The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Postmodern College, Postmodern Love

Posted on | October 24, 2014 | 84 Comments

Otterbein University is a small, private liberal arts college in Westerville, Ohio, near Columbus. Like most such schools in America, it began with an explicitly Christian purpose:

The university was founded in 1847 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. . . . The university is named for United Brethren founder the Rev. Philip William Otterbein.

Also, like most other small, private liberal arts colleges, Otterbein is fairly expensive. Annual tuition is $31,624 at Otterbein, more than three times what in-state students pay at Ohio State (annual tuition $10,037). So, what is the value-added for the Otterbein students?

Why are parents willing to pay such a premium to send their children there? Is it the tranquil beauty of the 114-acre campus? Is it the promise of “an inclusive community dedicated to educating the whole person in the context of humane values”? Or, perhaps, do parents feel that Otterbein’s small size, suburban location and Christian history makes it a safe environment where young people will be protected from the stresses and peer pressure of a big urban school like Ohio State, which has more than 40,000 students on its campus near downtown Columbus?

Whatever the reasons, girls (and their parents) are much more likely to prefer the small liberal arts college: 62% of Otterbein’s 2,479 students are female and 38% male. One might speculate that there is a symbiotic relationship between the type of curriculum offered at Otterbein and the disproportionately female students it attracts. But why merely speculate, when Otterbein is so eager to tell us all about it?

The Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at Otterbein is committed to a critical and feminist understanding of gender and power across cultural contexts, social locations, and disciplinary boundaries.
Our program underlines two important and interrelated learning goals:
– A deepened understanding of the history, contributions, conditions, and issues affecting women in local, national, and transnational context
– A broad exploration of the multiple systems and social meanings that construct our understandings of gender and sexuality
We are proud of the fact that we think comparatively and collaboratively about feminist politics, gender categories, and sexual identity and practice.
The program also encourages feminist and anti-oppressive pedagogies in the classroom; supports critical research and faculty development in women’s and gender studies; sponsors co-curricular programming that addresses women’s and gender issues; provides outreach opportunities for the campus community; and offers itself as an ally and advocate for women and GLBTQ students, staff, and faculty at the University.

One wonders what the United Brethren — a sect born of the 18th century “Great Awakening” — and the Rev. Otterbein might think about this “gender and sexuality” and GLBTQ advocacy. The faculty of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at Otterbein is led by the director Tammy Birk, an associate professor of English whose specialities include “Critical Feminist Theories”:

I like any project that is experimental in form or content. I like projects that are hybrid or interdisciplinary. I like projects that sit at the intersection of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. I like any project that creates or critiques graphic narrative. I like projects that foreground critical theory or cultural studies.

As previously explained in the “Sex Trouble” series, Women’s Studies is interdisciplinary, sharing faculty with other departments. At Otterbein, the program’s faculty includes female professors who are listed as chairs of the departments of Psychology (Michelle Acker), English (Suzanne Ashworth) and Sociology (Heidi Ballard). Thus, Women’s Studies serves as a sort of campus center for an activist agenda whereby this kind of “feminist understanding of gender and power,” etc., is diffused across multiple programs. And the number of students who take Women’s Studies classes is much larger than the number who make Women’s Studies their major or minor, as Daphne Patai explained in Professing Feminism: Education and Indoctrination in Women’s Studies:

At my own university, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, several hundred students a year enroll in Women’s Studies courses . . .  in large part because certain low-level Women’s Studies courses fulfill the university’s general education requirement in the area of “diversity.” The number of majors, however, is small . . . 30 to 35 . . .

