Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New Name For this Blog and a Brief Reflection on Linguistic Hyper-Sexualization

With this post, this blog changes it name for the third time.  The blog started with the title "Decent Exposure" and then moved to "Show and Tell", before settling now on the more  acceptable "The Faculty Voice."  The first two names were meant to emphasize the focus on both faculty engagement and the fundamental objective of these posting--to further transparency in relations among faculty (in the context of the Faculty Senate governance structure) and between the faculty and the other four great stakeholders in governance--administration, board of trustees, students and alumni.
(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer)

But the name was changed on objection--correctly raised.  These objections also served to as a reminder of the reason for the blog (and the need for greater focus on transparency) in the first place--the arrests of a former employee of the Penn State Athletic department on charges of inappropriate sexual conduct with young boys, the arrests of two administration officials on charges of perjury in relation to the activeness of that gentleman, and the subsequent terminations of the university President and the head coach of its football team.As such, the sexual nature of the cloud hanging over the university would corrupt the meaning of a title and distract from its principal purpose.

While the "big" consequences of the Sandusky scandal are well known, and well documented by agents of the Penn State administration and board of trustees elsewhere, the scandal has also produced a number of lesser consequences may may also affect university life in a number of potentially important ways.  One of these has substantially affected discourse within the university itself: the fear of hyper-sexualization of discourse within the university.  What was wrong with the first two names was the possibility that someone might extract from the titles a focus on sex that would somehow relate to the scandal.  Thus rather than point to transparency-- the stated objective of the blog--it might be feared that the names would point to the sexual misconduct that have caused so much disruption at this university.  And sex, reference to which is to be avoided, now haunts discourse at the university, unmentioned but never far from the surface, appearing unbidden at the strangest and most innocuous of places.  The scandal has had many consequences at the university, only time will reveal the more subtle effects beyond this one.  That is to be regretted. 

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