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In order to glimpse America's future, one needs to look no further than its college campuses. Of those institutions, none holds more clout than Yale University. Yet the school has become a full-fledged moral battleground where: A porn star gives a topless S&M demonstration in a classroom A student had received approval for an art project she said included tissue from repeat In order to glimpse America's future, one needs to look no further than its college campuses. Of those institutions, none holds more clout than Yale University. Yet the school has become a full-fledged moral battleground where: A porn star gives a topless S&M demonstration in a classroom A student had received approval for an art project she said included tissue from repeated self-induced miscarriages The infamous Sex Week is held every two years Loathe for years to host ROTC, Yale nonetheless once employed a professor who praised the Hamas terrorist organization In this reboot of William F. Buckley's classic God and Man at Yale, 2009 Yale graduate Harden offers a provocative account of what really goes on inside “The Cradle of Presidents," one that will shock any parent of a college-bound student.  Sex and God at Yale is a must for anyone concerned by what really goes on at one of America's elite universities.


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In order to glimpse America's future, one needs to look no further than its college campuses. Of those institutions, none holds more clout than Yale University. Yet the school has become a full-fledged moral battleground where: A porn star gives a topless S&M demonstration in a classroom A student had received approval for an art project she said included tissue from repeat In order to glimpse America's future, one needs to look no further than its college campuses. Of those institutions, none holds more clout than Yale University. Yet the school has become a full-fledged moral battleground where: A porn star gives a topless S&M demonstration in a classroom A student had received approval for an art project she said included tissue from repeated self-induced miscarriages The infamous Sex Week is held every two years Loathe for years to host ROTC, Yale nonetheless once employed a professor who praised the Hamas terrorist organization In this reboot of William F. Buckley's classic God and Man at Yale, 2009 Yale graduate Harden offers a provocative account of what really goes on inside “The Cradle of Presidents," one that will shock any parent of a college-bound student.  Sex and God at Yale is a must for anyone concerned by what really goes on at one of America's elite universities.

30 review for Sex and God at Yale: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Harden

    I'm the author. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to raise awareness about some vital issues in our sexual culture with this book. I'm extremely passionate about what I've written, and am grateful that so many others are now talking about the direction of elite higher-ed in this country, as well as the state of our sexual culture, and the negative views of women that are being bought and sold every day by the sex industry. I welcome questions, comments, or discussion with readers. So pleas I'm the author. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to raise awareness about some vital issues in our sexual culture with this book. I'm extremely passionate about what I've written, and am grateful that so many others are now talking about the direction of elite higher-ed in this country, as well as the state of our sexual culture, and the negative views of women that are being bought and sold every day by the sex industry. I welcome questions, comments, or discussion with readers. So please feel free to drop me a note. And good reading, Nathan

