Monday, January 14, 2013

UNCW professor's previous publications attracting attention.

UNCW recently hired an English professor whose previous publications are worrying some parents. Students say although some of the poems are shocking, they do not have a problem with the professor's risque work, and the university agrees.

Dr. Alex Porco teaches literature and poetry at UNCW. But poetry, papers and articles Porco has published sometimes focus on explicit themes. They have some people upset and questioning his qualifications.

"It's definitely sexual, and I feel like there might be a deeper meaning, but it's kind of lost on me," CFCC student Derrick Fowler said.

Porco wrote a book of poetry dedicated to pornstar Jill Kelly. In a poem entitled "Hot Girl-Girl Action University President Jill Kelly Welcomes This Year's Freshman Class," Porco refers to sex with freshmen students.




MORE.

25 comments:

  1. Have the parents shot.

    Have Derrick Fowler shot.

    Shoot the Dean.

    Shoot the Knesset over the Moon.

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  2. Maybe he's married to a Dean there.

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  3. "'...I feel like there might be a deeper meaning, but it's kind of lost on me,' CFCC student Derrick Fowler said."

    For my English-teaching CM colleagues, I'm guessing this is a somewhat universal statement, right? He could be studying the Cat in the Hat.

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    1. OK, now that I've read the rest of the article, I have two other comments.

      "We went on campus at UNCW Tuesday, but students we spoke with did not want to talk about a professor and pornography."

      No shit. Getting students think about their professors involved in hot monkey love might be the best birth control around.

      On a more serious note, I'm very pleased with the school's response.

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    2. I hate snivelers, whiners, and the easily offended. So it's better for them and me that they die bloodily.

      OR LEARN TO SHUT THE F#@K UP, and SNIVEL into their diaries, blogs, and recording devices.

      THEIR CHOICE.

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    3. And I'm not supporting the prof's crud poetry.

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. And this...

    We gulp, we plug, we jack & strap
    Yo ho! A gang-bang on the seas

    I'll drinkum your jizzum like milkum

    Scuttle me buttle
    Piddle me paddle
    Tickle my piggle
    Twattle my twiddle

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  6. I think his poetry is juvenile at best, but what do I know? I think it's interesting to imagine how my college would react if I had some sexual material attached to my name on the interwebz. I think they'd encourage me to work at the mall or ice rink instead; I really do.

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  7. The reporter couldn't even find anyone from the professor's campus to quote for the story, finding only a student at a nearby community college. Manufactured controversy.

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    1. Yep. If there's no actual outrage about something, we'd better make it up.

      Note, also, that the story says that Porco's publications "are worrying some parents." No more detail than that. No interviews; no parents named; no evidence at all for the assertion. Classic weasel phrasing, often used by "journalists" in the absence of factual information.

      Delete
  8. Dr. Porco writes dirty poetry about porn stars. CM needs new correspondents.

    I see a match made in heaven.

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  9. Who would say No to a gang-bang?
    Who would say No to Prof. Poon-Tang?
    Who would say No to my scholarly toungin’?
    Thank you fathers for your daughters.

    Let me iterate, we need you here ASAP! I think that moniker is also available.

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  10. Alex Porco has clearly written his own reviews on RMP.

    Other than that, I'm going to be the voice of dissent and say that hiring him was a uniquely bad idea, and that it shows a total lack of regard for especially his potential female students.

    The response of the university is asinine. The first amendment certainly protects his right to write such poetry, but it does not protect his right to be hired or keep his job while doing so. It protects his right to do so without government interference, or being arrested or jailed. He doesn't have a right to a job, especially a job dealing with young females. Lots of people seem to think that the first amendment should keep them free of any consequences of their "right to free speech". No. What it means is you have the right to say what you like without government interference. You can lose your family or your job or your friends or your social position. It's just the government that doesn't get to interfere.

    Plus, his poetry is awful.

    Who hired this guy? Bad decision.



    His poems are not "external to his employment" as he was hired precisely because of his education and publications.

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    1. I completely agree- putting sexual harassment in poetical form doesn't mitigate the harassment. Reading through some of his poetry makes me wonder who was passed over if he was the person hired.

      I certainly understand writing your own RMP reviews, but who makes it so obvious -- and why would you say you're easy? I always go for some flavor of "he's difficult, but fair and I learned a lot."

