Sunday, April 10, 2011

Baptist Professor At Gonzaga Explains Why The V@gina Monologues Has No Place In Academia

Gonzaga's Foley Center
"The V@gina Monologues," as a particular expression of ideas, is not necessary to explore questions of violence against women, or indeed of human s@xuality and female self-image.  Not only is it not necessary, good arguments can and have been made that it is a poor vehicle for exploring these ideas.  It does not speak univocally against violence against women, insofar as it depicts sympathetically female-on-female s@xual abuse of a minor.  
Despite Eve Ensler's brilliant marketing campaign, the play is not even so much about violence against women as it is a celebration of polymorphous s@xuality.  Beyond its poor literary quality, the play features unnecessary vulgarities which amount to vicarious live s@x demonstrations. 
There are further reasons for rejecting "The V@gina Monologues" as an occasion for academic inquiry at a Jesuit, Catholic institution.  The play ignores the multifaceted nature of female experience by eliminating entire ranges of human s@xuality from its purview.  It offends against human dignity by reducing human personality to s@xuality, and female dignity to s@xual activity.  It completely ignores the rich literature and vocabulary of Catholic and Christian s@xual teaching.
Link (here) to Gonzaga professor David Calhoun's full letter (here) at the Gonzaga Bulletin
Hat Tip to Insight Scoop (here)


Anonymous said...

No, just a bad speller

TonyD said...

I would prefer to see academic inquiry widened in Jesuit higher education. If restructured, Jesuit schools could represent a tremendous gain for our society – rather than simply cloning every University on the planet.

They could create a new type of university “credit union”. This would allow the funding of companies spun off from Jesuit schools. This would create an environment where usury/interest could be replaced by “trades” similar to a closed-end fund. This could serve as a role model for credit in society. In addition, purchases from those new companies could be funded by this “credit union”, helping to promote moral businesses against immoral businesses.

And the emphasis in courses could be changed to an “innovation” emphasis. That means that many courses would be changed to “applied”. If there were still scholar-type instructors using the Socratic Method, they would have to change the emphasis of their courses. I am describing a research university.

Research creates the opportunity to improve society. And it can create jobs and new companies, potentially run with better values. That means that a research university has the potential to improve both society and the individual – to move values closer to those God would prefer. And since the new companies would be Jesuit funded by the school, there could be public boards and specific measures to keep values aligned with our society.

What I am describing is very religious. It is a strategy to move our entire world closer to living God’s values. Of course, my description is very rough, but this is just a blog comment, and it is impossible to describe the potential for changing government, corporations, public values, credit, and work-life. That is, we cannot see changes in business that depend on other changes to education that depend on other changes to credit that depend on other changes to government.

Anonymous said...


How about considering aligning values to God rather than to society. We are trying to transform society into a civilization of love, not a selfish, pleasure filled and immoral world. The Jesuits have fallen and they may be drowning. In fact, they may not be able to be rescued at this point. Ignatius must be heart broken!

TonyD said...

Anonymous 12:58,

In this particular case, values can be aligned to both God and society. There are two levels of advice – generic and specific. Generic advice, such as that achieved by trying to interpret the Bible and Ignatius in the context of current situations, can be viewed through the lens of the most important commandment --“love your neighbor”. So creating an organization that, by design, reflects the values of the community is directly living God’s most important value, even if His values are not understood by Ignatius or the Church.

More specifically, it is possible to understand that “free will” plays a fundamental role in “perfection of the soul”. It is free will that allows people to be tested repeatedly and either fail or pass those tests based on their values (and their choice of various interpretations of God’s values). While God’s exact techniques are secret, He does want genuine feedback to assess change. So while oppressive societies are permitted, they are seen as reflecting the values of the people in those societies, and are associated with consequences. Right now, we are heading in that direction, and I am suggesting a possible path to change.

Imposing love, unselfishness, and morality is simply oppression. Judgment should be allowed and encouraged.