  2. 5 out of 5

    Zahir

    Nathan Harden had the opportunity to shed light on the sexual and political culture predominant at Yale, arguably one of the most important institutions in the world, and analyze the threats that this culture poses to the students and the nation as a whole. While he does this well in certain respects, he completely fails in others. Well written, and at certain points very thoughtful, Harden has a tendency to be extremely condescending and sanctimonious. The result is a book that addresses some v Nathan Harden had the opportunity to shed light on the sexual and political culture predominant at Yale, arguably one of the most important institutions in the world, and analyze the threats that this culture poses to the students and the nation as a whole. While he does this well in certain respects, he completely fails in others. Well written, and at certain points very thoughtful, Harden has a tendency to be extremely condescending and sanctimonious. The result is a book that addresses some very real and pertinent issues, but also longs for a fantasy time and place where Yale remembered its roots and served its mission. The strongest part of this book is Harden's description and analysis of Sex Week at Yale. He describes this week as full of debauchery with little educational value. He describes the atmosphere where porn companies and other private companies selling sex aids are given a platform from which to basically sell their wares. These companies and people supposedly masquerading around as sex educators are really pushing a depraved agenda, butting into the lives of students, and effectively creating a demeaning and sexually charged environment on campus. He does a particularly good job describing the hook-up culture and how in general, women are being disrespected and objectified by the very people and institutions that are supposed to be empowering them. This part of Harden's analysis was excellent. However, the analysis is undermined by the self righteous tone about how things are so morally wrong. While he brings up good points about the porn companies contributing to a disrespectful and dangerous environment for women, he simply writes sex week off as depraved and of no value. Friends of mine who went to Yale and other schools that have sex weeks also told me how in general, 'sex week' is on the margins, and not the full scale orgy Harden makes it out to be. They also told me how much emphasis is placed on legitimate issues pertaining to sexuality, such as human trafficking, child sex awareness,etc. He does not address this at all. Instead, he talks about attending seminars and feeling sickened by what he saw... Much of his personal commentary devolves into a rant about how immoral having sexuality out in the open tends to be. He comes across as someone who feels he is the moral superior of most other people there. Despite the thoughtful commentary on the hyper sexual culture, Harden goes into a spiel about the university's lack of a moral compass, which he blames on a false need by the academics to embrace multiculturalism. What Harden does in these sections of the book is lay on a flat out assault on multiculturalism, where he clearly feels that the dead white men's ideas are clearly superior to any others. This part of the book was very sanctimonious and contains little thoughtful analysis. The biggest flaw is Harden's assumption that the "dead white men" who were the underpinnings of western civilization are being undermined in favor of multicultural studies. This commentary has an underlying feeling of "white man's burden" and a feeling of being threatened that white civilization is no longer the center of the world. He makes strange comments about how only black students take African American Studies classes as part of their self segregation. He similarly rips apart the controversial "abortion art" project by a student, Aliza Shvarts, and the basically tasteless shock value it entailed. He further goes on to demean Yale School of Drama classes he took as being kind of BS filled subjective hippiedom. Rather than an analysis of why any of this is problematic or why it is destructive, he is instead just condescending and dismissive. The problem is that instead of thoughtful analysis as to why this is bad, Harden himself subjectively comments about how it had no 'redeeming' qualities and was nothing but shock value. He compares student performance art to the Renaissance masters and other 'real' art he experienced in Rome, which is basically a completely meaningless analysis. Harden sees himself as the self appointed moral crusader to determine what is tasteful and what is not. The problem is that he is in no position to dictate what is of educational value and what is not. It devolves into Sean Hannity like condescending commentary. Harden continues on his rant about how the school has lost its moral bearings because of it's disconnection with its religious and patriotic background. He criticizes the school's invitation of a Taliban affiliated student, the school's hiring of an Arabic professor who has no college degree, who took a student trip to a local mosque. This area of the book was the least thoughtful, and frankly contained some racist and Islamophobic content. He pines for the days when Yale was more patriotic and moral (i.e. Jingoistic). My biggest problem is that he criticizes the the Arabic professor for taking students to a mosque, where female students were required to undergo a demeaning and submissive ritual - something he equates to black students having to stay outside in a segregated manner to appreciate apartheid. The offensive task - asking female students to wear a headscarf when in the mosque. Harden stupidly complains about this being an oppressive symbol - without any comments or explanation as to what the female students thought. Most Muslim women who wear hijabs don't do it as a sign of oppression, but rather as a sign of devotion to god, not submission to man. He simply harps on this fake sign of 'oppression' as a problematic idea, and criticizes the university's sanction of such an event. The women were asked to wear a headscarf while briefly entering a mosque - they were not forced to marry a camel riding tribal chieftain and be his sex slave. The false analogy and thoughtless commentary was extremely weak. Harden similarly complains about a controversial Taliban affiliated student invited to study at Yale - and goes on a thoughtless rant about having to sit next to this guy. No commentary about why the school thought it fit to invite him in the first place. No thought about what exchange of ideas or potential understanding of anti-American perspectives could be gained by inviting such a student to Yale. Nope, all he underscores is the assumption that Yale must be anti-American. In very sharp contrast to the thoughtful commentary and analysis relating to the sexualized culture at Yale, Harden's general cultural commentary harps on this false sense of morality and self righteousness. He repeats that he believes not all cultures are created equal, and that Yale should have a cultural and moral center to embrace and not be scared of criticizing other oppressive cultures. This demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the academic mission - to actually think about and understand other perspectives and see nuance, rather than ham handedly judging other cultures first and talking about how western civilization is superior. Harden simply writes off any attempt to understand or analyze other perspectives other than a conservative white perspective as a lack of morals and grounding. He accuses the school's attempts to understand wider cultural perspectives as part of an anti-American and amoral ideal. This is very simply a flawed premise, and by far the weakest part of the book. Overall, this book was one of strange disappointment. Harden definitely brings to light certain things that should be the center of discussion, especially the impact the sexual culture at Yale has on its students and society. However, he undermines this by then going on a moral rant, while offering no alternatives. He even admits at a certain point that there is no definite 'moral' center. A mixed bag, but a recommended read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Baelor