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    2. The numbers say he's "easy", which appeals to students, but the comments both say or suggest that you have to do your reading, and that the subject material is hard. So, he's hitting both bases. No student rates a professor is "easy" and then happily writes that you need to keep up with the reading. And rates the professor a "5".

      Porco was in his first semester this past fall as well. Students don't write good reviews until after their grades are in. He didn't pass out grades until December, and both these reviews were written a week apart in October.

      Each review is also identical with regard to the numerical ratings for each category.


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    3. "...putting sexual harassment in poetical form doesn't mitigate the harassment."

      Are you kidding? Whatever else it might be — bad taste; juvenile prurience; mediocre literature — a sexually-themed poem does not constitute sexual harassment. Saying that it does effectively renders the term meaningless, and degrades the experiences of people who have suffered actual sexual harassment in their lives, their college careers, or their employment.

      This guy's poetry looks pretty crappy to me, and I'm certainly not interested in reading any more of it than I already have. But I also don't understand how you can argue, based on the limited information we have, that he's unfit to be a college instructor. The guy has a Ph.D. from a respected university, he has passed through the application and vetting process, beating out probably at least 100 other candidates, and he has taught courses on "Restoration and 18th Century Literature," "Studies in Poetry: Lyric Poetry," and "American and British Poetry 1900-1945."

      If he has done all of that competently, and has not behaved inappropriately towards his students, then give the guy goddamn break.

      And Stella, a public university is part of the government, for the purposes of first amendment issues. Public universities have a responsibility to respect the free speech rights of students and faculty, and not to make capricious rulings against them based on incidences of expression that do not affect their ability to do their job.

      While you're right that he was hired, at least in part, based on his publications, you have no way of knowing what weight these particular poems had in the decision, and you also have no way of knowing that his poems make him an unfit professor. By your logic, Bret Easton Ellis (jackass that he is) would make an unfit English instructor because he has included violent and pornographic imagery in his work. That is a profoundly anti-intellectual path to tread.

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    4. And Stella, a public university is part of the government, for the purposes of first amendment issues.

      Sez who? The university is, first of all, a state university that is supported by the federal government. And they haven't arrested him or jailed him. The key parts of the first amendment in this insance are: Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press

      Congress hasn't abridged his freedom of speech. Congress hasn't told him he can't publish anything he likes, and he has.

      Public universities have a responsibility to respect the free speech rights of students and faculty, and not to make capricious rulings against them based on incidences of expression that do not affect their ability to do their job.

      The key there is "based on incidents of expression that do not affect their ability to do their job."

      What if this white guy were found to have written panagerics to the segregated south, and idealized slaveowners as heroes? Would that not impact his ability to teach his students?

      While you're right that he was hired, at least in part, based on his publications, you have no way of knowing what weight these particular poems had in the decision, and you also have no way of knowing that his poems make him an unfit professor.

      Yeah, I do. Because no female student (and many of the males) are going to be comfortable in this person's presence if they find this guy's poems. These aren't poems about sex. They're poems idealizing pornography and porn stars, and all sorts of things that the author wishes to do to them. And yes, it's him, not some persona he's invented. He admits as much in an interview (found here):

      http://www.ecwpress.com/review/popmatters-reviews-jill-kelly-poems-and-interviews-alessandro-porco

      Of course, ideally I'd like to have sex with porn-stars on a regular basis too -- but just because I wish it so doesn't mean it will be! So my ideals can take a seat in line alongside everything and everyone else, kick back, and enjoy a brew and/or the view...

      Yeah, this guy is never getting a job on my campus.

      By your logic, Bret Easton Ellis (jackass that he is) would make an unfit English instructor because he has included violent and pornographic imagery in his work. That is a profoundly anti-intellectual path to tread.

      It's not anti-intellectual to care about the way my young female students are going to react to a male teacher that has unabashedly written what amounts to love letters to a porn star.

      Because those same young women are going to wonder if he's going to start fetishizing them.

      I have to wonder what was going on during the hiring process for this guy.

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    5. Your position is depressingly anti-intellectual and narrow-minded.

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    6. And if this guy's poetry was racist, and offensve to African-Americans, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

      Delete
  11. forcing a student to come to your office and read explicit sexual poems could easily be embarrassment. Having a class as a whole read sexual poems as part of a class, probably not... It depends on the circumstances/setting.

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  12. Writing sexually-themed poetry doesn't seem like a reason not to hire someone (what did the job ad say?)
    Writing bad poetry, however ...

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