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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Navigating Pornography at Pasadena City College: What Higher Education Has Cone To

     In 2013, Dr. Hugo Schwyzer was history and gender studies professor at Pasadena City College (PCC) in Pasadena, California, the nation's third largest community college. The 44-year-old professor had a Ph.D. in church history from UCLA. The so-called "male feminist," offered courses with titles like Men and Masculinity, Navigating Pornography, and Gay and Lesbian American History. (See my blog post: "Ridiculous College Courses: Majoring in Stupid." June 2016.)

     In 2005, the Internet professor review site Rate My Professor named Dr. Schwyzer one of the nation's top 50 "hottest professors." (The sexuality guru has admitted having sexual relations with some of his students. Who says if you can't do, teach.)

     A prolific blogger, Schwyzer in 2006, claiming expertise in "body image, sexuality, and gender justice," wrote that he'd like to open a summer camp for teens and adults where he could teach "fitness, basic life skills, spirituality, the whole thing." (Sign me up for the "whole thing" class.)

     New York Magazine, in 2009, published an article about Professor Schwyzer's decision in 2005, when he was 37, to undergo circumcision. (I wish I had something clever to say here, but got nothing.)

     In a tell-all confessional blog entry published in 2011, Dr. Schwyzer informed his readers (I presume mainly his students) of "a binge episode that ended with my attempt to kill myself and my ex-girlfriend with gas." According to the professor's detailed account of the 1998 incident (which has since been taken off the Internet), his former lover came to him for help after she had been tied and and raped by her drug dealer.

     In Schwyzer's Pasadena apartment, he and the woman took drugs and had "desperately hot, desperately heartbreaking sex." Following the desperate, heartbreaking sex, the professor described what took place when the drunk and drug addled woman passed out: "I looked at her emaciated, broken body that I loved so much. I looked at my own, studying some of my more recent scars. (I'd had a binge of self-mutilation earlier in the week, and had cigarette burns on both arms and my torso.) " [In 1998, Schwyzer was thirty years old. Seven years later, he's talking about teaching summer camp teens life skills? Oh boy.]

     Schwyzer continued: "And then it came to me: I needed to do for her and for myself the one thing I was strong enough still to do. I couldn't save her. I couldn't save me, but I could bring an end to our pain. My poor fragile ex would never have to wake up again, and we could be at peace in the next life. As drunk and high as I was, the thought came with incredible clarity. I remember it perfectly now."

     According to the male feminist's story, he turned on the gas in his oven aimed the toxic flow at his unconscious ex-girlfriend, drank more alcohol, swallowed more pills, then stretched out next to her body expecting to accompany the poor woman into eternity. Because the gas fumes failed to do the job, the ex-girlfriend survived the attempted mercy killing. (I don't know if this really happened, or why the professor was never charged with a crime. I wonder how the ex-girlfriend felt about all of this. One thing was certain, it didn't cost him his teaching position at PCC.)

     One of Dr. Schwyzer's students, in a 2012 Rate My Professor review, wrote: "If you get a chance to take his Navigating Pornography class (he's teaching it in 2013), you must! Hugo doesn't tell you what to think but helps you find yourself. Lectures and discussions handle even touchy subjects like sexuality with comfort and clarity. [Wow, I hope this course is mandatory.] He's a stickler for attendance and grammar, but grades fair. Great guest speakers, too!"

     Another Dr. Schwyzer Rate My Professor reviewer wrote: "....the stories he tell is like incredibly fascinating...." (So much for the grammar requirement.)

     Under the auspices of his spring 2013 class Navigating Pornography, Dr. Schwyzer invited the "award-winning" porn actor, James Deen to speak to PCC students and member of the general public. Deen, a PCC alumnus (who said you couldn't go far with a community college degree) has 1,300 porn flick performances under his belt (sorry) including hits like "Atomic Vixens," and "Batman XXX." Deen's February 26, 2013 appearance at the college would, according to the actor, educate students about human sexuality and portray porn acting as a legitimate profession. (Just because its legal doesn't make it legitimate. Outside of California, very few parents would send out notices to friends and relatives announcing that their daughter had just landed a big role in "Swallow the Leader." Any "profession" you hope your children won't go into is not legitimate.)

     James Deen hoped that his presentation would empower students to make their own decisions. "This is an opportunity for people who want to ask questions and talk openly about sexuality." (Learning sexuality from a person who fornicates publicly for money is like receiving cooking tips from a cannibal.)

     When word got out about Dr. Schwyzer's porn star guest speaker, school administrators (Schwyzer referred to them as "suits"), informed the professor that the presentation would have to be a classroom visit rather than a public speaking event. Schwyzer had failed to obtain a facilities use permit required for on-campus public events.

     In responding to his diminished role as a classroom lecturer, James Deen told reporters that "sex is not a dirty, disgusting thing." [Who said it was?] I feel a little persecuted and singled out." Someone should tell Mr. Deen that thirty years ago, they were throwing people like him into prison. Ask the stars of "Deep Throat."

     On his blog site, the PCC pornography navigator addressed the Deen flap this way: "I am deeply disappointed that all those who were eager to hear James will be unable to do so. I am grateful that my students will still be able to hear him. And I look forward to welcoming other porn performers (and public critics of porn) to my class in the future. I remain proud to teach at Pasadena City College." (I'm sure the feeling was mutual.)

     In September 2013, Dr. Schwyzer's academic career came to an end when he admitted that he had been involved in many sexual affairs with his young female students. Moreover, he had recently been charged with DUI pursuant to a traffic accident that caused the serious injury of his female passenger. At this point, Dr. Schwyzer took the opportunity to reveal that for decades he had suffered from "borderline personality disorder and bipolar depression." He said he had been divorced four times.




  1. I can't enter my comment(s) because all the comments I can think of are really quite filthy and totally unsuitable, and I am shocked, SHOCKED that they came into my clean, pristine, and tidy little old lady mind.

    Where ARE my smelling salts???????