    I would like to rate this 3.5 stars but cannot. A few responses to vague negative reviews: 1) General attacks on the book as "garbage" or on Harden as a token "conservative windbag" and the like are only reinforcing one of Harden's points, not to mention the crux of William Buckley's argument in God and Man at Yale, of which Harden's book is obviously a spiritual successor (q.v. in particular the essay preceding the text in the 50th anniversary edition and Buckley's essay in the 25th anniversary e I would like to rate this 3.5 stars but cannot. A few responses to vague negative reviews: 1) General attacks on the book as "garbage" or on Harden as a token "conservative windbag" and the like are only reinforcing one of Harden's points, not to mention the crux of William Buckley's argument in God and Man at Yale, of which Harden's book is obviously a spiritual successor (q.v. in particular the essay preceding the text in the 50th anniversary edition and Buckley's essay in the 25th anniversary edition). 2) A close analysis of Harden's arguments reveals that they do not depend on the popularity of events like Sex Week. Even if the assertions of some reviewers that Sex Week and its ilk are on the periphery of student life, the university administration still permits them, and, unless Harden is an outright liar, actively encourages and sanctions them. Harden's book is essentially an argument that Yale endorses (or, at the least, permits) a certain sexual culture that is contrary to human dignity and is especially harmful to women. Furthermore, he argues that this should not be surprising: Yale has lost its purpose, having abandoned both any religious pretense and even any patriotic aspirations. Echoes of Buckley are particularly obvious in the later sections of the book. Indeed, at times the language is remarkably (and rightly) similar: "How can Yale administrators draw up rules to protect the public good when their moral framework does not extend beyond the realm of private conscience?" (228). This book is an expose of sorts, and Harden ultimately succeeds in his goal of revealing the predominant sexual ethic on Yale's campus and the intellectual flaccidity that has fostered it. As he says, "truth becomes a political commodity, to be molded and manipulated in service of narrow and ever-changing ideological concerns" (74). My reading of the book is obviously colored by the fact that I am also a recent graduate of an Ivy League university, albeit one that does not have a Sex Week clone. If nothing else, Harden's arguments are compelling. The examples he mentions are not meant to be taken as isolated incidents, but rather as indications of a larger sexual ethic on campus. Other reviewers find this a problem, complaining that Harden lacks the empirical evidence that his conclusions would require. These critics are correct. Such empirical data (although some relevant data, e.g. about sexual assault on college campuses, is provided, there is relatively little about Yale) should have been included in some form. As an alumnus of Princeton, however, this did not really bother me -- the numbers accord with what appear to be minor episodes to readers who have not graduated from college recently. Harden certainly picked salacious material, but it was not cherry-picking: it was rather a representative sample of the sexual ethic on campus. On the other hand, one would be wrong in claiming that Harden's analysis meets the burden of proof at the level that Buckley did around sixty years ago. Harden's style is straightforward and clear, as befits such a book. There is a fair amount of sardonicism, which I felt was unnecessary (but other reviewers seem to disagree). A porn star undressing in the middle of a lecture hall should be poignant enough to stand on its own as evidence. Although Harden's sarcasm was at times enjoyable, I felt that it detracted from the overall experience, if only because it was often a pithy summary of his later expanded thoughts, leading to a sense of repetition. This repetition was indicative of an organizational problem in the book. Whereas Buckley's book was, in my opinion, flawlessly structured, Harden's book is looser, with each chapter addressing at most a few incidents. As a result, there is little opportunity for general analysis within the book, and when it appears, it seems tacked onto the end of chapters (e.g. the comments on the academic decline of Yale at the end of "Finding my Chakra at Yale," 103-4). Because Harden does not have damning statistics, at times it seems he relies on the event(s) described in the book as proof of larger trends. As I stated earlier, they are not proof, but indications. They would thus be stronger if clumped together, as in the first two parts of Buckley's book. Such a structure would have also avoided the repetition present in Harden's work (the conclusions of chapters within a given part are often remarkably similar). Why split up the excellent description and analysis of Sex Week? Why include so much about his personal life (an interesting story in its own right, but of arguable relevance to his argument)? Why not present the evidence in a block (with some biting remarks peppered throughout), and then write up the analysis, à la Buckley? This would address the burden of proof issue as well, since the incidents are taken together rather than left to stand precariously on their own. A few other remarks. First, at times Harden's description of individuals feels unnecessary ("Brisben is a stout yet attractive woman with short bleached blond hair," 16; "I found Logan Levkoff to be an attractive woman, with long, flowing blond locks," 12). It was odd to me that such physical descriptions beyond age -- however well-intentioned -- would be included in a book arguing for a healthier sex ethic, especially when such descriptions were irrelevant (cf. Madison Young, whose description most decidedly is relevant). His view of men's near-bestial desire for sex and women's sex-based power over men (130) is reductionist (I would certainly not crawl over broken glass for booty). While Harden does support his framework with the statistically proven unhappiness with the college love/lust scene among women, at times it still feels that women are disenfranchised sexually (and this is coming from an arch-conservative Catholic reviewer). Finally, as I have suggested, some of the conclusions seem tenuous. Wall Street, for example, is linked to the naked parties at Yale ("The recent collapse of the global financial system, therefore, may be indirectly linked to the irregular customs of conversation developed in so many late-night get-togethers among groups of Yale students wearing no clothes," 254). Please. That is obviously untrue, and definitely sensationalistic. It also ignores the reality that many investment bankers (which I almost become) did not go to Yale and do not enjoy naked parties, so said parties can clearly not be responsible for the current debauchery on Wall Street. Such lapses in logical progression of argument are not common, but some do occur. Regarding the charges of Islamophobia, it is rather clear that Harden is referring to extremists rather than mainstream Muslims. Charges of transphobia (which is a misleading term because fear is etymologically implied) rest on the sarcastic use of the word "tranny" early in the book. Take that as you will. Overall, Harden's book is good. It is important. It is revealing. It is enjoyable. I recommend it, despite its flaws. I hope to read more of his work in the future.