Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dogs, actually

Okay, it was mean not to give you the full story. (But oh-so-amusing, in a sadistic sort of way).

(Bonus tenuously relevant quote from a PhD student in our department: "Happiness comes in many flavours. Mine tastes like Schadenfreude.")

It's a fine line for this story between overly identifying and bafflingly opaque, but I'll try.

There was a seminar yesterday where someone made an argument that was grounded in an extremely heterocentric worldview (the actual statement is hilarious, but alas, I can't share it with you here). The person in question is elderly and religious, but they had discussed this particular matter beforehand with a couple of other colleagues and had been told what they planned to say might be inflammatory, yet they said it anyway. There was at least one gay faculty member present, and a few gay students, and people objected.

In response, the professor just restated her original argument, and not wanting the gay members of the audience to be the only ones having to argue back, I took up the thread of the objection. In reply, the prof turned to me (and it did require a full-body turn to where I was sitting, so it really did look like she was talking to me, rather than generally) and said, "You can have sex however you like. You can have sex with DOGS if you like. But that doesn't affect my point that... [restated original point]."

I think from context it was pretty clear that she meant "you" in the sense of "one", not "you" in the sense of "StyleyGeek", and that's how I (and I think everyone else) understood it. But apparently it was eating her up all day, because she came by my office a few hours later and made a huge apology, said she was so ashamed, and offered to explain to the whole department that she does NOT think that I have sex with dogs.

Very thoughtful of her, but I don't think I'll take her up on that offer.

There's a happy ending to the whole thing, anyway, since the prof also apologised to her gay colleague and rewrote her argument to be more inclusive. Sometimes I love academic discourse.

1 Comment:

KH said...

That's awesome, truely awesome. I've known faculty like that but as scientists, they lack the creativity to come out with things like that.