April 16 2014
A Note from the Groves of Academe: Porn Expert Professes Delicate Sensibilities
Brandeis’ cowardly cancellation, in the face of pressure from the combined forces of political correctness and Islamic extremism, of an invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali to speak and receive an honorary degree has made me think about the sorts of women who do thrive in American academia.
Unlike the brilliant and courageous Hirsi Ali, who can’t even hold onto a speaking gig at Brandeis, Mirielle Miller-Young has a university job. She is an associate professor of feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
I hadn’t heard of Ms. Mireille Miller-Young until a month or so ago, when she was charged with robbery and assault after she allegedly forcibly relieved a teenaged demonstrator of a pro-life sign in what appears to be a scuffle initiated by the professor. What does Ms. Miller-Young have that makes her more worthy in academia than Hirsi Ali?
Miller-Young’s field of expertise is, not to put too fine a point on it, porn. A quote from her forthcoming book A Taste for Brown Sugar: Black Women, Sex Work and Pornography, gives an insight , as Deborah Tyler of the American Thinker observed, into the rigors of modern academia:
As I pushed through the shouting throng to get a better view, one young [black] woman leaned over the display table, spread her legs wide, and, rhythmically worked her shapely thighs and butt to the music. As she began to stroke her nearly exposed genitals, a dozen men with cameras pushed forward to get a close-up.… I remember seeing the beads of sweat across her brow and her hair weave sticking damply to her shoulders as she danced. That’s when I heard the cruel comment of the man next to me, a well-known white director of all-white extreme hardcore.”
The cruel comment, Tyler, who apparently has a stronger stomach than I do, reports: “He observed that the ‘rhythmically working and stroking woman’ was ‘a skank.’” An understatement, Tyler argues, and goes on to characterize Miller-Young’s work:
A Taste for Brown Sugar was Miller-Young’s doctoral dissertation. For years, she has been preparing that oral history “research,” at taxpayer expense, for publication. She summarizes her work: “Conducting oral histories with current and veteran black adult film actresses active since the 1980s I investigate what forces invite black women to this arena of sex work and how the women theorize their own engagement with the field.”
Her implicit advocacy of pornography work for black women is based on her view that black female sexuality is a front in the permanent battle against racism, and that the hustling of black pornography actresses makes them civil rights heroes. Her need to safeguard the slutty as freedom fighting is based on highflown absurdities such as, “Thinking historically, we can say that U.S. slavery defined the very nature of desire for, use of, and pleasure in black women’s sexuality… black women’s bodies remain defined by the exploitations of hegemonic, heteropatriarchal capital… They use the seductive power of brown sugar to intervene in representation, to recuperate their subjectivities, and to make a living… in the porn industry’s complex sexual economy… black women grapple with a hierarchal system shaped by racial and gender difference and discrimination.… Like countless enslaved women who fought in ways big and small against slavery’s tyranny, black sex workers in porn enact forms of antiracist and antisexist counterinsurgency.”
Underprivileged black women, wake up! You can fight racial discrimination by selling closeups of your genitals at top scale!
So, while Hirsi Ali is unfit to speak at an American university, Miller-Young is deemed worth of a job in academia.
Given her field of expertise, it is perhaps ironic that Miller-Young’s reported defense against the accusations is that she found the signs being carried by the demonstrator…offensive. Yep, she said that.
Andy Caldwell, one of my favorite radio hosts and executive director of COLAB (The Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business) in California, notes the—uh—inconsistencies in how Miller-Young defended herself:
First of all, pointing out the obvious to the oblivious, all the words Dr. Miller-Young used to describe the material she found so offensive would be the same exact words most people would use to describe the pornography she uses in her class and life's work under the heading, "A Taste for Brown Sugar."
Second, Dr. Miller-Young claims she had a moral right to physically attack a young woman, a minor no less, who is simply exercising her right to assemble, her right to protest, and to speak freely? But the real basis of Dr. Miller-Young's right was her might. In Dr. Miller-Young's own words, when asked about the struggle, simply stated, "I am stronger." Historically, I wonder how many women were beaten down during their struggle for women's rights? Now look who is doing the beatdown.
Third, Dr. Miller-Young contends the protestors did not have a right to be on campus because they were upsetting her and some other students. Dr. Miller-Young believes a free speech zone on a college campus is there to ensure she doesn't have to see or hear anything that will upset her? Honestly, I had visions of Gov. George Wallace on the steps of the schoolhouse as I read these statements.
Meanwhile, I guess we can only thank our lucky stars that Brandeis students weren’t exposed to Hirsi Ali, one of the bravest women alive.