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Conservatives have been calling for the reform of American institutions a decade or more now. One of the most fascinating of these calls is from within the Obama administration, Cass Sunstein's "libertarian paternalism," a paternalism on behalf of freeing choices within an assumption of bureaucratic systems. Nathan Harden, writing about Yale (his alma mater), argues that a permissive sexual culture undermines the University's responsibility to act in loco parentis -- this phrase, by the way, is Conservatives have been calling for the reform of American institutions a decade or more now. One of the most fascinating of these calls is from within the Obama administration, Cass Sunstein's "libertarian paternalism," a paternalism on behalf of freeing choices within an assumption of bureaucratic systems. Nathan Harden, writing about Yale (his alma mater), argues that a permissive sexual culture undermines the University's responsibility to act in loco parentis -- this phrase, by the way, is one that Harden never uses, yet he invokes consistently a paternalism quite different than the libertarian: "[By] allowing the sex industry to have open access to campus, Yale's leaders have helped create an environment where crass and aggressive sexual behavior around campus feels oddly normal."* Where the behavior, in being crass, lacks aggression, as when, at the urging of his residential advisor, Harden, a guitarist-singer, jumps up on a dinner table during a finals-week study break and sings a Tommy Tutone pop song, I believe Harden would have his readers regard his own behavior as merely normally odd. To go looking for a scrutable self-dramatization of the intellect in this book is an oddly frustrating experience; Harden has difficulty showing us how Yale shaped him. Home-schooled, and a late-comer to Yale, after several years beating around in various jobs, as well as marrying and going to University at Claremont-McKenna, in California, Harden gets at a real tension that is no doubt present at Yale. As on the campuses of so many elite and expensive universities, the demands of in loco parentis operate in tension with the demands of the collegium, or that necessity that the University make itself something upon which a surrounding community can parasitically exist. Yale as a living institution is responsible in both directions, of course. The demand that the University model curatorial and archival priorities, athletic display, labor relations, health care privileges, and other myriad community functions, while keeping its students active and happy, is one that Harden, as a married student a bit of an outsider, is well-positioned to keenly observe. From his book he sounds like a gentle soul, moreover (Tommy Tutone aside) a genteel one. I am in some sympathy with Harden's resistance to the vulgarity in the Yale collegium's permeability to the sex industry during its Sex Week festival, a student-organized event featuring all manner of the human comedy that the University nevertheless has to responsibly oversee. Yet Harden's paternalism lacks a Dantean pragmatism in its vision of a faith community. Harden's argument about Yale's responsibility is undermined by his confusion about what Yale is: He so cherishes its traditions he can sound like he's advocating a new New Humanism, yet his appreciation of its faculty is non-existent, indeed on its collegium-ended extremes his contempt for adjuncts and the like is notable: he recounts a class taken in the Yale Drama School with Pamela Prather that so irritated him that he went to the normally irresponsible parents -- the University -- and demanded a grade-change -- which he got! Yet he elsewhere condemns the permissiveness of the parent, and truly never properly regards the university as its faculty, which would be, I should think, the conservative value to uphold. It's in Harden's own thinking through the university that this book most fails. That he has exposed some of the vulgarity in the collegium no one will doubt. *NB: I use the phrase in loco parentis because this is the principle upon which student rights to the collegium were originally contested by Mario Savio at the University of California-Berkeley in 1964. (Harden refers vaguely to the events of the Free Speech Movement as if he's never given them more than a passing thought.) The best account of that struggle remains Michael Rossman's The Wedding Within the War, a book I bet Harden would like.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    First what I would criticize him for: a decent amount of repetition and poor organizing of his thoughts. Some of his chapter titles were over the top in grabbing attention, not really delivering what they purported. That being said, I found the sex content to be just as contemptible and unnerving as Harden intended it to be. I was appalled that such things could happen at a place like Yale. And when he finally ties this in to his assertion that running God necessarily means running to this type o First what I would criticize him for: a decent amount of repetition and poor organizing of his thoughts. Some of his chapter titles were over the top in grabbing attention, not really delivering what they purported. That being said, I found the sex content to be just as contemptible and unnerving as Harden intended it to be. I was appalled that such things could happen at a place like Yale. And when he finally ties this in to his assertion that running God necessarily means running to this type of amorality, I felt he nailed it. I would still recommend the fiction of Tom Wolfe's I am Charlotte Simmons over this, but it does back up the basic points Wolfe was making in a real life "Dupont." Nasty but worthy reading.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Straw