 So, on the one hand, the interdisciplinary aspect of Women’s Studies makes such programs a means of supporting a feminist agenda across multiple areas of the curriculum and, on the other hand, many students take Women’s Studies courses as electives to fulfill requirements for their degrees in other fields. What sort of agenda is involved in these classes?  Again, from Professing Feminism, here is a quote from “Laura,” a bisexual woman who in the 1990s got a minor in Women’s Studies at an unnamed state university:

The classroom gets divided. . . . There’s always a small group of women who speak out. They always have something to say, they always have a comments on something, and you pretty much get the general feel of all their politics within the first week. . . . It comes down to your sexuality and your political views. It’s like, it seems a lot of times if you’re heterosexual, strictly heterosexual, or conservative, you don’t have the right to say much in Women’s Studies. You’re classified with men.
Sexuality comes up all the time in Women’s Studies class. It’s amazing — it just becomes an issue. People are declaring themselves, what their sexual orientation is, right away. I mean, within a week, you know what everybody in your class is. . . .
A lot of people got triggered by “men men men men men.” I remember somebody just going off and saying, “Can’t you blame anything but men?” . . . In one class this girl said, “All you do is blame men. I happen to like men.” . . . She was attacked. There were mainly three people who jumped in, and they just completely cut her to pieces.

That’s how it was in a Women’s Studies program at a state university in the 1990s. Does anyone think the anti-male/anti-heterosexual climate in such programs has changed since then, except to become even more anti-male and anti-heterosexual? Meanwhile . . .

At Otterbein University, the formerly Christian private college in Ohio where tuition is over $30,000 a year and a 62% female student body lives in “an inclusive community . . . of humane values,” they have sororities on campus, one of which is Kappa Phi Omega. In 2005, the president of Kappa Phi Omega was Alanna Fenton, who also played on the Otterbein Cardinals softball team. And guess what?

We fell in love in college at Otterbein — yea a shocker to us too! Felicity was in Nursing School and Alanna studying Organizational Communications. While Alanna was the president of our sorority Kappa Phi Omega and Felicity was a lowly little pledge the love story began!
Since 5/5/05, we have never been able to get rid of each other . . .

In an inclusive community with humane values, of course, the sorority president will become lesbian lovers with a freshman pledge! This is why Felicity’s parents paid $31,624 to send their daughter to that 144-acre campus, so she could study nursing, acquire humane values and have lesbian sex with her softball-playing sorority president. That’s how “the love story began,” and in 2012 . . .

Esquinas (right) wore a strand of pearls given to her by her mother
on her 18th birthday. Fenton wore a diamond necklace of her grandmother’s
given to her by her mother the night before the wedding.

Now, let me point out that I have no idea if either of these students of humane values were ever enrolled in a Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies class while at Otterbein. For all I know, Alanna and Felicity were both lifelong lesbians before they ever set foot on the 114-acre campus of that inclusive community. It is entirely possible that these young lesbians chose Otterbein specifically because of the 62% female student body, which offers abundant opportunities for such “love stories” as theirs. Maybe Otterbein has that kind of reputation, sort of Ohio’s equivalent of Bryn Mawr. Maybe Kappa Phi Omega is known around campus as The Lesbian Sorority, so that if a freshman dyke at Otterbein is looking for a place where she will be welcomed into the sapphic sisterhood, Kappa house is it.

Maybe, but probably not. The story Alanna and Felicity tell would lead us to believe that neither of them had any previous inkling of a same-sex orientation until — “shocker”! — they “fell in love” on May 5, 2005. Does that seem plausible? I don’t know. After months of reading feminist books about how sexuality is “socially constructed,” I’m wondering if maybe there’s not some social construction going on at Otterbein and other such inclusive communities, where the one thing definitely not included among the humane values is the kind of Christianity in which the United Brethren fervently believed.

Postmodernism looks suspiciously like paganism, from a biblical perspective, and if Jesus Christ were to show up tommorow on the Otterbein campus, he’d be shunned and denounced as a hatemonger.

“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools . . . And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind . . .”

Given over to a reprobate mind, people do all kinds of foolish things, like spend $31,624 a year to send their daughters to Otterbein.



