sick, like a social contagion.

          • Chris

            The real issue, and the one that should be terrifying, is again that you see yourself as the needed agent who must intervene to attain ‘punishment’.

            What on earth are you talking about? I had nothing to do with this punishment. I did not petition Harvard University to punish these boys. I didn’t even know about it until Jack wrote about it. I don’t think the university needed my input on this decision at all, actually. So you’re talking nonsense.

            • You stand behind this general sort of policy, Chris. You defend it and explain it. This is a culture-wide phenomenon. You seem a part of it in that sense alone.

            • The definition of “low hanging fruit” should forever be illustrated by a screen grab of this conversation, specifically highlighting the comments you choose to reply to, and the assertions you choose to comment on.

      • Chris Marschner

        I always enjoy your commentary

    • Eviscerate, such a connotive word! It means to cut out the viscera, the guts.

      Did you ever read A Clockwork Orange? Anthony Burgess had definite ideas about the salvation of man but I think he recognized that if there is such a thing as spiritual growth it has to come to a person as part of their own moral processes. But Good God in Heaven when the Progressive Left gets it machines and its knives and implementors revved up!

      Burgess parodied of course the State with its intervention and ‘evisceration’ plan, this notion that you can set your little knives to work, cutting into people, cutting into their brains, and cutting out of them what you don’t like.

      It is you that has to be stopped, not them. A curse upon your house.

      “Goodness is something chosen. When a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man.” —Anthony Burgess

  3. I mean, I think I’m right with you, those icky boy things not only thought improperly about those pristine examples of perfection in lewd and lascivious terms, but they had the unmitigated gall to say those thoughts out loud. To EACHOTHER. And then, brazen hellions that they are… They wrote those thoughts down. Holy fuck, I think I need a couch to sit on, just give me a minute.

    I mean, just think of all the damage those prying eyes did to those girls! Psychically flying out of their skulls and straight into their bodies, visually raping them. Stealing their purity. Nasty. Oooh! Where are my pearls? Won’t SOMEBODY think of the children?!

    How will they ever recover?! They will go through their entire lives scarred from head to toe, stumbling through life, wracked by insecurities stemming from trauma they don’t even know the cause of. Poor dears. Perhaps we should open a Patreon account for them and tithe 10% of the little hellion’s tuition fees to it. This seems fair, right?

    And those teachers! ADULTS who should have known better! Fire them! With literal fire! After being tied to a cross. HOW DARE THEY AND THEIR PENISED PRIVILEDGE KNOWNGLY FACILITATE MISOGYNY!?!?! How could they not know that writing words and thoughts down ON PAPER where it could accidentally be stumbled over years later would absolutely OFFEND someone? This kind of rude thoughtlessness should be fatal. Obviously.

    I am woman, hear me roar!
    In numbers too big to ignore!
    And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
    ‘Cause I’ve heard it all before!
    And I’ve been down there on the floor!
    No one’s ever gonna keep me down again!

    • Chris

      You’re intentionally downplaying the behavior to make the punishment seem more hysterical than it actually is. The document was disrespectful and demeaning. They were punished for it. No one is screaming but you.

      • “downplaying behaviour” *snort*

        Write it out Chris, what’d these little misogynists do?

        • Chris

          Write it out Chris, what’d these little misogynists do?

          Jack’s explanation should be sufficient.

          • Chris

            Think of it this way: If your daughter was one of the women profiled in the “scouting report,” what would you want done to the boys who wrote and forwarded it?

            • I don’t think that policy should be made by overprotective fathers.

            • But hold it. My Turkish friend Rihan tells me that in her village in Turkey (she now lives in Germany) a boy who made a bad comment to her friend’s sister was attacked and wounded by her family. If you leave it up to a man’s decision heaven only knows. And then it depends on the father. Some father might say ‘No big deal’ and call it normal.

              I live in South America and these brutes say uNbElIeVaBlE things to you when you pass by.

              But there is a larger principle here it seems. You can’t be given so much power to intervene when it is private documents being circulated that cannot be said to be illegal. And even if it were illegal activity it would still require an investigation and a warrant and such.

              I don’t know if this sort of punishment can have the moral effect you desire.

            • What HT w/ daughters would want to happen is not any more relevant that what HT w/o daughters would want. This is “I have daughters, so Trump’s comments are even MORE offensive” level pandering.

              If these girls were all parentless, should that change the punishment for the male players?

          • No no, I want you to write it out, because I think that the exercise will force you to come to terms with how menial it is. Please, humour me.

      • The ‘punishment’ as you term it is akin to the social stigma and shunning that one might have heard about in some Maoist political and community group. What is intolerable, to me, is that you imagine that you have this moral right to even make a judgment, and then Good Lord to see it carried out. YOU are what has to be stopped. There should be campaigns against YOU. Maybe you should be deprived of your employment or have a brand put on your forehead that will wear off in a week or two.

        • Chris

          The ‘punishment’ as you term it is akin to the social stigma and shunning that one might have heard about in some Maoist political and community group.

          Yes, you’re right, social stigma never existed for anything until the nasty leftists came about. Before liberals existed, everyone got along perfectly and no ideas were ever rejected out of hand.

          *yawn*

      • At the risk of sounding like Im defending the snots for acting like poorly raised idiots, what exactly was the demeaning part?

        That they thought what they thought? That can’t be it, as I’m pretty sure we’re all opposed to thought police.

        That they expressed their thoughts out loud, in private? That shouldn’t be it, as what they expressed was neither a crime, nor in violation of school “rules”, as no one who initially heard the expressed words took offense, as far as we know.

        That they put those expressed thoughts down on paper? Why is this any more demeaning than what they thought, and what they said? If they wrote in their diaries about these same thoughts, would anyone care? No, b/c no on would know, and presumably, no one was to know in this case as well. Which makes them careless, not necessarily demeaning.

        That those written thoughts were exposed to the world, as well as the subjects of the thoughts? I have no idea how this list was exposed, but I assume that the team did not initiate its exposure. And if it turns out that the team was not behind the exposure, then their privacy was violated. Additionally, are the thoughts any more demeaning once exposed, than they were once thought, spoken, or written?

        Also, how is “looks like the kind of girl who likes to dominate, and likes to be dominated” really all that scandalous? As much as I was opposed to what Trump/Bush said was representative of how most men talk in locker rooms, Im pretty certain that saying “[Person A] looks like the type of person to [insert phrase you wouldn’t say in mixed company or to your mother, but routinely hear on prime time sitcoms] IS said in locker rooms, male and female, across the world.

  4. A.M. Golden

    “1. All of the players on the team lost the chance to play, whether they were part of the ranking activity or not.”

    Yes, that’s true. I used to hate it when two or three kids in grade school acted up and we all had to write lines….

    “2. Funny…I thought college coaches were teachers, and were responsible for training Harvard men to be gentlemen. Or is that an old-fashioned concept?”

    To modern universities, Old-Fashioned means the ’80s. I was under the impression that college coaches were only responsible now for producing winning teams. Any character development that accidentally falls out of that is purely coincidental.

    “3. Does this mean that it is now an offense at Harvard for male students to think impure thoughts about women? To express those thoughts in the company of other men? To get caught expressing such thoughts?”

    Yes, young men aren’t allowed to think anything but what’s poured into their heads by correct-thinking people. So impure thoughts are off the table. On the other hand, if a young man is an evangelical Christian who cautions his fellow students about avoiding impure thoughts as theological doctrine, he’s a religious zealot and bigot.

    “4. If Harvard had credible evidence that the women’s soccer team sat around after a game making cruel, sexually degrading statements about the men’s soccer team, what would be its response? What would be the offense?”

    Oh,come now, you know that sexism is only what men do to women, just as racism is only what is done to non-whites. What the women do is establish a safe space to talk about how men victimize them.

    “5. Will Harvard punish students for listening to hip-hop music that denigrates women? How about male students playing such songs in the locker room? How about female athletes playing them in the locker room?”

    No, because to cultural elites, violent and misogynistic art is an acceptable form of free speech that intolerant conservatives have tried to censor for years. If they don’t like it, they can change the channel. Surely, you aren’t suggesting that we punish black artistic expression?

    “6. Regarding the women’s team statement: would “locker room talk” be excusable it it was limited to athletic teams? Are students responsible for the fact that some people keep acting juvenile after graduation? How about high school athletes: should they be punished for the crude tendencies of the world’s men? Middle school athletes?”

    Give it time. If kids are already being taught to fear the thought of guns, I’m sure the fear of expulsion and sex offender status will be ingrained into middle schoolers before long to stifle any confused hormones.

    “7. Was the team’s punishment so harsh because of Donald Trump and Billy Bush?”

    Absolutely. They can’t punish Trump and Billy, so they’ll assign proxies.

    • Chris

      Yes, young men aren’t allowed to think anything but what’s poured into their heads by correct-thinking people. So impure thoughts are off the table. On the other hand, if a young man is an evangelical Christian who cautions his fellow students about avoiding impure thoughts as theological doctrine, he’s a religious zealot and bigot.

      Stop it. No one is being punished for “thinking impure thoughts.” They’re being punished for writing and circulating a disrespectful and demeaning document. That’s behavior, not thoughts.

      • Why do you think that any of the students actually wrote down or distributed anything? Because I think you just made that up.

        • Chris

          Why do you think that any of the students actually wrote down or distributed anything? Because I think you just made that up.

          I think that because I read the article, and that’s what it says, and that’s the entire reason they were punished.

          Since you didn’t read the article, why did you think they were being punished? What, do you think Harvard has actual telepaths in their employ, as part of a literal thought police? Is Charles Xavier the new dean?

          • Well, actually, I did read the article. Thankfully, I don’t suffer from a reading comprehension problem.

