Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sense & Goodness at Columbia U: A Defense of Physical Au Naturel as a Worldview

Welcome. My name is Richard Carrier and I am the author of Sense and Goodness without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism and contributing author of The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave. This page tells you more about me and my qualifications.
I am first and foremost a historian and a philosopher. I have also taught classes and frequently speak and debate before audiences around the country. I'm a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, I have a B.A. from UC Berkeley in History and Classical Civilizations, and an M.A. and M.Phil. in ancient history from Columbia University.


Graduate Student Instructor (Columbia University), Librarian's Assistant (Electronic Texts Service: Butler Library, Columbia University)


My picture is always a bit goofy. I look too young for my age, especially when I'm all smiles. See what I mean? Sure, I'm a young and happy guy, but I still get carded in bars even though I'm 36. Sometimes my photo gives people the wrong idea of who I am and what I'm about.


Yes, I can see how photo ID would come in handy to participate in the educational experience in and around Columbia U.


Wild sex 101

S&M clubs, nude parties, porn, X-rated romps rule at Columbia


Famed as a hotbed of debate over academic freedom, New York's most elite school is also a playpen for sexual hijinks, sophomoric antics and the wacky indulgences of the children of the rich.

While their parents shell out $33,246 a year in tuition, Columbia University students doff their clothes at naked parties, flock to sex toys workshops, broadcast porn on campus TV, bake anatomically correct pies for the "Erotic Cake-Baking Contest" and heat up the steps of the Low Library in a mass makeout session called the "Big Kiss."

And of course, there's always the stimulating game, "Guess the Number of Condoms in the Jelly-Bean Jar."

Others volunteer for the bullwhip at Conversio Virium, the university-sanctioned S&M club that means "exchange of power" in Latin. It calls itself a "discussion group" that provides "education and peer support" and promotes "safe, sane and consensual play." But the club doesn't just talk.

Late on the night of Nov. 13, a Daily News reporter sat in room 303 of Hamilton Hall, a venerable classroom building where Columbia students have studied Poe, Plato and Plutarch for nearly 100 years.

As a female student volunteer stood facing the blackboard, and two dozen Columbians watched, a lecturer who identified himself only as Dov flogged her repeatedly with leather whips, rubber hoses - and a cat-o'-nine-tails.

"I'm Dov, and these are my toys," he said, and for the next 14 minutes he demonstrated lashing techniques. The activity was consensual, but the squeals of delight mingled with the occasional yelps of pain.

New York's Smartest still dream of winning a Nobel Prize. And bookworms still pull all-nighters in the Butler Library. But the 2 million-volume monument to the mind, which stays open 24 hours a day, doubles as a temple of earthier desires.

"Having sex in the stacks of Butler Library is one of the ultimate Columbia experiences," said Miriam Datskovsky, the sex columnist for The Spectator, the student newspaper.
"There's very little dating. It's predominately a hookup scene," said the 21-year-old, a senior from an Orthodox Jewish background who writes the "Sexplorations" column.
"Everything is so much easier and so much quicker - you go to dinner and then have sex," she added.

Consider the party scene. But it's no reason to get dressed up. In fact, there's no reason to get dressed at all: The merrymakers of Morningside Heights host naked parties, lingerie-only parties - and the more bourgeois "clothing-optional parties with naked rooms."
And taxpayers indirectly foot a chunk of the tab because bond offerings and loans from the state Dormitory Authority and federal Department of Education partially fund the renovation of dorms where naked frolickers muster.

"Sex Toys 101." The university's Health Services division teamed up with Toys in Babeland, a SoHo sex shop, to host a sex toys workshop in John Jay Hall on Feb. 15.
Though it was part of "Safer Sex Week," the playthings on display on W. 114th St. included bondage and S&M tools like whips, paddles, "floggers" and "slappers."

"Sexhibition." The annual campus sex fair, held in April, featured phallic ring toss games, orgasm-for-beginners workshops and discreet liaisons in the "Tent of Consent."

"Thug Play with Princess Wendy." Another session of the S&M club, taking place Oct. 30 in Hamilton Hall, was advertised as "beating, punching and slamming boys into lockers, and why bullies are so so so much fun!"

The speaker discussed "boot service," the "fine art of humiliation" and how a $5 meat mallet can be used as a toy. But "Princess Wendy" also provided safety tips, counseling students to avoid kicking one another in the kidneys and spine.

"I like to hurt people," she said. "I don't like to send them to the hospital."
She also advised some 30 devotees, "If you're new to kicking and trampling, start out slow."

"Educating people about the safest flogging techniques so they don't accidentally strike the kidneys is responsible behavior," said spokeswoman Susan Wright. "Basically, what they're doing is S&M 101."

"Smut TV." CTV, Columbia's in-house, student-run TV station, has a faculty adviser, uses school equipment and space, gets $5,021 a year in student activity fees - and is hungry for new viewers.

So at 10 p.m. on Oct. 17, it entered the hard-core porn business: Broadcasting into scores of dorms and lounges, it aired a five-minute clip, downloaded from the Internet, of a naked couple engaged in sex.

The footage ran during a sex advice show called "Sexiled" - which is student slang for getting kicked out of one's room so a roommate can have sex - and even some jaded Columbians who'd tuned in said they were offended.

"The Naked Run." In the chill of November, at the stroke of midnight, a group of exhibitionists, led by the track team, dons running sneakers - and nothing else - for a sprint down College Walk and up Broadway.



  1. Wow...that was almost as lame as people denouncing Calvinists because John Calvin caused heretics burn.

  2. John Calvin caused heretics burn.....hmmmmm I think that i'm tempted to post the ol' ZZZZ bit even thought it contributes absolutely nothing to anything...

  3. I don't get it, but maybe I'm just not used to this blog format. Is Steve just posting this article without comment, or is he saying something about it?

  4. His point was that a few years back none of it was going on. Now as soon as Richard Carrier takes up his post as library assistant, we suddenly have this.

    I know correlation doesn't prove causation, but Steve's asking you to use your reason here.

  5. Kind of like how since John Calvinist was a stinking murderer, so are today's Calvinists.

  6. Wait, now they have issues with a little good clean S&M fun too?

    These funny fundies. ;-)