84 Responses to “Postmodern College, Postmodern Love”

  1. G Joubert
    October 25th, 2014 @ 10:02 pm

    Look around. The times in which we live Emile Durkheim would describe as anomie: Loss if direction during times of social disruption. What Durkheim didn’t realize was the extent to which the conflict theorists would auger for anomie as a perpetual state. I submit that what we see out there in the world today in our culture is Marx’s predicted revolution of the proletariet, but in forms wholly unanticipated by most of us. Either that, or we’re in or getting pretty close to the tribulation.

  2. M. Thompson
    October 25th, 2014 @ 10:19 pm

    I only have so much time to make up the denunciations.

  3. M. Thompson
    October 25th, 2014 @ 10:21 pm


    Maybe you can get her to oppress other women in some fashion.

  4. Zohydro
    October 25th, 2014 @ 10:24 pm

    And insufficient revolutionary zeal!

  5. Weedlord BonerHitler
    October 25th, 2014 @ 10:42 pm

    Oh. What changed?

  6. M. Thompson
    October 25th, 2014 @ 10:51 pm




  7. Weedlord BonerHitler
    October 25th, 2014 @ 10:55 pm

    Here is a radically simple summation of the convoluted mess that conservatives find when it comes to women like these:

    Now that people do not feel societal pressure to marry a member of the opposite sex (and stay married forever,) and now that people have new ways to experiment sexually, and now that they can raise children with any partner they wish (or no partner,) they really do want to “marry their best friend.” Marriage is becoming more about companionship and happiness, and less of a socially-enforced contract that people feel pressured to adopt and maintain for reasons apart from their own happiness. It used to be that only that rare couple that “married their best friend,” but now anyone can. People can build their lives with whomever they choose, regardless of race, class, or gender. While this is a change and all change is messy, it will ultimately be positive. As the poet said, the only way out is through.

    I’ve always been a bit baffled by the conservative views of “freedom” as they are applied to different things. Mitt Romney said that corporations are people, and apparently conservatives think that corporations should have absolute freedom, to follow their bliss wherever it may lead. It might involve making horrible products that benefit nobody, it might involve financial chicanery, it might involve mistreating workers, it might involve despoiling the environment – but any negative side effects are inconsequential so long as the corporation has the freedom to do what it wants. The corporation exists for its own happiness, not to improve the life of anyone else!

    People, on the other hand, must not be allowed this freedom. Women, particularly, must put aside their shallow “wants” and “desires” and submit to a marriage, because the needs of the husband/children are more important. It’s not about one person, it’s about community, as one conservative put it.

    Why do corporations get more freedom than people? The earth is overpopulated as it is. Seven billion people is plenty if you ask Weedlord. I think we ought to wrap these conservative views on family up in a time capsule, seal it, and put a sticker on it that reads “Open if the Earth’s population ever drops below 1 billion.”

  8. Weedlord BonerHitler
    October 25th, 2014 @ 11:14 pm

    All people tend to age badly – except for a few celebrities, but they have unfair advantages. All those cleanses, plastic surgeries, Pilates classes. Weedlord can’t match that and will become old and ugly.

  9. Zohydro
    October 25th, 2014 @ 11:36 pm

    You may be half-way there already…

  10. theoldsargesays
    October 25th, 2014 @ 11:55 pm


  11. Wombat_socho
    October 26th, 2014 @ 12:49 am

    We’d buy the cow if the damn thing wasn’t able to sue for its freedom and take half our shit with it. Including the XBox.

  12. Wombat_socho
    October 26th, 2014 @ 12:51 am

    If you’d seen his car, you’d realize that’s a really, really empty boast. Or are you, too, quoting Glengarry Glen Ross?

  13. Wombat_socho
    October 26th, 2014 @ 12:54 am

    You have to admit, he’s slightly more entertaining than Anamika was.

  14. Adobe_Walls
    October 26th, 2014 @ 4:58 am


  15. Weedlord BonerHitler
    October 26th, 2014 @ 11:15 am

    Thank you!

  16. Daniel Freeman
    October 26th, 2014 @ 2:47 pm

    Women, particularly, must put aside their shallow “wants” and “desires” and submit to a marriage, because the needs of the husband/children are more important. It’s not about one person, it’s about community, as one conservative put it.

