Saturday, February 28, 2004

Legendary Harold Bloom gets accused of harassment

I tend to take sexual harassment seriously regardless of politics (e.g., Bill Clinton and Arnold), so I'm a little less blase than some writers like Caroline Overington have been about Naomi Wolf's allegations of a sexual harassment incident twenty years ago in light of such quotes:
In 1994 The New York Times writer Adam Begley said rumours of Bloom's affairs with Yale students were legion. A friend of Bloom, unnamed, was quoted as saying: "I hate to say it, but he rather bragged about it, so that wasn't very secret for a number of years."

In 1990 writer Martin Kihn interviewed Bloom for GQ magazine. He reported...: "Any honest Yale undergraduate will tell you of Bloom's unusually close friendships with hand-picked proteges."

I think Yale should make a public commitment to review its policies if any recent wrong-doing is found, as Wolf supposedly wants. Anything beyond that on her part is posturing and feminist victimology.

I don't see how one can possibly find abuse in a "he-said, she-said" situation like this beyond Yale's two-year grievance period. FIRE has already shed a hard light on the lack of due process on many campuses, and the muzzling of free speech under the guise of protection against harassment, for instance at Columbia.

Finally, if you write erotic poetry, invite your poetically-spirited professor over for dinner, and get drunk on sherry, I'm not sure that "You have the aura of election upon you" is all that unexpected.

More in the Yale Herald, the Yale Daily News, Slate, the New York Observer, The Scotsman, and the Boston Globe.

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