            The document was published in 2012. Just in case this confuses you, it’s currently 2016. Presumably in the four years since, a significant chunk of that team will have graduated, and been replaced by completely different people.

            Harvard didn’t go back in time and suspend the 2012 soccer season, they didn’t go back and punish the 2012 class, they punished this years class. (Again, the current year is 2016.)

            “Now Jeff.” You might say, “They continued making these lists up, even if they weren’t published! The investigation found them!”

            “Yes!” I would reply, “And that’s what makes it worse, because that means that these kids aren’t being punished for PUBLISHING the document… because they didn’t. They’re being punished for WRITING it.”

            • Read before posting, Jeff… Read before posting.

              “Yes!” I would reply, “And that’s what makes it worse, because that means that these kids aren’t being punished for PUBLISHING the 2012 document… because they didn’t. They’re being punished for WRITING the new ones.”

            • Spartan

              The practice was started in 2012 but was updated with 2016 females. It was kept on a shared Google groups page for the players.

              • Citation Please? Because I’m not going to say I’ve read everything on this, but it doesn’t say that in either the Harvard or NYT pieces.

                From the Harvard source:

                “The author and his teammates referred to the nine-page document as a “scouting report,” and the author circulated the document over the group’s email list on July 31, 2012.”

                So in 2012 they mailed the document among themselves.

                “The document and the entire email list the team used that season were, until recently, publicly available and searchable through Google Groups, an email list-serv service offered through Google.”

                SOMETIME in the intervening years, SOMEONE made the document public on Google Docs. “The Document” in this context refers to the 2012 document, because no other document is even inferred to have been published by the Harvard source.

                In fact:

                “The “report” appears to have been an annual practice. At the beginning of the document, the author writes that “while some of the scouting report last year was wrong, the overall consensus that” a certain player “was both the hottest and the most STD ridden was confirmed.””

                Which throws your contention directly under the bus. The 2012 document (because no other document is ever referenced) referenced a PREVIOUS document that was not actually available. 2012 was NOT the latest addition to a Google Doc, despite not being the first ‘report’ made, and apparently no ‘report’ was made public since.

                “Several members of the 2012 men’s team declined to comment on the document, including whether subsequent men’s soccer teams continued to create similar “reports.””

                In fact, no one seems to know if there even WAS a 2016 document, apparently… Because this is the only mention of the possibility of something more current.

                This is worse than I thought. They aren’t even punishing the current class for WRITING something, they’re punishing them for belonging to a club that did something four years ago.

                • “Which throws your contention directly under the bus. The 2012 document (because no other document is ever referenced) referenced a PREVIOUS document that was not actually available.”

                  Is confusing…. The 2012 document references another document that isn’t in evidence, and the Harvard article’s only mention of it is that line.”

      • Why is thinking it ok, and writing it down not? If they kept a journal of these thoughts at home, is that not ok? If they shared that journal with their friends at a sleepover, does that cross the line? Is it b/c it happened on campus?

        • Chris

          A journal is not a burn book.

          • And a tomato isn’t a dog, what’s your point. If they HAD kept the notes in a journal, and kept that journal in the locker room, are you implying that because a journal isn’t a burn book, that they wouldn’t be punished?

            My emphasis in the “kept a journal of these thoughts at home” was the home part, not the journal part (though, I did not make that clear). Is the real issue that they thought these things, that these thoughts were written/typed (regardless of whether its a burn book, journal, or napkin), or that something intended to be private was found out?

  5. Wow, is this post ever bringing out the cynicism, or what?

  6. deery

    I’m sure Harvard University has a Code of Conduct. So if these men violated that code, then they should be punished. At the very least, Harvard alleges that they lied when asked about the documents.

    “Locker room talk” is not enough to excuse behavior. I think the punishment, the cancellation of two games, is sufficiently heavy enough to note disapproval of the locker room culture these men were perpetuating.

    They have the right of free speech. They do not have the right of this free speech to be under the banner of Harvard University. This was not speech confined to banter between a few friends, but a publicly available document, fully searchable by anyone. The women on that team may very well have had a case against Harvard for sexual harassment if that behavior was allowed to continue unabated.

    Hip hop is a red herring. I would think any form of music, if it is objectionable, should not be heard in a locker room. Hip hop is far from the only genre that does this. Right now it it is mostly incomprehensible “mumble rap” and weepy odes to the ex-girlfriend, so it probably isn’t the best genre example to use right now anyway.

    • Not often that I agree with you, but I do on these points:
      1) I didn’t realize they lied about the doc, but if true, that has to be in violation of the Code of Conduct, and they should be punished for violating that.
      2) Any objectively objectionable music should not be played (if they school really does care about creating an environment where athletes aren’t objectified sexually), and should not (as Spartan earlier suggested) be protected from that scrutiny b/c it’s an “art form”.

      The “publicly accessible document” part, though…who made that so? Did the players do that, so that they could add to it, or was the document stolen and published?

      Your point on the school being liable for sexual harassment, if they ignored the behavior, is well taken.

      • deery

        I don’t know who made the document public on google docs, but my guess would be a team member, so that other team members could share their thoughts on the women in question. I think they didn’t fiddle enough with the privacy settings and made it public accidentally. The team, by Harvard’s account, was aware of the document on Google docs, so it wasn’t as if someone stole it and put it up there without their knowledge.

      • Spartan

        I actually said that music shouldn’t be banned in general but that it should be up to the coaches to control.

        • How generous of you. Might I read my “Atlas Shrugged” now, or is that inappropriate? Shall I burn it instead?

          • Spartan

            Some people think it’s a great book. Knock yourself out. I don’t really care if a private university polices its music or not — that’s how private schools work.

            • I actually think it was an awfully written book with some salient points. Her non-fiction was more digestible than her fiction in a lot of ways…. But neither was particularly enjoyable… I found myself wondering whether it was because she was ESL and some of the grammatical harshness was a throwback to Russian syntax, or if her writing was, as with much else about her, was just harsh. If so, she came to it honestly, a victim of Marxist bourgeois mentality… But it’s not exactly uplifting material, even when it means to be.

  7. From the NYTs article: “Lawyers for the university began investigating the men’s team after the college newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, reported last week that a player created a nine-page document in 2012 with numeric ratings, photos and lengthy evaluations of the freshman recruits of the Harvard women’s team based on their physical appearance. Men on the team referred to the document as a “scouting report.”
    _____________________

    I am pretty prudish in these matters and have strong opinions regarding about falling into pornographic seductions. However, when I read the opinions of some of the local ‘Progressives’, I am forced to reexamine my stance.

    It is far worse, and far more destructive, to enable the creation of a Thought Police Force and to have an administration respond to America’s hysterical females with their political causes. It may be juvenile, it may be crass and vulgar, but what is infinitely more horrid is to watch these women and their come-along swing into retributive action. It is the same basic mood and motivation (hysteria, reaction) that powers Twitter campaigns against *hated* figures, causes people to lose their employments, hurts them financially, and destroys their reputations.

    If the women of the Harvard soccer team have an issue, they should go and speak to each of those men in private and express their opinion. It should not ever be turned over to the police, either administration-‘police’ or the general thought-police. To allow these sorts of campaigns to gather steam is a far greater evenly than the activity disliked.

    How can I get even with these people? The only remaining contribution I make to a ‘progressive’ outfit is my small monthly donation to the ACLU. I am going to cut them off.

    Smash Cultural Marxism.

    • Alizia, I hope this doesn’t come across as offensive, but I’ve noticed your posts are more concise, and easier to understand/digest as of late; for which I am happy, as I think yours is a voice and way of thinking that should be heard here, but often wasn’t previously b/c your posts were pretty lengthy and difficult to transcribe.

      TL;DR This was a good post…lots of meaty thought and straight to the point.

      • I’ll take praise where I can get it.

        Nothing has really changed that I know of. I mean, I am not taking any new vitamins or anything. I have gotten into Greek cooking (to the delight of my family) and perhaps it is something in the Greek olives? Like an enzyme or something? Maybe it has made me more linear and rational?

  8. Grampy_Bone

    I would have sentenced them to a “Knock it off you knuckleheads” and made them pick up trash around the school or something.

    • Other Bill

      No kidding. And I’d say the same thing to the administrator who brought in the lawyers to “investigate” and have the administrators and the lawyers pick up trash as well.

      So now they’re going after these kids for perjury? Couldn’t get them on the predicate offense?

      If you don’t want jock behavior on campus, don’t have jocks on campus, a la the University of Chicago. Problem solved.

  9. *Clap, clap, clap*.

    You’ll be the general in the underground army when the counter-revolution starts. 😉

  10. Other Bill

    Wait a minute. The memo was from 2012? Is Harvard re-shirting soccer players? Aren’t most, if not all of those players gone to Goldman Sachs or Wall Street law firms or the Department of Justice or the Clinton Foundation by now? Is this even guilt by association?

    I have yet to understand why horrifically misogynistic, crudely macho “lyrics” in rap are embraced rather than blasted by all women. Maybe you can help me on that, Sparty. Do your girls listen to rap?

    • The article mentions a “yearly tradition”, so I think it started in 2012, but continued each year.

      And, I’m looking forward to hearing an answer to the question in your second paragraph

      • Other Bill

        As am I, CB.

      • It took me a couple of readings to realise they don’t have anything more recent. Everything references the 2012 document, which the 2016 players are being punished for.

        • Other Bill

          Thanks, HT.

        • deery

          It seems like the 2012 document set off the investigation, and the reports were still being made and circulated about as of this year. When asked, the team lied about it, which is what led to the punishment of forfeiting the last two games.

          University president Drew Faust said in a statement that she “was deeply distressed to learn that the appalling actions of the 2012 men’s soccer team were not isolated to one year or the actions of a few individuals.”