    As an anti-feminist left-libertarian, I believe that women should be allowed to choose marriage and family, if that’s what they want. Feminists such as Simone de Bouvier would disagree, because (in their words) too many women would make that choice.

    I think that’s the real reason why feminists make such a big deal about the pay gap: it will never go away, as long as women are allowed to choose other things over money. All of the angry rhetoric surrounding the pay gap is essentially a proxy demonization of all those women who choose a life of men, marriage and motherhood.

  17. News of the Week (October 26th, 2014) | The Political Hat
    October 26th, 2014 @ 6:02 pm

    […] Postmodern College, Postmodern Love Otterbein University is a small, private liberal arts college in Westerville, Ohio, near Columbus. Like most such schools in America, it began with an explicitly Christian purpose […]

  18. theoldsargesays
    October 26th, 2014 @ 7:47 pm

    As I see it at least Anamika is a regular here and IMO deserves some respect/tolerence for putting forth her opinions even if I personally disagree with all of them.

    This one is just trolling because …well, trolls troll.

  19. RS
    October 26th, 2014 @ 10:26 pm

    Not mine, but then in my denomination we practice extreme congregationalist polity.

  20. Weedlord BonerHitler
    October 26th, 2014 @ 11:09 pm

    I’m not a troll at all. I’m looking for honest, polite discussion. Too often, people online equate “disagreement” with “you are attacking me!” I have no intention to attack anyone or troll anyone. I just want to discuss. Weedlord is a mellow dude, after all.

  21. Weedlord BonerHitler
    October 26th, 2014 @ 11:11 pm

    See, that’s the thing. People should be allowed the freedom to be as heteronormative as possible, and also the freedom to be as weirdly un-normal as they want. I see statements here along the lines of “any woman who doesn’t want children is mentally broken” and I strongly disagree.

    Remember, we’re coming off decades upon decades where the hetero were able to persecute those who didn’t fit in. There’s never been a time, to my knowledge, when gay people controlled things and punished the breeders. It just doesn’t happen.

  22. robertstacymccain
    October 27th, 2014 @ 7:43 am

    “The earth is overpopulated as it is. Seven billion people is plenty if you ask Weedlord.”

    “Total fertility rate” (TFR) is a demographic measurement describing the average number of lifetime births per woman that can be expected, based on current birth rates. Here are the Top 10 nations ranked by TFR:

    1. Niger 6.89

    2. Mali 6.16

    3. Burundi 6.14

    4. Somalia 6.08

    5. Uganda 5.97

    6. Burkina Faso 5.93

    7. Zambia 5.76

    8. Malawi 5.66

    9. Afghanistan 5.43

    10. Angola 5.43

    All of these nations are desperately poor. The per-capita income of these nations:

    Niger $800

    Mali $1,100

    Burundi $600

    Somalia $600

    Uganda $1,500

    Burkina Faso $1,500

    Zambia $1,800

    Malawi $900

    Afghanistan $1,100

    Angola $6,300

    As a mental exercise, imagine one average citizen from each of these countries, assembled together and placing on a table their per capita share of GDP.

    The total amount on the table — the combined annual income of these 10 people — is $16,200.

    Now, the total fertility rate (TFR) in the United States is 2.01 and the annual per capita income is $52,800. So, the average American’s annual income (every man, woman and child) is more than three times greater than the combined annual income of these 10 residents of these nations with the highest fertility rates in the world.


    The question before us is not whether 7 billion is “plenty,” nor is the question whether desperately poor people in foreign countries are having too many babies. The question is, “WHO WILL POPULATE THE FUTURE?”

    How many children will we — the fortunate people with educations, running water, electricity and laptops, etc. — contribute to the future? Do we want the population of the future to be more prosperous, more educated, more democratic, more free? Because if that is what we want — to increase the share of human happiness in the world — the best way to do it is for educated, affluent, freedom-loving people to have lots of babies. Or, at least, more babies than we’re having right now.

