Brainless Head on Topless Prof

A truly impressive story swirls around one Diana Blaine, a Senior Lecturer in the Writing Program at the University of Southern California. Pardon me, that should be Dr. Diana Blaine, for she has a PhD in English from UCLA.

Dr. Diana (as she calls herself on her blog) is, if we were going for a one-word label, a feminist. If we were allowed two words, we'd stick a "strident" on the front of that. Perhaps the best place to go for an introduction to the controversy is this article at Inside Higher Ed.

A lecturer at the University of Southern California said she started a blog because her students wanted "more of me after our class time has ended," she wrote. And they got it.

Diana Blaine, who lectures on feminist theory, recently linked her blog to an online photo album that has topless photos of her near a painting of a topless woman, and at Burning Man, an annual weeklong festival in Nevada where clothing is optional.

Eek! A link to said photos is provided. Not recommended.

Dr. Diana also caught the attention of the Cardinal Martini blog, where a USC undergrad writes under the pseudonym "Andrew Winthrop Cunningham III". He was particularly set off by Dr. Diana's Daily Trojan editorial in April of last year about a rape accusation against a USC football player. (Charges against the player were later dropped.) A key paragraph from her editorial:

So if a few bad eggs don't respect women's right to decide if to have sex with them, why should I hold the whole football team accountable? Because I do. Because I hold every single male on this campus responsible. Because every single male on this campus has the responsibility for stopping rape. Every fraternity brother, every science major, every professor, every one of them. Because they all rape? Of course not. But because only men rape and only men can stop other men from raping.
OK, that's fairly typical feminist rhetoric where I come from. But it's guaranteed to dismay anyone with more traditional attitudes toward responsibility and causation. And logic.

Anyway, it's all pretty incendiary, and Dr. Diana is nothing if not self-assured. Here's the beginning of one of her recent blog posts:

Yesterday my father's doctor and I were discussing dad's imminent death from kidney failure.
One might expect this to be a touching tale of a treasured relationship approaching its end. One would be … mistaken. That sentence is Dad's last appearance in the post.
We spoke of the need for acceptance and letting go; we spoke of the need to span from bodies and pus to grace and light. We held one another and shared our experiences and cried. Then she got out a pad and prescribed me John Milton's Paradise Lost.

If you have a sleeping problem, Paradise Lost is probably a good alternative to Ambien.

Needless to say it wasn't your usual doctor visit. Then again in case you can't tell I don't exactly live your usual life.
Needless to say, in case you can't tell, Dr. Diana is not a huge comma fan.
She told me she was impressed with my depth and my humanity and my intellect. She also told me that I was beautiful. I told her that I had learned through hard spiritual work to own these gifts of mine, that humility includes both acknowledging strengths as well as weaknesses. Anything less would be to spit in the face of the magical powers that made us.
I'm impressed by the depth of Dr. Diana's narcissism, her unconventional (albeit convenient) definition of "humility", and her effortless twaddle about "magical powers."

And I'm also impressed about what you can get away with at USC.

URLs du Jour


Apologies for the no-posting holiday yesterday. I was celebrating this blog's evolution from "Multicellular Microorganism" to "Wiggly Worm" in the TTLB ecosystem. At least that's what it says over there on the right; watch out, Instapundit!

  • In celebration of the upcoming blockbuster The Da Vinci Code, Mark Steyn amusingly points out that our fellow-NHite Dan Brown (who is, you may have heard, the author of the original novel), has a "penchant for weirdly inauthentic historicity" and exhibits other stylistic flaws. Mark also looks at the Gospel of Judas, and doesn't like that much either.

  • Tired of being amused? Perhaps you're more in the mood for disgust? Craven and dishonest University administrators are always fertile sources for that sort of thing. Today's example is from the Torch, which carries a guest column from the ex-editor of the Daily Illini, describing the history of his publication of the Mohammed cartoons, and his subsequent sacking. He concludes:
    It's a truly astonishing experience to be summarily fired from your job and then erased from the public's memory for trying to provide one's readers with information pertaining to one of the most newsworthy stories of the year. It's a nauseating pattern that one might have expected to find in the pages of a dystopian novel—but not at a modern American university.

    Ah, it's a question we've all asked: am I in the pages of a dystopian novel, or at a modern American university? Hard to tell, sometimes.

  • The WaPo has an article about those VW ads that emphasize how safe their Jettas are. The sub-headline says:
    Jetta Commercials Show Real People in Real Crashes To Sell Viewers on Safety
    … where, well, "Real People" are actually "Professional Stunt People" and "Real Crashes" are actually "Staged Crashes". On the other hand, they apparently used actual Jettas with no additional padding or reinforcements. And despite my kvetching, the commercials are pretty stunning.

  • And (via Carl Schaad) here's a pretty neat Flash video allegedly showing a time-lapsed horde of FedEx aircraft avoiding a thunderstorm (and probably also Jettas) as they try to make it to their Memphis hub. (Carl's skeptical of its authenticity, and you should be too, but I, like, totally believe it.)