          “The decision to cancel a season is serious and consequential, and reflects Harvard’s view that both the team’s behavior and the failure to be forthcoming when initially questioned are completely unacceptable, have no place at Harvard, and run counter to the mutual respect that is a core value of our community,” Faust wrote.

          Rakesh Khurana, the dean of Harvard, released a statement Thursday evening saying he was “saddened and disappointed to learn that the extremely offensive ‘scouting report’ produced by the 2012 men’s soccer team continued through the current season.”

          The document rated the attractiveness of recruits on the women’s team and included lewd comments about them. Members of the men’s team called it their “scouting report” and circulated it online.

          http://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/17965882/harvard-cancels-men-soccer-rest-season-review-found-team-had-made-vulgar-comments-documents-women-team

          • Fair enough. I’m still not convinced that this was actionable by the university, and I’m wondering if this won’t just spark another lawsuit against the school…. But I’m going to walk back my outrage at the idea of punishing someone via guilt by three degrees of association.

    • deery

      I don’t think crudely misogynistic lyrics in rap are “embraced.” They are usually condemned, except by the young men (and some women) who think they are being oh so transgressive by quoting them. Some lyrics can be clever, even despite the misogyny, but that is a tiny percentage. But most rap and hip hop is not misogynistic. The days of “gangsta rap” are long over. The number 1 rap album is “Hamilton ” for goodness sake. I believe most people who don’t listen to the genre concept of rap and hip hop became calcified in 1992, and hasn’t really budged since.

      • Other Bill

        I guess I’m just out of date. I guess Snoop Dog and Kanye West and Jay Z are all doing inspirational raps now.

        This from an article headlined “The 15 Most Misogynist Lines In Rap History” at http://elitedaily.com/music/music-news/the-20-most-misogynist-lines-in-rap-history/

        “Here’s a look at some of the most misogynist lines ever spit:

        1) “So we could never be a couple hun / F*ck love / All I got for hoes is hard d*ck and bubblegum.” – Big L

        Big L, always the economist, makes some budgetary calculations of the heart.

        2) “Bitches ain’t sh*t but hoes and tricks / Lick on these nuts and suck the d*ck.” – Snoop Dogg

        Snoop Dogg gets straight to the point in the golden era of rap misogyny.

        3) “Once again I gotta punch a bitch in her sh*t / I’m icy bitch, don’t look at my wrist / Because if you do, I might blind you bitch.” – Jasper Dolphin of Odd Future

        Jasper takes aim at a woman’s face with fists and jewelry without a hint of subtlety.

        4) “I know she like chocolate men / She got more n*ggas off than Cochran.” – Kanye West

        This one seems a little too personal as Kanye verbally degrades his very own Kardashian.

        5) “You ain’t no better because you don’t be f*cking rappers / You only f*ck with actors / You’re still getting f*cked backwards” – Jay Z

        One of the main conceits of misogyny is that getting f*cked means you are a lesser being, and Jay Z epitomizes that sentiment here.

        6) “My little sister’s birthday / She’ll remember me / For a gift I had ten of my boys take her virginity.” – Bizarre

        Bizarre is the only member of D12 that can compete with Eminem for bottom of the barrel misogyny.

        7) “You know me I smoke a blunt while I’m getting brain / Stick my finger in her butt while I’m getting brain / Yeah I’m nasty bitch / What? / Lil Wayne.” – Lil Wayne

        This might be the most beautiful thing anyone’s ever said while bashing women.

        8) “I gotta say it; I’m the president, I run things / All these hoes tryna save a n*gga c*m stains.” – Lil Wayne

        He wasn’t done! Wayne sighs with disgust at the lengths women will go to Bill Clinton him.

        9) “Slut, you think I won’t choke no whore / Til the vocal cords don’t work in her throat no more?!” – Eminem

        There’s the crowd favorite! The undisputed champion of misogyny whose anger can be easily traced to his mommy issues.

        10) “Is Big L slow? / Hell no! / Bitches get f*cked on the roof when I ain’t got no hotel dough.” – Big L

        L was not playing at all on this one, letting loose his nefarious roof plans with no regard for human life.

        11) “My d*ck hard as a motherf*cker / You don’t what? / Tell that sh*t to another sucker.” – Cam’ron

        Cam invites the ladies to suck it or not, but only one option will suffice.

        12) “Baby girl pull your pants up, I only want your face.” – Fredo Santana

        This lyric is a crossover of misogyny, and the Chicago Drill scene’s obsession with oral sex over vaginal.

        13) “You ain’t gonna let me f*ck you and I feel you / But you gone suck my d*ck, or I’ll kill you.” – Chief Keef

        This kid is going to spend his entire life in jail, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. With lines like this, however, he might deserve it.

        14) “It’s damn near four in the morning, ain’t sh*t to discuss / Til you ask which d*ck do you suck.” – Jadakiss

        Kiss going in on his gold medal misogyny track, “F*ckin’ or What?” The entire song could be on this list, but this line’s the best.

        15) “Love a feminist b*tch, oh, it get my dick hard / So no apologies for all the misogyny.” – Danny Brown

        Self-aware misogyny is the best kind.”

        The article goes on to conclude:

        “Every day, a child is born to a woman who will someday grow up to think, talk and rap just like this. Judgment is corny, but examining the cultural forces which shape our perceptions and actions is essential.

        Without these brazen displays of misogyny, perhaps it would be something hidden in the household, whereas these lyrics publicize the phenomenon and open it to debate. What are your favorite misogynistic rap lines, and where do you stand on the issue? Tweet us @EliteDaily and let us know.”

        I guess I missed the wonderful benefits of these lines. Preposterous.

        • Other Bill

          These lyrics publicize misogyny and open it up for debate. I certainly don’t want to keep it hidden in my household. I think this Thanksgiving I’ll use these jewels to open up the debate.

        • deery

          I guess I’m just out of date. I guess Snoop Dog and Kanye West and Jay Z are all doing inspirational raps now.

          Yes, you are out of date. Those are the “elder stateman” of rap. Perhaps good enough for the Gen Xers on up, but hardly Millennial favorites. The young kids like rappers like Desiigner, Future, Young Thug. Snoop hasn’t been relevant as a rapper in years, too busy doing commercials, tv shows with Martha Stewart, and cameos in Pitch Perfect I suppose. Kanye retains relevance as a producer, but is mostly considered a joke, for his crazy rants, marrying Kim Kardashian, and his “interesting” fashion shows. Jay-Z retains some relevance as a rapper, when he deigns to do it anymore. When he does, he mostly raps about the Warhols and Picassos that he owns, and jetting off to Paris. His 99 Problem days are pretty far behind him.

          Some of those lyrics quoted are misogynistic, no doubt. Others are merely profane, which is a different category. Talking about sex, wanting sex, describing sex acts is not necessarily misogynistic. Mostly just dumb. And as noted in my post upthread, most of those are pretty old examples and were hardly chart-toppers even in their heyday. You can find examples of misogynistic lyrics in pretty much any popular American music form. Just google “misogynistic rock and roll lyrics” or even “misogynistic broadway lyrics” if you don’t believe me.

          • Other Bill

            But just so I’m clear, these lyrics are okay but the soccer team doing scouting reports on new women players is not. Got it.

            • Other Bill

              Oh, I see. All songwriters do it. Could you please find some comparably awful Broadway musical lyrics for me? I’m not a big Broadway guy.

              You know, it’s funny. According to the left, anything always goes and “it’s all good,” except when, mysteriously, it’s not.

              I have a theory about the supposed “rape culture” on American campuses. I think it relates to young guys (and girls) watching porn and thinking it’s not art, but reality. Guys think fellatio and vaginal and anal sex is just fine with every Sally, Delores and Heather. They want to have casual sex just like they see in the movies. And the girls go along with it and suffer seller’s remorse and get all upset and go to the Dean, or their Mom takes them to the Dean, and they say, “I didn’t say he could [fill in the blank:] stick his penis in my mouth, stick his penis in my vagina, or stick his penis in my rectum.” And it’s been the left that has been urging rights and protection for sex workers and-poo pooing concerns about the proliferation of pornography. No to mention the idea that guilt-free, casual sex is not only possible but the ideal. You can’t have your country pie and eat it too, deery.

              And by the way, if art protects rap lyrics, why doesn’t satire protect what the Harvard soccer guys were doing, as Jack suggests? I bet those guys have to read more scouting reports in a season than they do books. Why not have a little fun with the whole scouting jargon and belief system?

              • deery

                I have a theory about the supposed “rape culture” on American campuses. I think it relates to young guys (and girls) watching porn and thinking it’s not art, but reality. Guys think fellatio and vaginal and anal sex is just fine with every Sally, Delores and Heather. They want to have casual sex just like they see in the movies. And the girls go along with it and suffer seller’s remorse and get all upset and go to the Dean, or their Mom takes them to the Dean, and they say, “I didn’t say he could [fill in the blank:] stick his penis in my mouth, stick his penis in my vagina, or stick his penis in my rectum.” And it’s been the left that has been urging rights and protection for sex workers and-poo pooing concerns about the proliferation of pornography. No to mention the idea that guilt-free, casual sex is not only possible but the ideal. You can’t have your country pie and eat it too, deery.

                ????

                Ok…I don’t even know where to begin with this. Suffice to say, it has very little to do with the “scouting reports.” I think both the left and the right have concerns about the proliferation of pornography, albeit for different reasons. And I have absolutely no problems with protections for sex workers, so I guess there’s that.

                And by the way, if art protects rap lyrics, why doesn’t satire protect what the Harvard soccer guys were doing, as Jack suggests? I bet those guys have to read more scouting reports in a season than they do books. Why not have a little fun with the whole scouting jargon and belief system?