    28 pages in before I encountered a transphobic slur in this book. And I am done.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    A MUST READ for people who are sending their kids to college. I know most kids won't make it to Yale, but what is being practiced there is at the U of I, and other state schools. A MUST READ for people who are sending their kids to college. I know most kids won't make it to Yale, but what is being practiced there is at the U of I, and other state schools.

  8. 5 out of 5

    John D. Smart

    The author provides the reader with insight into just how messed up the current group of college students are in terms of their thinking about morality and sex, describing also how the elite university contributes to the situation. He's a bit of a prude, but many of his observations are valid in my opinion. For example, he describes how the current college female is taught that sex is marvelous, has no consequences for the participant and needs no emotional connection. Indeed, the description of The author provides the reader with insight into just how messed up the current group of college students are in terms of their thinking about morality and sex, describing also how the elite university contributes to the situation. He's a bit of a prude, but many of his observations are valid in my opinion. For example, he describes how the current college female is taught that sex is marvelous, has no consequences for the participant and needs no emotional connection. Indeed, the description of Sex Week at Yale should be read by every parent considering sending a child to this university. But the same student is taught that consent can be withdrawn at any moment, even tacitly, leading to severe consequences for all involved, in particular the young man who thought it was all good when he was having drunken sex the previous evening but now faces a sexual assault charge. Google "mattress girl and Columbia" for a real life example of such confusion.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dean Anderson

