unusual sexual interests.rnConsider Keith Potter, student organizerrnof a bondage workshop, who is betterrnknown around campus by his nickname,rn”Bondage Boy.” Imploring thernpublic to ”give it a chance,” he told thernIndiana Daily Student, “After a while sexrncan get old. Rather than cut off the relationship,rnyou might as well try newrnthings.”rnAssembling a panel of bondage practitionersrnand advocates in a college dorm.rnPotter and the CommUNITY Educatorrnprogram (sponsored bv lU’s Departmentrnfor Residential Programs and Services)rnintroduced 150 students to the pleasuresrnof burning a partner with hot wax, brandingrnor puncturing the skin with needles,rnusing rope, chains, or leather to subduernor tease, and enhancing sexual arousalrnwith whips and biting. John Robinson,rnpresident of Headspace, a student grouprnwhich promotes sadomasochism andrnbondage, touted the religious benefits ofrnS&M, contending that pain serves “as arnmethod of transcendentalism” and allowsrnparticipants “to either become arngod or to become closer to their god.”rnHe added, “It is a tool that, properlyrnused, can build trust.” If it weren’trnalready preoccupied with its crusadernagainst land mines, one suspects the NationalrnCouncil of Churches might supportrnRobinson’s claim.rnInterxiewed bv the Kokomo Tribune,rn”Bondage Boy” confessed “to keepingrna few shackles, handcuffs, and a blindfoldrndraped on his bedpost.” Still, he ardentlyrnmaintained the workshop wasrn”educational” and simply redressed historicalrndiscrimination against bondagernpractihoners. The university’s assistantrnchancellor for residential programs andrnservices, Bruce Jacobs, agreed, congratu-rnWh en in Rockford,rnEat atrnLee’s ChinesernRestaurantrn3443 N. Main Streetrnlahng the school for trying “to keep it perfunctorv.”rnThe absurdit- was completernwhen Potter admitted f^eadspace oftenrnsponsors off-campus “dungeon parties”rnin which students are initiated into S&Mrnor invited to watch, but stressed that thernparties always occur at non-alcoholicrnvenues.rnTuition-paying parents aren’t amused.rn”When based on sexual activity, kidsrnare going to be curious,” one lU undergraduate’srnmother noted. “But there’s nornreason to entice curiosity.” Yet it is preciselyrnthe normalization of the deviantrnwhich Alfred Kinsey and the institute hernestablished at lU undertook in the namernof science. His exaltation of naturalismrnsimply concealed romantic anti-intellectualism.rnThis flight from reality actuallyrnreveals a desperate yearning for purposernin life. Turning to ever more exotic practicesrnand constructing a veritable worldrnof illusion, the naturalist fails to find contentmentrnbecause everything gets “old”rneventually. Sexual liberation proves notrnso liberahng after all.rnWhen the State Ihiiversity of NewrnYork (SUNY) at New Paltz used tax dollarsrnto sponsor a conference featuringrnpresentations on “Sex To’s for Women”rnand “Safe, Sane, and Consensual S&M;rnAn Alternative Way of Loving,” GovernorrnGeorge Pataki denounced it as anrn”outrageous” expenditure. Predictably,rnthe college’s president invoked “academicrnfreedom,” the last refuge of an academicrnscoundrel. What a peculiar no-rnHon of freedom—to maintain that onernought to do whatever one pleases atrnsomeone else’s expense.rnThe New York Times editorialized inrnfavor of New Paltz’s besieged presidentrnwhen state legislators began demandingrnhis resignation, and Duke University’srnStanley Fish rushed to defend the proceedingsrnas a contribution to a “more inclusive”rncurriculum. This sentimentrnwasn’t shared by one conference attendee,rnwho may file sexual assaultrncharges against Shelly Mars, a performancernartist featured in the program.rnAccording to local resident and RomanrnCatholic activist Peter Shipley, Mars attemptedrnto straddle him in his seat duringrnher performance, but bumpedrnagainst a ballpoint pen in his hand.rnFalling to the floor, she recovered andrnlunged towards his crotch. At that point,rnhe explains, “my pen went into her nostril,rnand she fell back on the floor andrnsaid, Tm bleeding!’ Then she got uprnand took her pants and blouse off.”rnCaught with their pants down, organizersrnof the SUNY conference trot outrnJohn Stuart Mill to justift’ the program.rnMill is a peculiar ally for SUNY to champion,rnas he opposed government schoolsrnin principle: “That the whole or anyrnlarge part of the education of the peoplernshould be in State hands, I go as far asrnany one in deprecahng.” Still, a deeperrnlesson is emerging, one which transcendsrnthe source of funding: Socieh’rncannot afford at any price the sexualrnescapism which is the favorite pastimernof tire intellectual class. Bondage andrnleather whips may pose as “victimless”rncrimes, but reality has a strange way of assertingrnitself over illusion.rnIn contrast to the sexual utopianismrnpreached on college campuses, most ofrnAmerica continues to regard bizarre sexualrnpractices with disdain. Commonrnfolk possess what University of Chicagornethieist Leon Kass describes as “the wisdomrnof repugnance.” Wliile not constitutingrnan “argument,” Kass writes thatrn”in crucial cases, however, repugnancernis the emotional expression of deep wisdom,rnbeyond reason’s power fully to articulaternit.” Profoundly irrational andrndisordered acts ought to occasion revulsionrnin observers. It takes a hardness ofrnheart, a practiced indifference, to reactrnotherwise. But instead of aspiring to thernexamined life, most universities succeedrnin numbing the moral sense.rnIf there is to be social renewal inrnAmerica, we may need less tolerancernand more reliance on the wisdom of repugnance.rnOf course, no one is entirelyrnimmune from flie costs of sexual liberation.rnIndiana elected Dan Coats, a principalrnsponsor of last year’s Defense ofrnMarriage Act, to the Senate, yet it is secondrnonly to Nevada in its divorce rate.rnSuch paradoxes are to be found in an imperfectrnworld. It is the intellectual classrnwhich promised Utopia but unleashedrnthe ugliness of modernit)-; common peoplernunderstand that life is bittersweet.rnThe mother of another lU student,rnwhen told about “Bondage Boy” and thernS&M panel, put it best. “Now I have tornpray every day and hope my son continuesrnto make good decisions, and that hisrnbad choices don’t alter his life permanenriy.”rnWe all must hope the same forrnour children, and for our country.rnMorgan N. Knull in a Weaver Fellowrnwith the intercollegiate Studies Instituternand a graduate student at LouisianarnState University.rn46/CHRONICLESrnrnrn