                Because Harvard is a private university. You seem to have some trouble understanding the protections and limits of the 1st Amendment. The soccer team can absolutely say what they said about the women. They have that right (up to the limits of defamation and libel). They don’t have the right to do that under the banner of Harvard University. Some universities ban pre-marital sex, or even kissing. Some require church attendance. Others homosexual behavior. That would be illegal if it was mandated by the government, but private universities can, and do, have different standards for such things. Hope that clears it up a bit.

              • “I have a theory about the supposed “rape culture” on American campuses.”
                _____________

                Have you hesred of Katie Roiphe?: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Morning_After_(book)

                “The Morning After offers a scathing critique of current sexual politics. Roiphe’s provocative conclusion: the “rape crisis movement” sweeping college campuses is a fraud. Roiphe scoffs at the claim that one in four college women have been raped and she ridicules young feminists for wallowing in their own “victimization.” A Princeton graduate student, Roiphe rails against “Take Back the Night” speak-outs where young women stand before a microphone and tell stories of rape and abuse to an audience of hundreds. Roiphe recalls feeling “perplexed” and “annoyed” watching her peers share the painful, intimate details of their lives.”

                http://observer.com/2016/03/katie-roiphe-has-mommy-issues/

                • Other Bill

                  Thanks AT. I’ll check it out.

                  • Other Bill

                    The Morning After received a positive response from Camille Paglia, who called it “an eloquent, thoughtful, finely argued book that was savaged from coast to coast by shallow, dishonest feminist book reviewers”.

                    I’m a big Camille Paglia fan.

            • deery

              But just so I’m clear, these lyrics are okay but the soccer team doing scouting reports on new women players is not. Got it.

              Who said the lyrics were ok? Upthread, I specifically said that any objectionable music (as determined by the private university) could be banned from the locker room.

              I don’t think the lyricists should be punished for their lyrics, nor the lyrics banned by the government. Individuals and private entities however, can do whatever they want.

              The lewd “scouting reports” can be freely published. However, as I’ve already stated, they have no right to do that under the auspices of Harvard University. Harvard University, furthermore, is under no obligation to sport a soccer team if it doesn’t want to. Further still, the men in question probably signed a code of conduct in order to play, and this behavior almost certainly went against that. They also lied about the “scouting reports” when asked. And finally, for Harvard to allow the behavior to continue unchecked is to allow sexual harassment of its players to continue. No responsible university would, or should allow such behavior to continue.

              Song lyrics have none of these complications. Don’t like it? Fine. Turn it off. The end.

  11. Aleksei

    I think it would be fair to say the attitudes expressed by the young men of the soccer team most likely go against Harvard values. I would say it would be reasonable for the administration to distance themselves from this, issue a sincere apology, levy sanctions for the coach, as he is the commanding officer here, so to say, and to have an investigation into the particular individuals who engaged in this activity, if need be, and give them sanctions as well. When I say sanctions, I imagine something reasonable, and getting taken off the team or being fired would be too drastic. People in professional sports get like a 2 game suspension for domestic abuse. Applying collective punishment is just not what American society stands for. We stand for individual rights and liberties.One might suspect that this is social justice groupthink behavior being observed in this scandal, where we need to judge the entire group. Since we are not aiming for Genghis Khan army type discipline, if someone needs to be punished, it is the individual who is engaging in misconduct. I don’t see anyone cancelling the entire Patriots team for misconduct. I think this may be Harvard just showing everybody what a moral ivory tower they have. With the same logic, can we suspend the HRC campaign, because they said unsavory things about Catholics, Latinos, millennials, half of Trump voters, etc. To be fair and balanced, the Trump campaign as well for all his views on some groups. As a nuclear option (trigger warning: satire), I think all the private organizations that are “on the right side of history” should just ban any activity that has over 50% male participation, since that would be an explicit validation of patriarchy, which is toxic and oppressive to all women and non-white persons.

    • deery

      Entire teams get punished all the time for actions for actions of individuals. The NCAA, for example, often suspends teams for years because of the actions of a coach and a few players.

      If the actions are pervasive and long-standing, it is probably the right thing to do. In this case, Harvard indicated that the team members in question also lied about the “scouting reports” and tried to undermine the investigation. That seems to be a real sticking point for Harvard. I don’t think the the two game punishment is excessive, rather it seems a little wimpy on the whole, but it is enough to send a message to the entire team that those behaviors will not be tolerated while they are playing for Harvard. Fair enough in the end, I suppose.

      • Apples and oranges, big time.. When organizations suspend whole teams, it is because of cheating and rule-breaking. A player on a team that is cheating or has cheated, breaking the organization’s rules that the team’s management and administration knowingly and intentionally violated for an unfair competitive advantage. The Harvard soccer team’s players, some of them, engaged in crude and sexist conduct over a period of years. There wasn’t even a policy or a rule that they broke, and it had nothing to do with soccer, nor did it effect the games. If the NAACP had suspended a college’s team because it had a running joke involving the ridicule and denigration of women, THAT would be the equivalent of what you are talking about in your “It’s done all the time” , aka Rationalization Numero Uno. But it’s not.

        In ethical terms, the punishment of non-involved students is about as fair as the NCAA punishing the Penn State team AND players for the non-football, non-player, child-molestation-enabling conduct of its coach and the Penn State administration simply because it created a PR problem for the association. That was, you’ll recall, knocked down by the courts and reversed, but I’m sure the NCAA thought it was worth it, because it was pure grandstanding and they ultimately didn’t give a damn that it was unfair or who it was unfair to.

        Just like Harvard.

        • deery

          Except that it seemed as if the entire team lied and tried to cover-up the “scouting reports” when questioned about them. Also, I am quite sure Harvard University has a policy against sexual harassment, and a code of conduct in general. Any violation of which could have led to the suspension of the entire team, especially when it seems that the majority of the team either engaged in the behavior, or knew about it and did nothing to stop it, indeed, even lying about it when asked.

          The forfeiting of the two games was a mild rebuke, at best.

          • 1. Lying is wrong. On the other hand, what students discuss among themselves is none of Harvard’s damn business. That would have been my response. But they are kids, not Scooter Libby.

            2. This wasn’t sexual harassment by any stretch of the imagination. If they sent the report to the women mocked, THAT would be sexual harassment.

            3. Any violation of which could have led to the suspension of the entire team, especially when it seems that the majority of the team either engaged in the behavior, or knew about it and did nothing to stop it, indeed, even lying about it when asked. You appear to be making this. I went there, you know. I never heard of such a Code. Harvard isn’t West Point. Students took over buildings and weren’t suspended…and that’s illegal.

            • deery

              1. Lying is wrong. On the other hand, what students discuss among themselves is none of Harvard’s damn business. That would have been my response. But they are kids, not Scooter Libby.

              No one is going to jail. And this was more than “a discussion among themselves”, but a publicly available, written document, that named women, talked about what they would be like in bed, stated that some women had STD’s, and amongst other things.

              2. This wasn’t sexual harassment by any stretch of the imagination. If they sent the report to the women mocked, THAT would be sexual harassment.

              Of course it was sexual harassment. It creates a hostile environment. If a bunch of guys at a workplace posted a freely available document that talked about their co-workers in such a manner, you would not consider that sexual harassment? And if the employer took steps to punish or even fire the employees, you would not think it completely justified? Curious.

              3. Any violation of which could have led to the suspension of the entire team, especially when it seems that the majority of the team either engaged in the behavior, or knew about it and did nothing to stop it, indeed, even lying about it when asked. You appear to be making this up. I went there, you know. I never heard of such a Code. Harvard isn’t West Point. Students took over buildings and weren’t suspended…and that’s illegal.

              http://handbook.fas.harvard.edu/book/honesty


              Honesty

              The College expects that all students will be honest and forthcoming in their dealings with the members of this community. Further, the College expects that students will answer truthfully questions put to them by a properly identified officer of the University. Failure to do so ordinarily will result in disciplinary action, including but not limited to requirement to withdraw from the College.

              • 1. “No one is going to jail.” #22. Try again.

                2. “Failure to do so ordinarily will result in disciplinary action, including but not limited to requirement to withdraw from the College.” The only way this can be interpreted, and the only way it would be, is “depending on the seriousness of the matter” and “whether the inquiry is fair and reasonable.”

                It’s a meaningless statement, the kind unethical lawyers draft to intimidate people. “What’s your favorite color?” “Blue.” “HA! We have you on video saying it’s yellow! You’re expelled!” ANY question? Are you gay? Have you ever told a racist joke? Laughed at one? Do you support Hillary Clinton? Would you date a black woman?

                My roommate read Playboy and looked at the pictures. Is that any of Harvard’s business? If he said, “No” if asked, would that trigger punishment? Lying in response to someone abusing power and position is a classic gray area. It’s one reason in criminal investigations subjects have lawyers, to say: “you don’t have to answer that!”

                Again, you are tilting totalitarian.

                • deery

                  This was to establish that I was not making it up, as you stated, there was a code of conduct that Harvard has. If the men disagreed with this code, then they could have fought to change it (before getting in trouble) or not go to Harvard in the first place. It is exceedingly easy not to go to Harvard, from what I’m to understand.

                  The code is available online, for people to consider before they apply. In much the same way I may not agree with BYU’s prohibition on premarital sex, homosexuality, and cohabitation, therefore I would never go there, if the men disagreed with Harvard’s “totalitarian rules”, they are always free not to apply, or withdraw upon discovery. That’s a private university for you.

                  • To the extent that you asserted that there was an applicable code, you did make it up. It’s not applicable or enforceable, hence irrelevant.