    In the conclusion of Nathan Harden’s “Sex and God at Yale”, he warns that the things that happen at Yale will echo in schools throughout the country. I’m afraid the warning comes a bit late. Yale had its first “Sex Week” in 2002. I went to San Diego State University in the early 1980’s. At that time, pornographic films such as “Deep Throat” were screened on campus. We had a Playboy centerfold autographing magazines in the campus bookstore. (SDSU was ranked at that time by Playboy in their list In the conclusion of Nathan Harden’s “Sex and God at Yale”, he warns that the things that happen at Yale will echo in schools throughout the country. I’m afraid the warning comes a bit late. Yale had its first “Sex Week” in 2002. I went to San Diego State University in the early 1980’s. At that time, pornographic films such as “Deep Throat” were screened on campus. We had a Playboy centerfold autographing magazines in the campus bookstore. (SDSU was ranked at that time by Playboy in their list of top ten party schools.) SDSU may not have the academic legacy of Yale (when I was there, if you were in class at high tide, you were a scholar.) We may not have had any United States Presidents as alumni as Yale does (though we do have as alums the actors who played Apollo Creed, Myra Breckinridge and Mrs. C on “Happy Days”.) But we were arguably ahead of the Ivy League in the crass exploitation of sexuality. Still, Harden’s descriptions of Yale’s Sex Week are disturbing. Because Yale has professed in century’s past a higher standard, and continues to be the training ground for many of the nation’s leaders. The concerns Harden raises in the book about moral relativity, academic standards and the shabby treatment of women at this august institution have serious implications. But the book probably must first be appreciated as a memoir. Harden’s dream of going to Yale began when he was 11 years old. His homeschool background made his acceptance unlikely and he was turned down two times before he was finally accepted. His love for the history of the school and its unique academic advantages shine through. His admiration for the tradition of “For God, For Country, and For Yale” is what makes his disgust for the school’s denigration more all the more heartbreaking. Two of Harden’s powerful arguments against the culture that lead to ‘Sex Week’ are appeals against commercialism and sexism on campus. Many of the events during Sex Week at sponsored by pornographers and other parts of the sex industry. Pornographers that portray the worst kinds of verbal and physical violence toward women play a large part in the events of the 11 day week. Harden argues that the university would never allow say, McDonald’s, to be the sponsors of Nutrition Week at Yale, but what takes place is much worse. Harden also argues that though the school administration and culture would claim to value women’s rights, the values promulgated during Sex Week are quite the opposite. Harden argues that the fear of being considered judgmental in the area of sexuality has serious consequences. He writes “you can’t believe in moral relativism and the equality of women. You have to choose one or the other.” Harden notes that there are some positive events at Sex Week, such as a seminar on the destructive nature of sex trafficking. But such events are much more poorly attended than lectures by porn stars and pick-up artists. Harden also argues that the elitism on campus extends to the belief that such “smart people should be immune to moral accountability.” Yale was originally founded to train Christian preachers and missionaries (‘For God’.) It went on train many of the world’s academic, commercial and governmental leaders (‘For Country’.) But now the school’s primary concern seems t be self-preservation. It would be a shame if the vast financial, historical and academic resources were wasted on teaching students to, say, touch themselves (a skill that Harden notes most people, if ultra-sound pictures are to be believed, learn in the womb.) Yale is free to follow the course it chooses. But it might be wise to follow the wisdom of the Scripture it once cherished but now spurns, the apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 1023, "’I have the right to do anything’, you say--but not everything is beneficial. I have the right to do anything’--but not everything is constructive.” Surely, the resources of Yale could be spent things much more beneficial and constructive than Sex Week.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I was largely impressed by Harden's ability to combine a simply entertaining account of the sexcapades that go on at Yale (and his own life) with a deeper philosophical inquiry about whether or not gender equality, as a value, can still exist in a realm of moral relativism, and in an institution that has, for the most part, abandoned the religious purposes it was founded for. Well-written, with a deeply satiric tone that had me laughing out loud at least three times. A novelty for books that, in I was largely impressed by Harden's ability to combine a simply entertaining account of the sexcapades that go on at Yale (and his own life) with a deeper philosophical inquiry about whether or not gender equality, as a value, can still exist in a realm of moral relativism, and in an institution that has, for the most part, abandoned the religious purposes it was founded for. Well-written, with a deeply satiric tone that had me laughing out loud at least three times. A novelty for books that, in the same pages, speak of nihilism, moral relativism, and various other -isms. So bravo Harden. But I have to admit that I disagree with Harden's ultimate stance on this. On pg. 230, Harden says, "The various moral arguments I make in this book can be reduced, in large part, to a single argument against institutionalized sexism. The case against sexism has to have some coherent moral grounding. I believe that moral grounding must be derived from an acknowledgement of the fundamental dignity of humanity. When our God-given dignity is denied, the basis for human rights disappears." Making God-given dignity a requirement for avoiding the "nihilism" that Harden thinks Yale is destined for (if nothing changes, in presumably, traditions like Sex Week and campus visits from pornstars) ignores the work of so many moral philosophers on finding a basis for morality outside of religion. From Kant's categorical imperative, to Rawls' difference principle, so many great thinkers have found a basis for morality without relying on some vague notion of God-given dignity... TBC

