Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Am I Turning Into a Liberal?

From September 11, 2012 Washington Post:

The assistant anthropology professor at American University was about to begin teaching “Sex, Gender & Culture,” but her baby daughter woke up in the morning with a fever. The single mother worried that she had no good child-care options.
So Pine brought her sick baby to class. The baby, in a blue onesie, crawled on the floor of the lecture hall during part of the 75-minute class two weeks ago, according to the professor’s account. The mother extracted a paper clip from the girl’s mouth at one point and shooed her away from an electrical outlet. A teaching assistant held the baby and rocked her at times, volunteering to help even though Pine stressed that she didn’t have to. When the baby grew restless, Pine breast-fed her while continuing her lecture in front of 40 students.
There might have been some legitimate concerns about allowing her sick baby to crawl around a classroom (and trust me, there are no antiseptic classrooms, and it sounds like there are serious safety concerns), it appears that the major upset was that she was breast-feeding her baby while lecturing.

Look, if this was a regular practice, I might see some upset about it being "unprofessional" as some students called it.  But it was the first day of class; she didn't have anywhere to dump the kid; and the class title alone should make you wonder if this could have been a demonstration of the enduring problems of sex, gender, and culture.  I can see how this might have been a problem in an uptight, sexually repressive society--but is there any society anywhere more loose and casual about sex than a college campus?


  1. Clayton, You are looking for intellectual consistency in one of the bastions that still worships communism: American academia. Change the scenario: would it be good for a father to take the same child to work in a machine shop?

    The sole reason for child care is due to the decay of our culture. Any culture that sacrifices children upon the altar of money or career is no different than a culture that sacrifices its children in the fire to Molech for a prosperous next year. Oh, wait, they did.

  2. A baby of the crawling-around age with a fever, crawling around exploring and nursing and most telling, not being particularly cranky as most infants with fevers are?
    Considering that this was the first day of classes in "Sex, Gender and Culture", and she's a single mother, and ever more comprehensive and expensive child care is one of the favorite hobby horses of gender feminists, well, I'm as suspicous as I was when the defendant in the lawsuit I was working on reported a burglary of his office and only his Income Tax returns were stolen, which income tax returns were an object of contention. What better visual aid for the need for more child care of the particularly expensive suddenly sick child variety could there be but a cute baby?

  3. ... but is there any society anywhere more loose and casual about sex than a college campus?

    The strict rules against consensual sex between students and professors suggest that things aren't quite as loose and casual as they might at first appear.

  4. If the professor can bring their babies to classes, should the privilege extend to the students as well?

    If I'm paying the for the class, I wouldn't want to share it with Romper Room. Doesn't have anything to do with being uptight; the students in the class are the customers and they have a right to expect that their instructor is focused on them, not her baby.

  5. First question: why is this mother of a nursing child single? She's about 40.

    Second question: having put herself in this position, why did this woman not have any plan for this situation?

    Life is difficult for single mothers, which is why women should not choose to be single mothers if possible.

    BTW - this woman is indeed a flaming leftie. Her Twitter account is labeled "militant anthropologist against the
    corporatocracy". She has three degrees from UC Berkeley.

    Her profile page says she specializes in Honduras, and refers to the "2009 military coup"; that would be the removal of the President by the Supreme Court for illegally trying to amend the constitution to allow his re-election.

  6. I suspect her real offense was demonstrating for her students that breasts are functional, and not merely a shapely erogenous zone.

    The proximity of a real, live baby to an academic discussion of "sex and gender" probably was a jarring reminder to her students about what sex accomplishes, too.


  7. Mr. Shearer: there are no rules at the University of Idaho or Boise State prohibiting professors from having sex with students.

  8. It was totally unprofessional. It was also potentally illegal.

  9. rfb, perhaps the reason so many young people today have so few skills is because of the attitude about children at work. We really do learn a lot by seeing, and I think keeping children out of workplaces at the level we do is one of the reasons people on a grand scale today can't do anything with their hands. I'm not suggesting a return to the work place abuses of the Victorian Age or 14yr olds being forced to support their families, but the lawyers and insurance companies have really put a damper on our children's ability to find what they are good at or might interest them because they can't witness it or try it. The Industrial Revolution is full of young inventors who saw the capability of the equipment at young ages.

  10. First question: why is this mother of a nursing infant single? She's about forty.

    Second: having put herself in this position, why did she have no plan in place for this kind of situation?

    Single parenting is difficult to get right - one reason why the world looks down on those who deliberately choose it. One should respond by planning and organization.

    She should have had some arrangement in mind for a child crisis on a day when she can't take off work. As I noted, she's forty, not a teenager; did she never think this far ahead?

    BTW - this woman is a flaming leftie.

    Three degrees from Cal Berkeley.

    Her faculty profile describes her as a "militant medical anthropologist against the corporatocracy".

    She's done a lot of work about Honduras, and refers to the removal of President Zelaya by the Supreme Court as a "military coup".

    This stance hasn't stopped her from taking money from the Mellon Foundation's pile of filthy capitalist lucre.

  11. I must admit it is surprising to me that there are no rules against teacher student sex at the University of Idaho or Boise State.

    There are at American University where Pine teaches. From the faculty manual:

    The university prohibits consensual sexual relationships between a faculty member and any student or individual for whom the faculty member has a professional or supervisory responsibility. ...

  12. Professor-student sex: My cousin married one of her professors at Oregon State. The odd thing is that she was a returning student, three years older than him. (They were both in their 50s.)