                    • deery

                      Of course it is applicable and enforceable in this case, so it is relevant. It is easy to see, because Harvard both applied, and enforced it. You may not *like* the application and enforcement, but that is another matter altogether. I would say BYU’s rules against premarital sex are even less harder to apply and enforce, but they still expel students every year for because private universities can do such things. Even if I disagree., that doesn’t make it unethical. Students were forewarned before enrollment, and could have lobbied for change before they got into trouble about it.

            • deery

              Furthermore:

              “Sexual Harassment
              “Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, graphic, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when: (1) submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a condition of an individual’s employment or academic standing or is used as the basis for employment decisions or for academic evaluation, grades, or advancement (quid pro quo); or (2) such conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it interferes with or limits a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s education or work programs or activities (hostile environment).
              …………………
              “A hostile environment can be created by persistent or pervasive conduct or by a single severe episode. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to prove a hostile environment. Sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, and domestic and dating violence, is a form of sexual harassment. In addition, the following conduct may violate this Policy:

              ………
              • “Commenting about or inappropriately touching an individual’s body

              • “Lewd or sexually suggestive comments, jokes, innuendoes, or gestures

              …..
              “Other verbal, nonverbal, graphic, or physical conduct may create a hostile environment if the conduct is sufficiently persistent, pervasive, or severe so as to deny a person equal access to the University’s programs or activities. Whether the conduct creates a hostile environment may depend
              on a variety of factors, including: the degree to which the conduct affected one or more person’s education or employment; the type, frequency, and duration of the conduct; the relationship between the parties; the number of people involved; and the context in which the conduct occurred.

              http://www.fas.harvard.edu/files/fas/files/sexual_and_gender-based_harassment_policy_and_procedures_for_the_fas_.pdf

              • I said this wasn’t sexual harassment, so this is not a relevant Code. There has never been, and never will be, a situation where X is held to have harassed Y by conduct that was not intended for X to know about, and when there was a reasonable expectation that Y would never know about it. Here—I just stripped naked and said obscene things about Kate Upton, my next door neighbor, and my secretary, in my office alone. If all of it were secretly recorded, I’d be embarrassed as hell, but I still wouldn’t have been guilty of sexual harassment.

                No wonder you think this is reasonable punishment. You don’t have the first clue about what sexual harassment is. Not to play the authority card or anything, but I do train company staffs on this.

                • Other Bill

                  I remember two good friends of mine in law school who roomed together our first year. We all casually discussed the women in the law school. My friends’ standard description/shorthand among themselves for what they assessed to be wanton women (hilariously, really- this was at a very very Catholic University) was “She probably wears buckskin underwear.” I guess we were creating a hostile environment and should have been punished, maybe kicked out or prohibited from being admitted to any state’s bar.

                  • At Harvard, the booklet that Freshman got including photos of all members of the class was popularly referred to as the “pig book,” and that was not a reference to the guys. Someone had to explain it to me. A lot of guys…and I’ll bet Radcliffe students too…wrote funny/nasty/dirty comments next to the photos. I don’t even like to guess at what they wrote by mine—my high school graduation picture was so awful I wouldn’t make any prints.

                    • deery

                      You mean….the Facebook…? 🙂

                    • Other Bill

                      Same thing at Hamilton. I think the book for Kirkland, the girls’ school across the street was referred to identically. Must be a prep school term.

                      In my high school picture I looked like a low grade, clean-cut, clean shaven, well-coiffed Tab Hunter in a collar and tie and graduation gown. By the time I got to college a summer later, I was working on a full beard and was pretty scruffy. While visiting the Kirkland campus, I picked up and perused the Hamilton facebook that belonged to a girl who is now selling luxury real estate in Greenwich, CT. She had gone through the book, probably over the summer, and circled a number of the guys who were likely prospects. I had been circled but, I’m guessing having seen my more current visage, she’d placed a huge “X” across poor Tab.

                • deery

                  I said this wasn’t sexual harassment, so this is not a relevant Code. There has never been, and never will be, a situation where X is held to have harassed Y by conduct that was not intended for X to know about, and when there was a reasonable expectation that Y would never know about it. Here—I just stripped naked and said obscene things about Kate Upton, my next door neighbor, and my secretary, in my office alone. If all of it were secretly recorded, I’d be embarrassed as hell, but I still wouldn’t have been guilty of sexual harassment.

                  Ah, so because you say it isn’t sexual harassment, obviously it isn’t. Well ok then.

                  If you stripped naked, said obscene things about your coworker and what you wanted to do to her, said she had STDs, and then posted it on a readily available comment board accessible to this co-worker, you have created a hostile environment. Congratulations. This was not a secret recording. This was published material, seemingly published by the men themselves.

                  No wonder you think this is reasonable punishment. You don’t have the first clue about what sexual harassment is. Not to play the authority card or anything, but I do train company staffs on this.

                  Sad.

                  • “If you stripped naked, said obscene things about your coworker and what you wanted to do to her, said she had STDs, and then posted it on a readily available comment board accessible to this co-worker, you have created a hostile environment. Congratulations. This was not a secret recording. This was published material, seemingly published by the men themselves.”

                    No, in fact it would not be. And it was not publicly published. Sending stuff on e-mail isn’t regarded—yet—as publication.

                    What is sad is that you won’t accept that you don’t know what you are talking about, so you can squeeze facts into structures where they don’t belong. What is sad is that when someone—ME—who does know the topic, you put your fingers in your ears and hum.

                    None of the Harvard statements nor the responses of the female students mentioned that sexual harassment was the issue, or mentioned it at all. Know why? Come on, guess.

                    • deery

                      No, in fact it would not be. And it was not publicly published. Sending stuff on e-mail isn’t regarded—yet—as publication.

                      It was on Google Docs as a shared document, for other team members to edit in their own thoughts about the women.

                      So if a group of 20-30 male coworkers wrote about a document speculating about the sexual positions, history, and STD status of their female coworkers, passing it among themselves for four years, an email even, and this document or email was discovered or accidently forwarded to the women, it would not constitute a hostile work environment? Ok.

                      None of the Harvard statements nor the responses of the female students mentioned that sexual harassment was the issue, or mentioned it at all. Know why? Come on, guess.

                      If I was Harvard, I would strenuously avoid any mention of it, because I would not want to be sued.

                      If I were the women, I would sit on it, and wait to see if Harvard or any of the men on the team were forthcoming with any compensation first for having my name forever being linked on the internet with having an STD. Then I would proceed (or not) from there.

    • Chris

      With the same logic, can we suspend the HRC campaign, because they said unsavory things about Catholics, Latinos, millennials, half of Trump voters, etc.

      Who is “we” in this sentence? Neither you nor I can suspend the HRC campaign, because neither of us run it. If Hillary wanted to suspend it to punish people in her campaign who’ve said awful things, she could of course do so.

      Just like Harvard can suspend its own soccer team.

  12. From the Harvard Crimson and the letter published by the women’s soccer team representative:

    “In all, we do not pity ourselves, nor do we ache most because of the personal nature of this attack. More than anything, we are frustrated that this is a reality that all women have faced in the past and will continue to face throughout their lives. We feel hopeless because men who are supposed to be our brothers degrade us like this. We are appalled that female athletes who are told to feel empowered and proud of their abilities are so regularly reduced to a physical appearance. We are distraught that mothers having daughters almost a half century after getting equal rights have to worry about men’s entitlement to bodies that aren’t theirs. We are concerned for the future, because we know that the only way we can truly move past this culture is for the very men who perpetrate it to stop it in its tracks.

    “Having considered members of this team our close friends for the past four years, we are beyond hurt to realize these individuals could encourage, silently observe, or participate in this kind of behavior, and for more than four years have neglected to apologize until this week.

    “We have seen the “scouting report” in its entirety. We know the fullest extent of its contents: the descriptions of our bodies, the numbers we were each assigned, and the comparison to each other and recruits in classes before us. This document attempts to pit us against one another, as if the judgment of a few men is sufficient to determine our worth. But, men, we know better than that. Eighteen years of soccer taught us that. Eighteen years—as successful, powerful, and undeniably brilliant female athletes – taught us that.

    “We know what it’s like to get knocked down. To lose a few battles. To sweat, to cry, to bleed. To fight so hard, yet no matter what we do, the game is still out of our hands. And, even still, we keep fighting; for ourselves, yes, but above all for our teammates. This document might have stung any other group of women you chose to target, but not us. We know as teammates that we rise to the occasion, that we are stronger together, and that we will not tolerate anything less than respect for women that we care for more than ourselves.”
    _____________________

    There is something so creepy in this that has to be located and exposed. I believe it is connected with the American woman’s movement and with its original Puritanism. Here, in highfaluting tones, these women in an almost ridiculous seriousness, and with such stone-set faces, take and occupy a moralizing position, and transforming what is a normal activity among men, and one that women also engage in (assessing looks essentially), into a moral evil. Through this ridiculous *tone* they establish themselves as Judges of men in history, and they place themselves above them, employing a moral power. This is a very developed shaming game. It is not that what these women are saying is *wrong*, because it IS best if men respect women and avoid lewdness, which does debase all concerned. But I suggest that this letter and the animus behind it conceals a more raw issue of power and the use of power, and I especially sense that this is a tactic — widespread — by which the Lefty-Progressive-Liberal Righteous camp asserts its power as cultural monitors.

    I also feel that there is a good deal of hypocricy in these Righteous Declarations by these Righteous Women. But because they take and occupy what is recognized as a ‘high ground’ and in this overdone seriousness link the assessments of these men of their physical selves with a historical and terrestrial oppression, I think that one can clearly hear two different *notes*. One is that of the puritanical ‘mojigata’ (excessive moral attitude) which seems connected to Christian or post-Christian moralism; but the other seems to me connected to a pervasive application of Marxian principles. This attitude and way of seeing things, and framing things, comes out of the Academy and the Universities and has been *installed* in our perceptions and for this reason it is hard to see it as such. The reason it seems to become so attached to our perceptions is because, at its core, it is sentimental. Notice the way the whole *statement* is framed.