  11. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Thanks to Shelley for bringing this book to my attention. Harden is a thoughtful, passionate, and insightful man. Some readers may find that he has a political angle or a certain bent while reading the first hundred or so pages. I found myself wishing that he had been more balanced when he seems to condemn the entire school for the (albeit strongly) symbolic actions of sex week and the piteous graspings of its “Art “ department. More importantly, though, I found myself wholly awed by the fact tha Thanks to Shelley for bringing this book to my attention. Harden is a thoughtful, passionate, and insightful man. Some readers may find that he has a political angle or a certain bent while reading the first hundred or so pages. I found myself wishing that he had been more balanced when he seems to condemn the entire school for the (albeit strongly) symbolic actions of sex week and the piteous graspings of its “Art “ department. More importantly, though, I found myself wholly awed by the fact that a man so easily lays bare some of the inconsistencies of the the modern day women’s movement. The connection that he sees between an ambitious woman’s very real need to balance career choices with family planning decisions, and the impersonal quality of the modern day “hooking up”mentality provoked in me a real “Aha” moment. Seemingly everyone wins and most definitively loses. Much of what he discusses goes far beyond the corridors of Yale University - and should be discussed by young girls and boys from age 11 onward, where the stages begin to be set for future misconceptions. Post my read: I see now that he is considered a "new conservative"and frequently writes for publications known as being right-wing. I find it unfortunate that a young writer has been compartmentalized so early in his career...which reminds me that we really miss out when we label.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Robison

    This book takes a hard look at the changing culture of American education, specifically, but not limited to, the context of Yale. While much of the book will not be news to many readers it's nonetheless a thought provoking collections of anecdotes and statistics worthy of careful consideration. The title of the book echoes back to William Buckley's infamous 'God and Man at Yale' but here the word order is notably reversed, which seems to say even more about the culture it's critiquing. While thi This book takes a hard look at the changing culture of American education, specifically, but not limited to, the context of Yale. While much of the book will not be news to many readers it's nonetheless a thought provoking collections of anecdotes and statistics worthy of careful consideration. The title of the book echoes back to William Buckley's infamous 'God and Man at Yale' but here the word order is notably reversed, which seems to say even more about the culture it's critiquing. While this book may not embrace an overly popular viewpoint of society it's not entirely unwelcome or unwarranted. Nathan has an excellent writing style though at times it tends to be a little heavy handed as he obviously has strong opinions and an emotional investment in the subject matter. Overall, a recommended read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Philip