    In 1957, the U.S. total fertility rate hit its postwar Baby Boom peak at 3.74. That is to say that in 1957 (two years before I was born), the average American woman was more likely to be a mother of four children than to be a mother of “only” three. So we know, as a historical fact, that middle-class prosperity and relatively high birth rates are not incompatible. This was true quite recently, in my own lifetime, and could be true again.

    However, the “overpopulation” hype of the 1960s (e.g., Paul Ehrlich) convinced many educated Americans that there was an urgent need to reduce birth rates, so smart people stopped having so many babies. Meanwhile, stupid Americans (who don’t read books or newspapers, anyway) continued having babies and (more importantly, in the big picture) poor people in distant foreign countries paid no attention at all to this “overpopulation” hype.

    The result? An anti-natalist culture took hold in the West, particularly among the most affluent and highly educated segments of the population (the people who are the targeted consumers’ of the elite intelligentsia’s output), and so the population of the present (today is yesterday’s future) is LESS educated and LESS affluent because of this differential pressure (lower fertility for the affluent, relatively higher fertility for the poor).

    This is not to say that there are no other factors influencing social, economic and demographic trends. It is to say that the false “overpopulation” myth has an overall negative impact on society. If you don’t understand this, you could read What to Expect When No One’s Expecting by Jonathan Last or America Alone by Mark Steyn.

    How much can we (the affluent and educated citizens of democratic industrial nations) do to improve the lives of the poor, either here in our own nations or in distant impoverished places like Mali and Burundi? I’m not sure. What I am sure of is that the more or us there are, the more we will be able to help. Why do I say this? It’s not just a matter of math, although it is obvious that 400 million Americans can offer 25% more manpower to the world than can 300 million Americans. It is also the fact that, generally, small families are both a result of selfishness and a breeding ground for selfish attitudes among children.

    Parental love is sacrificial love, and the deliberate avoidance of parental responsibility is evidence of a selfish personality. Quod erat demonstrandum. Conversely and ironically, low birth rates are also a reflection of pessimism: “The world is an awful place. There is no hope for the future. I will be unable to provide for a child. I had better not have any kids.”

    Selfish pessimism or generous optimism: Which attitude do you suppose is more beneficial to the world?

    Me? I’ve got six children. You, Mr. Weedlord? I hope you practice in your own life the anti-natalist Death Cult beliefs you advocate, because obviously there are too many selfish anti-social assholes like you in the world already.

  23. Quartermaster
    October 27th, 2014 @ 9:03 am

    Bad word choice on my part. I should have said denomination instead of Church.

  24. Weedlord BonerHitler
    October 27th, 2014 @ 11:13 am

    Hmm, interesting stats. However, if you advocate that nice, clean, white Americans should breed as much as possible to make up for all those horrible dirty people being born in Africa, China, India, and elsewhere, well I have bad news — we’re already hopelessly outnumbered. There’s no way to win the baby arms race. Even if you could somehow find a way to make every fertile American couple have, what, like 14 kids, that would only lead to the exhaustion of our resources and a poorer world for all. Combine China, India, and the Muslim world, and they have, what, 3-4 billion to our 300 million?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t demographers already surmised that — barring some global cataclysm — the birthrate will continue to climb, reach a peak, and then slightly decline when other nations follow our lead, and reduce their birthrates for the same reasons as we have?

    Your arguments presuppose a very static sort of world. There are a billion Indians and a billion Chinese — just a few decades ago, you’d probably have considered them undesirable, and that the majority of them were leading useless, dirty lives just like those poor Africans. Now, their standards of living are rising. India just sent a probe to Mars, did you know that? Who knows what the next fifty years will hold?

    What if, in the year 2045, it’s generally accepted that Asia and India are the “best” people in the world who ought to be breeding, while the run-down and forlorn nation of America, which is filled with poor souls breeding out of control, ought to limit themselves as not to overrun the “good” parts of the world?