    They say they do not want pity, that may be true, but they very much DO want to play on the emotional strings. These guys who catalogued some fellow students in private communication did not just offend these self-righteous women, no indeed! They participated in and perpetuated the horrors of what women have to live as women in this frightening and terrible world! And it is men who (now) must pay. And pay they will. The Marxian element here is real. The purpose of Marxian class-warfare praxis is to locate and establish class-conflicts and to make them worse, to bring to crisis, and when crisis is attained to enact different power-relations, or in any case to topple or to undermine some *oppressive* structure. In my view, though I have a whole discourse against the sexualization (pornographization) of women, I am much more concerned of the tricks, sophistires and chicanery of these women, but also of women and men today who seem to me to ride in on the coat tails of contentious issues for power-purposes.

    I believe that it is not hard to see how these power-plays are carried out in a general way in the various media. More especially, and perhaps because it seems to have established itself as America’s Political and Cultural Dissemintation Organ, I notice it every day in the NYTs. But it is carried out with such sophistication, in such a practiced manner, that unless one can pick it all apart with the tools of a Media Studies research unit, one reads and absorbs in such a way that successful Public Relations campaigns best function: that you are influenced and convinced invisibly, in such a way that you don’t even know how it happened. You are ‘eviscerated’ dialectically, to borrow Beth’s telling term.

    The problem is, as I see it, that like in the Cultural Revolution in Maoist China, a sense of *mission* has been installed in women. It comes from many different sources and angles. I notice it in sports advertising. I notice it in some advertising designed for girls and teenagers. It certainly comes from the *higher* cultural end and from more sophisticated journals of opinion. I am very suspicious when I notice advertising, government, and cultural enforcers *working these angles* in concerted fashion and patrolling and policing and collaring and punishing malfeasants.

    But how can you attack them? How can you resist? The only way is to disassemble the entire *combine* (to borrow a term from Big Chief), and this means dismantling structures of ideas which have been somewhat indelibly *installed* in us that it is a painful undertaking.

    • Other Bill

      Tremendous post, AT. Congratulations. Great analysis and very lucid and to the point.

    • Alizia,
      That is the most focused thing I’ve seen you write since I’ve been participating here. Lots of very interesting things to think about and an excellent analysis from your point of view; truly worth of the Comment of the Day honor.

      The padawan becomes a master; well done. 😉

  13. Other Bill

    A question for the women commenters out there. I’ve heard two anecdotal examples of women getting together and engaging in “locker room” talk.

    First, a freshman classmate in college (in 1969) purported to have lived with a bunch of girls in a rented house the summer before we matriculated. He was a classic Italian Stallion but well to do. He may have been bragging and merely engaging in locker room talk, of course. But in any event, in his best Bronx but now living in a more northern suburb accent, Bobby said “Chics are disgusting when they get together. All they do is talk about the size of guys cocks. It’s disgusting.” So take that for what it’s worth.

    Second, in the early ’80s, a law firm classmate of mine, a super nice, bright, sophisticated, hilariously self-deprecating and well-mannered woman from Philadelphia, mentioned in passing that at a hen party the women lawyers (all associates at that time, of course) spent a fair amount of time coming to a consensus as to which of the men lawyers in the firm had the best ass.

    The questions for the women commenters are:

    Is it only men who engage in “locker room” talk? If women do, do you take them to task for doing so when it occurs or do you let it go? Are women permitted to engage in “lock room” talk while men aren’t?

    Anyone can respond. AT has already suggested women do rate guys. Sparty of course. But wyogranny would be great to hear from as well. And Sparty, please skip over the hearsay objections. We’re not in court. All anecdotal evidence is admissible. But I’d like to hear from women as I think any statements would be admissions against interest and even Sparty would allow them in her courtroom.

    • “Are women permitted to engage in “lock room” talk while men aren’t?”

      I suspect from many people, the answer is yes, and it has something to do with power structure, or other such nonsense. Just like blacks can’t be racist.

      Check out his video:

      The woman staring in it smacks the bottom of 2 men, and its supposed to be taken as “cheeky”, like she’s one of the boys. They didn’t ask for it, she didn’t request their consent, she just did what she wanted, and didn’t give it a 2nd thought. And because this is a throwaway joke, it’s normalized as acceptable, because men have all the power all the time (blah, blah), and if a woman wants to act as badly as a man, she’s just evening the playing field and asserting herself.

      I don’t really care about the commercial, (except to the extent that it attempts to normalize behavior that if reversed, would send certain groups of people running off screaming “this commercial further proves that men think they have ownership over women’s bodies!!!”), but I do detest the notion that when one group has had their rights infringed upon, and had their “power” tamped down for hundreds of years, that the best way to achieve a world where everyone is treated as equals is to continue to treat these people differently. Except, instead of beating them down, they (we’re) given kid glove treatment.

      • charlesgreen

        “behavior that if reversed, would send certain groups of people running off screaming…”

        Oh please. This is just right-wing PC nonsense, trying to deny that there is any difference between men and women. Earth to Bentley: there is a difference. Ditto between black and white. And a lot of it has to do with power.

        Hint: if you wanted power, and had the choice to be born as a) black or b) white, which would you choose? How about a) male or b) female?

        Get real – everyone knows there are power imbalances except in your fevered mind where “if the behavior were reversed” it would be unacceptable. The behavior ISN’T reversed, and can’t be, because the world is not wired that way.

        • Other Bill

          So women don’t have power. Hmmm. You want to give my wife the news? I’d rather not. Or maybe tell Sparty she has no power.

        • Wow. You are, very directly, telling me that regardless of what I think, or the experiences Ive had in my life, when it comes to having “power”, I will always fall short. And I’m the one spouting nonsense. Great pep talk, you should coach little leaguers.

          If I had a choice to be born white or black, I would choose to still be born black. Not because it runs contrarian to what you believe, but because, as Ive told you on numerous occasions, I have never (that I am aware of) been the victim of racial discrimination, and, just so happen to be proud of being black, so there’s no reason for me to wish to be of a different race. Now you have previously pointed out that my life story is anecdotal, but this question is directly about what I would choose, and seeing the changing winds, about how its now en vogue to demean whites with impunity, especially white males, I’ll gladly continue being black, thank you very much.

          And since the subject of the question is, again, me, and I’ve spent my lifetime working in the world of education where every last direct supervisor (except one) has been female; and considering how I was turned down for my dream job, as the Athletic Director at Mercy High School (an all-girls school) in Baltimore City, because my interviewer (who was also the outgoing AD) told me, during the interview, that she was more likely than not going to give the position a female, as she preferred to have a female in that role; with that in mind, if I want to get to the leadership positions that I want in the world of education, it would not hurt my chances to gain that “power” if I was reincarnated as a woman.

          My apologies for that insanely long run-on sentence; I am just that incensed that you see me, a black man, as someone who no matter what I do, will always come in second to the white man in my attempts to succeed in this world. That, if I really want to be successful, I’d have been better of being born white.

          Go on, keep telling me I have less power than you, because of my skin color.

          • Comment of the Day. Brave and provocative.

          • charlesgreen

            Chris,
            My question was, “…if you wanted power…” Nothing else.

            I completely accept and congratulate you for not limiting your life to a single question. But that, and solely that, is the hypothetical question I raised.

            if you were to answer that single question, do you really deny that, all things equal, women have as much power in this world as men do? Blacks have as much power as whites do?

            All else equal, on the whole and on the average, the answer is staring all of us smack in the face. All the more credit to you that you choose to see life more fully than in that one dimension – life is indeed irreducible to a single dimension – but neither does your holistic personal worldview alter the fact of that one dimension.

            I absolutely do NOT “see [you], a black man, as someone who no matter what [you] do, will always come in second to the white man in [your] attempts to succeed in this world.” But do a thousand coin flips on an issue of power, and you know perfectly well the odds are neither random, nor stacked in your favor. I learned that from my ex-wife, a proud, strong and successful black woman.

            • Other Bill

              Charles, I think you might get something out of Alizia’s recent comments. I think your “power” analysis is simply un-adulterated Marxism. I love Chris Bentley’s mentioning he’s “anecdotal.” If you take off your Marxist eye glasses, you’ll see we’re ALL anecdotal. We’re individuals. We make or break our own lives. We’re not just members of a group or a demographic. We act in our self interest. We don’t spend our time oppressing other people or groups, we all just want to provide for ourselves.

              What’s Chris supposed to have done with his life? Worry about equalizing power or simply doing his best to live his life as well as he can?

              • charlesgreen

                Other Bill,

                I think you’re confusing ethics with sociology.

                I completely agree with you about the right choice for Chris between “Worry about equalizing power or simply doing his best to live his life as well as he can?” Of course he should do his best to live his life as well as he can, etc. That’s the ethical point, and that’s the right answer for all of us as individuals.

                But that is completely irrelevant when it comes to describing the social reality in which you, Chris or I conduct our lives. On nearly any given day you can find examples of racial bias in daily American life: here’s this week’s example, about Uber and Lyft drivers:
                http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/uber-lyft-race-gender-discrimination-study_us_58175a23e4b064e1b4b37de7

                Discrimination is real; that doesn’t mean Chris should let it ruin his day or his life, or even his attitude, and I commend him for not letting it mess with him. To use your terms, that is precisely what he “should” do with his life.

                But equally, that doesn’t mean that he, you or anyone should willfully deny the pervasive, factual reality of structural racial discrimination in this society. That’s the sociological perspective.