    This book will literally turn your stomach; I felt physically ill at points. Not a fun read but probably necessary for anyone in higher education who wants to understand the culture at the ultimate culture-making institution. Book was a little too long -- Harden wastes time with repeated descriptions thick with sarcasm, and the sections about his experience at Yale, specifically, were stronger than those about Yale / higher education generally. A tough book to read and one that will require a me This book will literally turn your stomach; I felt physically ill at points. Not a fun read but probably necessary for anyone in higher education who wants to understand the culture at the ultimate culture-making institution. Book was a little too long -- Harden wastes time with repeated descriptions thick with sarcasm, and the sections about his experience at Yale, specifically, were stronger than those about Yale / higher education generally. A tough book to read and one that will require a mental purge afterwards, but an important critique of elite higher ed.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Herbert

    A stunning expose' and a well thought out statement against secular humanism taken to the extreme. Points out over and over again the hypocrisy of "everything is good". I wish everyone in the USA would read this book and that we could have a rational conversation about boundaries, standards, morals, and respect. Yale and other colleges have reached a TRULY embarrassing level of depravity. It's not cute, it's not hip, it's not clever, and it's not enlightened. A stunning expose' and a well thought out statement against secular humanism taken to the extreme. Points out over and over again the hypocrisy of "everything is good". I wish everyone in the USA would read this book and that we could have a rational conversation about boundaries, standards, morals, and respect. Yale and other colleges have reached a TRULY embarrassing level of depravity. It's not cute, it's not hip, it's not clever, and it's not enlightened.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Aisha

    I thought I was going through intellectual Hell in my prestigious UK university until I read Nathan's book & realized I am oh so lucky! the final straw was when I witnessed Hijabi girl talking about how AIDS impacted the Gay porn industry (it was part of the "Queer Theory & Literature" seminar!!) I have no idea where this world is heading!!! thank you for speaking up, Nathan.. I wish you all the best.. I thought I was going through intellectual Hell in my prestigious UK university until I read Nathan's book & realized I am oh so lucky! the final straw was when I witnessed Hijabi girl talking about how AIDS impacted the Gay porn industry (it was part of the "Queer Theory & Literature" seminar!!) I have no idea where this world is heading!!! thank you for speaking up, Nathan.. I wish you all the best..

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rich

    Nathan Harden makes it clear that we live in hypocrisy when we tolerate the abuse and sexual exploitation of women and call it free speech. This book is graphic beyond my taste but I agree with his thesis and am appalled by what is going on at our Ivy League schools. The disease is spreading but no one wants to call a doctor.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    There were some good points made in this book; however, it felt as if he was discovering Yale is not a perfect place. It was an interesting look at money interests in the school and his perspective as a non-tradional student, but it baffled me that he believed Yale was not beholden to the wider American culture on campus.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Maureen Alden

    I actually only read the first few chapters, and that was enough for me to hear the author's message loud and clear. The introduction has one of the most shocking things I have ever read...not in a good way. I actually only read the first few chapters, and that was enough for me to hear the author's message loud and clear. The introduction has one of the most shocking things I have ever read...not in a good way.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Robert Lowry

    Trite and little more than regurgitated right-wing blather. What could have been an interesting and important book was just a tantrum. Disappointing all around.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Mayhem

    Mostly disappointed that the author didn't get to see my porn panel with Gail Dines so I could see him rail against me, too. Mostly disappointed that the author didn't get to see my porn panel with Gail Dines so I could see him rail against me, too.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kim Levell

    3.5 stars. Interesting and thought-provoking read but a little too graphic for my taste.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Clare Cannon

    Reviewed @ www.mercatornet.com Reviewed @ www.mercatornet.com

  23. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Johnson

    salacious. prudish.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bebe Casey

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kathrine Germany

  26. 5 out of 5

    Randall Gwin

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rob

  28. 5 out of 5

    Douglas

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bethany Ramus

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Kay

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