    America is not the world. 500 years ago, America was a backwater. Now it’s a superpower. 500 years from now, everything will be different. You cannot change this.

    But I have some good news. Climate change and the destruction it may wreak upon the world may do much to cull the peoples in the bad areas. Population is not going to continue to skyrocket with Africans taking some sort of insurmountable lead. In the next few hundred years, such disasters might occur that poor people will be dying in droves, while islands of affluence and technology survive. Education, technology, and the intelligent management of resources are the keys to victory, not mindless overbreeding.

    We are men, not locusts.

    I sometimes wonder if conservatives ever watch the Matrix movies and freak out a little bit because so many of the characters are black and asian. Poor Keanu Reeves, adrift in that sea of non-whiteness.

  25. K-Bob
    October 27th, 2014 @ 12:34 pm

    Looks like that merger with the Methodists really worked out well. The Methodists lost most of the old, EUB faction over their decision to even begin discussion of allowing openly homosexual persons to be candidates for the clergy. (Evidently they haven’t folded on it yet.)

    But the churches are starting to crumble on this. It’s like portrayals in some SF stories back in the sixties, trying to shock people regarding future dystopias. We’re almost there.

  26. K-Bob
    October 27th, 2014 @ 12:38 pm

    Climbing up the country charts, at number 10, with a bullet…

  27. K-Bob
    October 27th, 2014 @ 12:39 pm

    Fish rot from the head, supposedly.

  28. ‘Overpopulated’? With Liberals, Perhaps : The Other McCain
    October 27th, 2014 @ 12:46 pm

    […] the subject was lesbian sorority girls and the correlation between that phenomenon and other facts, including the “humane […]

  29. K-Bob
    October 27th, 2014 @ 12:54 pm

    A massive chunk of the Earth’s population lives in “metro” areas and big cities. Zoom into Google Earth over India and you’ll see what people flying over India see: Lots and lots of open land.

  30. K-Bob
    October 27th, 2014 @ 1:04 pm

    Tangential matter:

    Interesting read about Billy Joel (thanks to Wombat’s attention to detail, which is where this link is from). Joel, the perennial loser in the game of love, has a fantastic statement at the end of the story.

  31. Adobe_Walls
    October 27th, 2014 @ 1:34 pm

    Now that’s just the kind of creative thinking we need to deal with the problem of Peak Oppression.

  32. Adobe_Walls
    October 27th, 2014 @ 1:57 pm

    The proper medical term for Anamika is nutjob. Every time Wombat would ban her and after a time relent, she’d feign lucidity temporarily but could never keep it up. Sometimes she couldn’t last one thread.

    Further more I still blame her and gigi for causing Wombat to admonish Bob and I to limit our ”destructive criticisms” to at least one but no more than three per thread. Good times. This severely stunted my ”juveniley creative ad hominem” skills due to lack of practice.

  33. Adobe_Walls
    October 27th, 2014 @ 3:11 pm

    The solution to globul warming is Thorazine.
    China’s demographic out look is disastrous. They may be the only nation on earth with more males than females. If they haven’t started already, their per capita aging will soon be worse than ours.

    Our infant mortality rates started improving dramatically in the early 20th century and continued improving through and beyond the baby boom years. This is because of our greater prosperity and our advances in medical care. The third world nations infant mortality rate improvements are due to our greater prosperity and advances is medical care.

    Of the 25 most populous cities of the world NY comes in at 25. The rest are all foreign. Other than SMOD a worldwide catastrophe is unlikely. Regional catastrophes are another matter. In theory immigration could mitigate our fertility rate problem but not if that means importing little pieces of foreign hellholes here. We already have an ample supply of functionally if not actually illiterate, little to no skilled peasants trapped in our cities. We don’t need more welfare dependents.

  34. trangbang68
    October 27th, 2014 @ 6:46 pm

    I hate to admit it but I watched that movie, “Lesbian Sorority Girls” before I regained my moral sanity. Oh………….never mind, my mistake.