                To sum it up: we should be soberly conscious of the world we live in, and strive to make it better. Meanwhile, we go to life in the world we are given, not the world we might wish for, and we should live our lives without excessive paranoia or self-pity.

                Those are NOT contradictory perspectives; I would argue that believing strongly in both of them is the only way to be humanly, consciously ethical in an imperfect world.

                • Other Bill

                  But Charles, how do you change people, particularly with large government programs? How do you make people less prejudiced? I just think individuals have to make a huge effort to live a successful life. I think the U.S. provides all its inhabitants a great chance live a successful life, probably better than anywhere else. But if you’re discriminated against, you have to figure out a way around it. Clearly, you’ve faced various challenges in your life and have had to negotiate your way around them. What’s the most important thing that’s made you able to live a successful life, at whatever level that happens to be? You and the things you’ve done and haven’t done. Just like Chris Bentley. Why has your ex-wife been able to lead a successful life? For the same reasons- what she’s done in response to her situation. She figured out a way, just as we all do. But the key ingredient was HER.

                  • Other Bill

                    And how do you make people not be racists? Which I think is important since I don’t see how so called “systemic racism” can be anything other than personal racism by lots and lots of people.

                    How were my views of black people shaped? My parents had to have the biggest effect. Plus Catholic school. We played basketball against (an away game) the black parish’s team. My dad worked with black guys at his work at an International Harvester dealership in Miami. Invariably, the black guys were the hardest working, most talented guys in the shop. We’d visit their families on Sundays. They’d come to our house with their wives to visit “Mr. Bob.” I’ve worked with black guys. My wife has worked with black people. I have cousins who are essentially racists and that’s always very educational. I could go on, but my point is all these experiences have made me the way I am in my relation to black people. I don’t think I’m a racist, but if I am not, it is a combination of a LOT of intricate things over the course of lifetime. How can this sort of thing be accomplished by government clubs or carrots? (Keeping in mind that discrimination is illegal and has been for my adult life.)

                  • charlesgreen

                    OB, I completely agree with nearly everything you say here, so I really don’t want to take much of an argument with you on this. We’re in sync. Life is lived personally, not institutionally, we all have only our life to live. We each deserve a lot of credit, and/or blame, for doing it right, or not. No argument from me.

                    The question you raise, here and below, is what role is played by our social sides? Because for all of us except Robinson Crusoe, we influence others and are influenced by them.

                    Families are one aspect of society, as are ‘tribes.’ Your parents, your Catholic school, your workplace, your neighborhoods – all these have large influences on our lives, and all are subject to some form of social design, overtly or not.

                    Would your school have played against a black parish’s team 50 years ago? Did your dad’s IH dealership have the same level of integration in 1960 that it did in 1995? I don’t know the particular answers, but social interactions like those can be affected by “social engineering,” whether at the Federal, State, local, or institutional level.

                    Our beliefs are our own and we live our lives one by one – but our beliefs are also formed by our social experiences, and those in turn are formed by all kinds of social institutions – churches, schools, governments, clubs, voluntary organizations.

                    I suppose broadly you could say that conservatives are traditionally loathe to tinker with social organizations, because they can have such dramatic impact on beliefs – and liberals are more eager to tinker with them, for precisely the same reasons.

        • Phlinn

          Your entire argument amounts to the King’s Pass for all minorities. The ethics and morality of any given behavior can not depend on whose doing it without completely giving up the concept of equal rights.

          That’s true of identity politics in general, which is why I think identity politics is inherently and irredeemably unethical.

    • crella

      Women do rate guys, starting in junior high or high school, good kissers, bad kissers, how they were on dates (interesting, funny, boring) etc. I graduated more than 3 decades ago…back when the dinosaurs roamed we didn’t get into bodily attributes beyond good-looking/bad-looking…it wasn’t as graphic as it seems to be now. Anything more detailed than that was shut down as vulgar.

      Now I think it may be pretty common. The Duke University F*** List is one example that went viral, I doubt it’s the only case of women doing something like this. I remember a men’s underwear commercial where the women were talking about men walking by, guessing ‘boxers or briefs?’ and we know that any similar commercial featuring playing guessing games about random women’s undergarments would start hellfire raining down. Jezebel has ‘Marry F*** Kill games, which is pretty hypocritical for a feminist site. Say it and be pilloried, though…girls want to have their fun. Yes, it’s a stubborn double standard. Women should be able to say what they want, but men had better watch their step.

  14. charlesgreen

    This issue feels personal to me, because a) I know Bob Scalise, the Harvard director of athletics (and the one who pulled the trigger here), and b) I vividly recall a similar-but-different example form my own college days.

    Scalise is an MBA, ex-management consultant, and ran placement services for Harvard Business School. He’s always been involved in athletics, and his kids are now college athletes as well. I always knew him to be principled, worldly – far from an effete ivory tower liberal. I haven’t spoken to him for years, but can easily envision him making a difficult, but firm and principled decision, particularly based on the recalcitrance of this behavior (since 2012).

    I remember my days in college: a 14-year old neighborhood girl, physically mature beyond her years, but clearly disturbed, and on drugs, was sexually abused (meaning in this case, raped “with her consent,” as if that were possible) over the course of several days by a dozen or so under.

    As I recall, no one was expelled, or even put on any kind of disciplinary status. There was much hand-wringing, but the “boys will be boys” attitude, combined with the town-vs.gown attitude embodied in Ivy League institutions combined to make sure nothing much happened.

    I hope everyone reading that shudders and thinks, “that couldn’t possibly happen now.” But I see a direct line from what happened in my dorm back then, and the kind of behavior that Scalise called out at Harvard. The question it raises is, where do you draw the line?

    I’m a total believer that males are different from females, and that biology can’t and shouldn’t be denied. At the same time, it is completely possible to aspire to standards of interpersonal decorum, etiquette and decency; standards that I hope put us apart from what we see in other far-more-sexist parts of the world, and times in history.

    A lot of commentators here, it seems to me, are saying that the line has been reached, and gone far beyond. That there’s no danger of rape anymore, and that the PC police have gone too far in proscribing language and attitudes. I am not among them. I see all too well the common thread between them, and agree with Scalise that we can and should aspire to higher standards of decency than what that the male athletes at Harvard showed.

    • Other Bill

      I think we should aspire away, Charles. But why do we have to be like the French when it comes to presidential sexual office behavior? Shouldn’t we aspire to higher standards of decency in our soon to be first man elect?

    • Constructive reflection, CG. Thanks.

    • Spartan

      “I’m a total believer that males are different from females, and that biology can’t and shouldn’t be denied. At the same time, it is completely possible to aspire to standards of interpersonal decorum, etiquette and decency; standards that I hope put us apart from what we see in other far-more-sexist parts of the world, and times in history.”

      This.

      • Other Bill

        If your daughters were on the Harvard soccer team, what would you have said to them when they came home and reported on this incident? I’m guessing you’d have told them, “Don’t let it bother you. Guys can act like jerks sometimes. It’s a problem. But they’re not all bad. Your father’s not a jerk, although sometimes he does drive me crazy. How are your grades?”

        I suspect this would be closer to your reaction than launching into a Marxist power analysis grafted onto an anti-men rant?

        • Other Bill

          And what ever happened to “sticks and stone can break my bones but words can never hurt me?”

        • Spartan

          That would not be my reaction Other Bill — not even close. I would tell them that they deserve respect from their peers, their coaches, and their Administration. Women should be judged on their abilities not their f***ability. They are on a soccer team not participants in a beauty pageant — the only thing they should be “ranked” on is their ability to play soccer.

          Their father would NEVER engage in this behavior. My own father, conservative that he was, would have threatened any young men with bodily harm if he had discovered that they had placed his daughter on a f***ability chart. My brother probably would have beat them all up. And, they would have done all this and informed me about this after the fact.

        • charlesgreen

          Since I do have a daughter, and have had similar conversations with her about male behavior at work; here’s how they’ve gone in my household. I tend to include your comment, but in a larger context – as follows:

          Her: I can’t believe they’re not taking me seriously on this. This new guy has got one year experience on this subject to my three, and they’re agreeing with him on points I’ve raised before. Now I heard today they’ve hired him at a higher salary than me. What the hell?

          Me: First, that sucks. You are totally right in this situation, and you are appropriately concerned about it. You have every right, and even every obligation, to raise the issue – directly, and firmly. You’re not nuts.
          That said, Don’t let it ruin your sleep. Guys can act like jerks sometimes. It’s a problem. They’re not all bad. Don’t let it poison your constructive attitude, and remember to speak in ways they can hear. In short: you’re right to be outraged, and you should pursue it, just don’t let it ruin your sleep.

          That was about work, not sexual harassment, but I suspect I’d answer much the same if she were on the soccer team and came back to me about this incident.

          The LAST thing I would want to tell my daughter is to laugh it off, “boys will be boys,” and so forth. I want her to feel she has every right in the world to be treated decently, while at the same time feeling strong enough that she doesn’t have to let it ruin her life or her sleep. If you want to call that Marxist or anti-men, be my guest, but I’d call it pro-daughter – and so would she.

        • For what it’s worth …

          Something more strange though is going on in the feminism-driven world when it comes to issues of sexuality. It is certainly possible to say that the Harvard boy’s team behaved ungentlemanly, but yet they acted well in accord with sound biological principles! How sex and attraction actually function, and how the physiological responses actually function, and how the sexual brain functions, is very very different from what these prudish girls are telling themselves. And I mean about their own selves.  These girls — and I have spoken to quite a few of these heavy-feminist types — are driven and dominated by feminist theory, and this theory tells a different story about both women and men than they wish to admit to.

