FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Sex, Sweat, Feet and the Working Class

by Alexander Cockburn

Chalk up another milestone for sex ed. The University of California at Berkeley has put a “male sexuality ” class on ice after the campus newspaper, The Daily Californian, published allegations that as part of their course students were taken to a strip club where they watched their instructor have sex and also participated in an “orgy” at an party. A female sexuality course is also under review.

It seems these courses have been available under the university’s “democratic education” or “de-cal” program, which are sponsored but not funded by the university. They are organized and run by student instructors and can be taken for credit toward graduation. Other courses include Blackjack, useful for those set on careers as croupiers east of the Sierras, in Las Vegas, and (for dissidents) Copwatch, which instructs students “how to safely and effectively assert their rights when interacting with police.”

Christy Kovacs, a Berkeley freshman who was enrolled in the male sexuality course last semester for two units told the Sacramento Bee newspaper that some students in the class were involved in an orgy at a party where some partygoers also took Polaroid pictures of their genitalia, to show that their bodies were not disgusting. Kovacs said the shots were viewed at the party in a “respectful way”. Another student, Jessica McMahon, disclosed to the Daily Californian that students in the male sexuality class chose as their final project a trip to a gay strip club. Students apparently watched instructors strip and have sex.

Kovacs says her class also had an instructive excursion to the Garden of Eden strip club. There, a member of the group who was not a student or instructor stripped on stage. “They didn’t even take off all their clothes, and there was no sex,” the earnest Kovacs continued to the Bee reporter. “It was a class bonding experience,” not to mention “positive”.

This business of introducing yourself at a party by proffering a Polaroid of your genitals has distinct possibilities, particularly for fetishists. As news of the Berkeley ban came in I happened to be leafing through the analysis of a man code-named “Beta,” the foot fetishist in Sexual Aberrations, written by Freud’s sometime pal, Wilhelm Stekel. “I must mention,” Stekel writes with perhaps excessive enthusiasm, “Beta wasn’t in the least animated by women’s ankles, legs or lovely shoes.” No, the dirty beast “wanted to see the shoe fit tightly” and “is promptly enlivened by the sight of corns and envies every chiropodist he sees. He likes only male feet: red, swollen, dirty, sweaty and inflamed feet”.

Beta craved to view and smell only the feet of the poor, not out of class solidarity but because their economic condition meant they had badly fitting shoes in which they worked hard all day: “On warm days, he goes to the Danube where poor working men may be found in droves, bathing their sweaty, swollen feet. It is the sight of these large, red feet which then gives him a thrill. He rushes home to masturbate.”

One can imagine Beta politely introducing himself with a Polaroid of those feet. Ms Kovacs, following in Beta’s wake as she witnessed his activities, would presumably have commented that it was all uplifting and entirely respectful of feet which, after all, have feelings too.

Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
John Stanton
Brzezinski Vision for a Power Sharing World Stymied by Ignorant Americans Leaders, Citizens
Philip Doe
Colorado: 300 Days of Sunshine Annually, Yet There’s No Sunny Side of the Street
Joseph White
Homage to EP Thompson
Dan Bacher
The Big Corporate Money Behind Jerry Brown
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
DNC Playing Dirty Tricks on WikiLeaks
Ron Jacobs
Education for Liberation
Jim Smith
Socialism Revived: In Spite of Bernie, Donald and Hillary
David Macaray
Organized Labor’s Inferiority Complex
David Cortright
Alternatives to Military Intervention in Syria
Binoy Kampmark
The Terrors of Free Speech: Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act
Cesar Chelala
Guantánamo’s Quagmire
Nyla Ali Khan
Hoping Against Hope in Kashmir
William Hughes
From Sam Spade to the Red Scare: Dashiell Hammett’s War Against Rightwing Creeps
Raouf Halaby
Dear Barack Obama, Please Keep it at 3 for 3
Charles R. Larson
Review: Paulina Chiziane’s “The First Wife: a Tale of Polygamy”
David Yearsley
The Widow Bach: Anna Magdalena Rediscovered
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail