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BDSM and the American University
January 10, 2010 - 8:21pm



With three sadistic university coaches fired in the last six weeks, and with outrage at their having been fired the dominant response among students and alumni, it's time to come to grips with the kinkiness of the American university.

I won't take up here the subject of sadistic players, like Elizabeth Lambert, whose YouTube fame has made her the Susan Boyle of university students. Nor do I want to waste time, in this New Year's University Diaries column, asking why the highest paid, most visible, most powerful, and most admired person on many of our campuses may also be physically and mentally abusive to the students on those campuses. Vicious coaches, from Bobby Knight on down, win games.

Instead I want to mark the beginning of 2010 by noting how powerfully a masochistic attraction to its own abuse has taken hold of the American university.
Texas Tech, home of Knight, Mike Leach, and for good, non-sports-related measure, Alberto Gonzales, might well be renamed The Story of O. Tech's response to years of on and off the field humiliation at the hands of Leach, and, now that he's been fired, years of anticipated litigation from him, seems to be hit me again. Take my endowment, my student fees, my dignity.

Tech is not the only bondage-loving school. South Florida, Kansas, the University of New Mexico and several others hire and adore doms who are into the very strictest forms of discipline.
As these schools hand their money and their reputations over to their masters, is there anything that can be done to halt their downward spiral?

The submissives among our universities are obviously going to be unreceptive to intellectuals who've given thought to their problems. You won't see trustees, confused and humiliated by their willingness to give a five million dollar contract to yet another bully, reading Michel Discipline and Punish Foucault. Efforts to point out, much less deconstruct, the combination of all-American athleticism and cringing self-abuse on various campuses will only alienate people. Mainly, what we can do is what I'm trying to do here -- point out, in a clear, non-judgmental way, what seems to be going on.


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