Though publicly rebuked by his own ideological comrades, Group of 88 extremist Grant Farred doesn’t appear to have lost any of his pedagogical influence. The homepage of Cornell’s English Department includes an announcement of a new concentration—“cultural studies”—which supposedly allows students to “study different media and forms of culture in terms of historical, social, and political contexts.”
According to the link the department provides, the two departmental specialists in this new concentration are none other than Dr. Farred, along with colleague Jane Juffer.
Farred’s . . . peculiar research interests already have been noted. Juffer, a former director of Penn State’s Latino/a Studies Initiative, is author of At Home with Pornography: Women, Sex, and Everyday Life. The book offers the only-in-academia thesis of viewing “women’s erotica within the context of governmental regulation that attempts to counterpose a ‘dangerous’ pornography with the sanctity of the home. Juffer explorers [sic] how women’s consumption of erotica and porn for their own pleasure can be empowering, while still acting to reinforce conservative ideals.” NYU Press assures readers that completing Juffer’s work will “transform our understanding of women's everyday sexuality.”
What sorts of topics will this new concentration enable students to explore? Prof. Debra Fried gave two examples to the Cornell student newspaper: “anything from comparing Ithaca’s coffee shops to how a ‘news anchor’s hairdo and clothing can contribute subtly to how the news is “spun” on a TV news report.’”
And beyond the offerings of Farred and Juffer, the new concentration will offer such courses as “Food, Gender, Culture,” which explores “the way food practices help shape our sense of [of course . . .] gender, race, sexual orientation, and national identity.”
In a comment that must have been made tongue-in-cheek, Cornell Daily Sun reporter Joseph Nickzy affirmed that “English majors are excited by the prospect of a new field of study, particularly one so relevant.”
Cornell’s annual tuition—not counting room and board—is $39,450. For the opportunity to partake of such “relevant” course offerings from such student-friendly professors as Grant Farred, surely any parent would be eager to fork over $160,000 plus room and board for a four-year period.
Farred, it’s worth noting, isn’t the only disgraced figure associated with the lacrosse case recently in the news. John McCann, a due process-unfriendly columnist from the Herald-Sun, last week suddenly decided the time had come to stand up for criminal defendants. His preferred choice? False accuser Crystal Mangum.
In the column, Mangum co-author Vincent Clark wildly charged, according to McCann’s summary, that Mangum’s bond (from criminal charges earlier this year) “is too high,” because of “the woman’s role in the lacrosse case.” Neither McCann nor Clark provided any evidence to corroborate the claim, nor did either man offer a theory (plausible or otherwise) as to why the Durham criminal justice system would operate from such a motive.
Magnum, according to Clark, is an innocent victim in the affair: “It could have been anybody's daughter . . . It could have been my daughter.” Clark didn’t say if his daughter had ever set clothes on fire inside an apartment while screaming at her boyfriend, with her children in the next room.
(The line recalled Duke extremist Timothy Tyson’s justification for being part of the potbangers’ protest weekend: Mangum was “somebody’s daughter and somebody’s sister and somebody’s mother and somebody’s sweetheart.”)
Clark additionally complained about difficulties in his fundraising campaign for Mangum’s bond. Laments McCann: “Problem is, folks are scared to contribute to Mangum's cause out of fear of being linked to her and attracting unwanted attention.” Indeed. The danger of publicity is undoubtedly the only reason why “folks” are not lining up to contribute to a bail fund for a repeat criminal who lied about a high-profile local case.
Perhaps Clark should turn to Farred for donations? After all, the ex-Duke professor did everything he could to prop up Mangum’s case, and the median salary for his current rank is $154,300.