Soft Porn in a Student Newspaper: Sex on Thursday in The Cornell Daily Sun

As one peruses the online versions of various college newspapers in this great country of ours, one is struck by how little many of the students who write for them seem to care about how they are representing their universities.

I mean, if you want people to think of Cornell University as a dive where coarseness and lewdness reign feature a column called, Sex on Thursday in the student newspaper and make sure that the students who contribute to it make sexual relations sound as ugly and soulless as possible. Way to go, Cornell Daily Sun!

Lest you think that Sex on Thursday is full of earnest essays by representatives of a student health center on such topics as contraception and venereal disease prevention and how to avoid getting AIDs, let me disabuse you of that idea. This column is about sexual activity of the sleaziest sort.

It is just astounding that the student editors don’t say to each other, “Whoa—this proposed column is all about seeking erotic ecstasy at the expense of any feeling of affection or basic care for the feelings and health and safety of the other person. How does this semi-pornographic bit of writing about exploiting others for the sake of one’s libido contribute to the moral excellence of our fellow students or to the reputation of this publication or the university? Maybe we should rethink the whole Sex on Thursday enterprise...”

In the highly unlikely event of these possibly future journalists asking questions like this, they would probably shift into left-wing group think mode and say, “But we don’t want to seem like awful Republicans or other ghastly right-wing culture warriors. It is our duty to publish columns that revolve around seeking pleasure without recognizing the basic humanity of our fellow students and to maintain a highly sexualized youth culture here because that is good for Cornell University and makes us seem edgy and brave!”

It is hard to convey the bleakness of the landscape that the writers of Sex on Thursday paint. And, to be honest, the language in them is so raunchy that quoting much of it was out of the question for this blog (written as it is by a terrible prude).

A few of the essays do seem to be penned by young people with some inkling that kinkiness and promiscuity are not the road to happiness and those essays are rather touching. But the bulk of them are about the paraphernalia of sex games and personal grooming prior to sexual adventuring and some use what one could characterize as rather hate-fueled language (e.g., “toxic heterosexuality”).

The quickest way to get read on the soft porn that appears in the student publication of a prestigious university is to skim the March 4, 2021 essay, “The Power in Polygamy” by a young woman who goes by the name of “Brat Baby” (how right she is). This person is not shy about detailing how she uses other people and how she spends a good deal of her time:

Plurality of partners is a constitutional component of my sex life. Broadly speaking, I aspire to have three to four knights seated at my round table at all times — two begins to feel restrictive, and five is a lot of names to remember. Like a revolving door that swings straight into my pants, my strategic set-up arranges my casual companions into a rhythmically rotating conga line that, whilst literally circling in and out of me, periodically releases an underperforming dancer back into the wild and rapidly recruits a replacement, all without missing a beat.

I wonder why she is bothering with college. Why not set up her own private sex queendom somewhere?

The vulgarization of so many college newspapers probably stems from the fact that they are exclusively student-run (as this one seems to be) and so lack faculty advisors who could step and suggest that student journalism can be worthwhile and even noble and not just a venue for exhibitionistic accounts of shabby sex lives.

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