          So, though it may be immature or in poor taste to have made a Scouting List and rated them, it also has an element of paradox, doesn’t it? Like a sports scouting list? And what they did — to show lots of concern for the physical aspects of things — is 100% in conformity with biological truths.

          They politicize an aspect of sexual function and blow it up into a literal Affair-of-State and make it sound as if the walls might come crashing down at any minute. I cannot image how I would feel if I were to be rated in such a way, and yet in fact and in truth these sorts of ratings go on in all domains of life, sexuality and attractiveness just happen to be one. If a sport scout tells the absolute truth about a prospect, is that wrong? I am trying to be a little humorous when I say that the game of male-female attractiveness is much more serious and consequential. What, really, is the big deal?

          To keep hauling up the term ‘Marxian’ and ‘Marxist’ begins to become tiresome, but I do not think it is irrelevant. Feminism and woman’s liberation and also Black liberation (and all the liberation movement of the Sixties) were all colored with Marxist notions of undermining the power structure, of toppling it, of installing new governments, and one must include ‘the family’ as the central oppressive structure that had to be overcome. The question of women gaining access to education and employment is one thing, to establish gender-wars and couch it in the terms of guerrilla- and class-warfare is quite another.

          I think that if one want to get a visceral example of what happens when certain young women get seduced by emotional power-politics and when they show themselves going over the top, that an example like this: https://youtu.be/7QqgNcktbSA is useful. It shows a power-confrontation, and it shows the emotionalism, the underhanded use of power, and a blind and aggressive determination to take down what they identify as an opponent. Someone who does not conform to that girl’s will.

          How can you confront that? What can you say? You cannot do or say anything. Similarly, there is no possible response to the Harvard letter. It came from Divinity itself. From the Supreme Mama.

          In  a less dramatic form than the Yale episode, and yet with a related intent and tactics and emotionalism, this is what the Harvard letter communicates. Especially in the last paragraph where they say,

          ‘The only part of me that you can have is the ‘forgiveness’ I offer you.

          There are many levels of lie in this. Men and women have very definite and very real claims on each other. That is true by any measure and it seems from the perspective of evolutionary biology. Unless you have no sexual self at all (or are a homosexual perhaps) it is simply non-truthful to say that you, as a woman, are not concerned and interested in what boys and men do and say, or how they show their attraction, or when they don’t.

          But when feminist politics gets into these girl’s heads, they tell lies to themselves and about themselves. This concern is most evident and obvious in pre-teens and teens girls as I have noticed it. They HAVE to be attractive to boys. And that is because it is biological imperative. Their whole being gears-up to get involved in all the physiologics and what the mind tells them, does not have a great deal of weight.

        • Other Bill writes: “If your daughters were on the Harvard soccer team, what would you have said to them when they came home and reported on this incident? I’m guessing you’d have told them, “Don’t let it bother you. Guys can act like jerks sometimes. It’s a problem. But they’re not all bad. Your father’s not a jerk, although sometimes he does drive me crazy. How are your grades?”
          _________________________

          Daughter: “Mommy! They put my picture in a book and rated me sexually!”

          Mama: [Horrified gasp, swoon, half-contained rage] “Well [containing herself] now is a good time for us to talk about our condition as women in the protoplasmic struggle of the genders, Little One. Now don’t ballyhoo. Sit down there and have a banan— no, better an orange — and lets talk. You see, your biological entity has historically been a possession of the oppressive masculine class, the drooling hominids who rule us, and in fact *access* to you, that is, to *you* at a bio-generative level, had always been established by convention, and indeed at a Metaphysical Level, as normality. You see, darling little daughter mine, we women generate mankind! And from immemorial times our generative capacity has awed, confused, disgusted and terrified the Masculine Class that stands over us like Ants over Aphids, cultivating their progeny…”

          D; “Mom! Euuuuwww!”

          M: “Oh I know, I know. But you must hear me through. Nature Herself is in truth our direst enemy. Because this evil witch Nature plants in us a irresistible imperative to seek out the loathsome male and like chimpanzees presenting themselves to offer ourselves up to this disgusting generative processes. Before we can think things through, our bodies are already hard at work determining the choices we will inevitably make. The whole natural world, therefor, points itself at your *generative area* and, with the force of revolving universes and all gravity’s magnetism, insists that you become man’s generative instrument.”

          D: “Oh God! I wish I’d not been born!”

          M: “But born you were, my l’il Ivy League Mid-fielder! And as you see, I too succumbed to the Cosmic Pressure”.

          D: “I feel like I’m gonna VOMIT!”

          M: “And by and by you will, Little one….

          [And so on and so forth…]

    • Other Bill

      Charles, if it had been the football team would your AD friend have blithely cancelled (and forfeited) two football games? I doubt many people attend Crimson soccer games or otherwise care about the team (or the sport).

      • charlesgreen

        Knowing him, I suspect he’d have done the same. (And by the way, not all that many people attend Crimson football games either, except bunches of alumni – some of whom would have supported such an action).

  15. Other Bill

    Interesting to contrast this Harvard kerfuffle over profane words (Chris’s term) and the ongoing situation with the Baylor football team and allegations of fourteen women being raped (You know, “rape rape.”) by nineteen football players. Where’s the outrage over that? Dirty words get the full on blast while actual felonious rape is ignored by the vast left wing conspiracy. Is it because all the Harvard soccer players are lily white, privileged Ivy-leaguers who have all the power and the Baylor football players are powerless black guys? Harvard’s like shooting right wing fish in a barrel and Baylor, well, not so much… it’s complicated….? What a hideous double standard.

  16. Rebecca K

    To me, it makes perfect sense that these young men were punished, and together. They wrote and circulated a vulgar and explicit document about young women attending Harvard, and then lied about it to the administration. This is not in keeping with the Harvard code of conduct, and furthermore, Harvard has a responsibility to provide a safe and healthy leaning environment for these young women to learn, and letting sexual harassment slide would be a dereliction of duty on the part of Harvard administration.

    As for the part about punishing these men as a whole, I am a little perplexed. Do you propose that Harvard suspend only the players whom they know has a part in circulating the document? That’s still most of the team. You couldn’t then send the couple of boys who were left to play games-you need a full team. Look at it pragmatically, if you have only a few players left unsuspended to make some point about who did what, they’re still in practice suspended because they couldn’t play without a full team, meaning Harvard would then have to forfeit those games. Furthermore, those young men are on a team with each other. I’m sure that you have been on a team before-members are supposed to be to some extent responsible for one another. If one member of the team is acting lazy, you all condition. That’s how it is when you are a member of a team.

    And thirdly, Jack, I’m a little lost at why you brought up hip hop. It seems you are scapegoating an art form instead of addressing what these young men did, and also that it derailed the discussion quite a bit. No one should guess at what these men listen to in the locker rooms, as we have no idea, and beside—be it Migos or Bach, what these young men did was inexcusable. The topic of discussion is not whether rap lyrics are moral, it’s whether Harvard was right to suspend these boys. Isaiah Rashad doesn’t go to Harvard. He does not have to follow Harvard’s code of conduct. So why were rap artists like him being discussed here? And furthermore, as hip hop is a culturally grounded art form, it has less rigidity in what is in the realm of acceptable. Comparing hip hop lyrics to a sexually explicit and demeaning sexual ‘scouting report’ circulated by soccer team members is comparing apples to oranges. Songs, of all genres, often talk about sex, drugs, money and women in explicit manners. If this offends you, do not listen to these songs. It is also worth noting that though many genres feature lyrics that are demeaning towards women, hip hop is most often referenced as misogynistic and “bad for those who listen to it,” and hip hop is a primarily black form of expression. No one in this particular discussion seemed to cross the line to overt racism, but when you ridicule hip hop, you are criticizing one of the only black art forms that hasn’t been usurped by white people.

    Polite and mostly nuanced discussion, people. Thanks for the interesting perspectives.

    • Hip-Hop is relevant, as a double standard. These were not words directed at any women, but among men as private conversation. Upon discovery, the men should be talked to about civility and respect, but otherwise, these were mere words, insulated from anyon who could be victimized by them, unless you believe that simply being exposed to sexist and derogatory attitudes and verbiage is dangerous to the character of men and toxic to societal attitudes about women. Nope: if the school is going to tolerate songs about sexually abusing women and calling them “Hos,” then it may not punish students for using similar words and attitudes in a different kind of entertainment.

      Drew Faust is far, far overreaching in her attempts to impose punishment for what should be treated as private conduct and freedom of expression.

      • Rebecca K

        Thanks for the reply, Jack. A couple of things. Firstly, the words weren’t insulated from anyone who could be victimized by them. The women on the soccer team read the report, and six of them actually got together to write an op-Ed peice for the Crimson about the ‘scouting report’ that got published in the New York Times.

        Secondly, do you really think a talking to is in order here? What the boys did was make a publicly available document demeaning the women of Harvard, these aren’t “mere words.” I reiterate: Harvard has a reponsibility to provide a safe an healthy learning environment for these young women and to not punish these boys would be a dereliction of duty.

        Thirdly, about hip hop, I concede that it is valid to bring up comparisons about what our culture finds acceptable or not. But hip hop is not a valid comparison. Lyrics in a song are nothing like this scouting report. Better instead to bring up that Harvard itself has a history of standing behind individuals who have said sexist things, most recently Lawrence Summers, who said that boys are better at math and science than girls due to genetic differences and is still president emeritus of Harvard.

        As for your dislike for hip hop, I really recommend you pick up Patricia Collin’s From Black Power to Hip Hop: Racism, Nationalism and Feminism. You probably won’t walk away from it a rap lover, but it is definitely a great read and can say anything about rap and hip hop far more eloquently than I ever could.

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