Sex: sacred anywhere?
November 26, 2002 8:43 AM   Subscribe

Caley Meals, is a sex columnist. What seperates her from the crowd of them, is that she is published in a college school newspaper. Jokingly, in her first column she states that, "I will try to keep the students of Madison with their heads in the right place: the gutter." She then goes on to cover imortant topics such as, how to work the college sex life around a roomie, the drunken bootie call, fornication with food, female domination and many others. Is it real journalism or only riding on pure shock value? "Writing about sex is about as interesting as talking about sex, which is to say it's not interesting at all compared to the real thing. But at least it can be a little naughty."
posted by Recockulous (38 comments total)

Not to be rude, but this thread is pretty behind the curve. It's been, what, a year since college sex columnists became a hot thing on campus? And while I can't find the link, I know this topic has been discussed before, in regards to the Candace Bushnell-inspired sex columnist at Yale.
posted by risenc at 8:53 AM on November 26, 2002

Columnists are not journalists. They aren't reporting news, they're sharing opinion which may or may not be supported by facts. Ms. Meals is no more a journalist than Miss Manners.
posted by me3dia at 8:54 AM on November 26, 2002

Reading these columns I'm wondering if this girl has ever actually had sex.
posted by bondcliff at 8:59 AM on November 26, 2002

Well, good for her. Nothing's more beneficial to young college students, many of whom are just starting to get involved in an active sex life, than an alleged voice of support and advice about such a topic that doesn't take them seriously. That's sure to give them a good outlook and responsible awareness about their own future sex lives, especially when their desire to read sex columns obviously highlights their own concerns about it.

I am in no way opposed to any columnist saying the blatantly obvious: that people, kids included, want to have lots of sex. But this should be labelled a humor column, not a sex column, and it makes me glad that here at NYU we actually have a legitimate sex columnist who takes her own job (and student questions) seriously.

Our columnist has a master's in human sexuality and actually handles legitimate problems with respect; this girl Caley Meals is some lame college paper writer who thinks she's on Sex and the City. I've seen high school newspaper horoscopes written by the head of the cheerleading squad because the editor has a crush on her with more credibility than this. Her first column reads like an episode of Loveline if they decided to just fire Dr. Drew and let Adam Corolla run the whole show.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:03 AM on November 26, 2002

Risenc, the columnist at Yale is named Natalie Krinsky. Her work can be found at the Yale Daily News web site. She style's herself more after Carrie Bradshaw than Candace Bushnell.
posted by pjgulliver at 9:03 AM on November 26, 2002

Sex columns can be pretty fun--when done well--and usually make good use of a little shock value.

Anka Lube: "Coming soon, 50 gallon drum rave size (with self-tapping pump.)" I love Anka.
posted by Shane at 9:04 AM on November 26, 2002

you cannot judge a phenomenon as "real journalism" or a jones for shock value. you can only judge a person by what he or she writes. perhaps the topics seem foolish to you, yet they are of interest to readers if not something that most college students must deal with in their own lives. isn't it the job of a newspaper to satisfy the interest of their readers, and isn't it particularly the job of an op-ed columnist such as krinsky to do so?


Columnists are not journalists. They aren't reporting news, they're sharing opinion which may or may not be supported by facts.

i don't believe that journalists are only allowed to report on current events, if that is how you define "news." i consider news to be something of interest to a person and something that they have not read before. columnists are journalists in my opinion (for if a columnist could not satisfy the above requirements, i don't think a columnist would have a job for long).
posted by moz at 9:05 AM on November 26, 2002

Columnists are not journalists. They aren't reporting news...

Let's not forget that many columnists would be insulted to be called "journalists"...
posted by Shane at 9:07 AM on November 26, 2002

I think sex columnists are almost always lame. Sure, I get that people are loosening up these days and trying "new, adventurous things" but can't they do some research on their own and not beg for the attention they're so obviously craving by writing into these columns?

This is why I stopped reading the campus papers in Madison six years ago - in fact, the journalism in this jerkwater burg sucks clear across the board.
posted by rocketman at 9:10 AM on November 26, 2002

Recent USA Today story
posted by matteo at 9:15 AM on November 26, 2002

do you think Caley Meals is her real name? kinda sounds like a BBW pron star name to me.
posted by danOstuporStar at 9:15 AM on November 26, 2002

pjgulliver: Color me ignorant, but I didn't realize there was much of a difference.
posted by risenc at 9:24 AM on November 26, 2002

News - Journalism

By definition journalism is presenting the news with little attempt at analysis or interpretation thus a column writer, who's job is to analyze and interpret items of current interest to the readers (such as sex) would not by definition be journalists.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:28 AM on November 26, 2002

i don't believe that journalists are only allowed to report on current events

That's not what I said at all. "Opinion which may or may not be supported by facts" doesn't have to mean current events -- it could be anything from the columnist's belief that the South should have won the Civil War to the joys of furry sex. Either of those topics could be supported by facts but still be based in opinion; it's the opinion that makes it a column and not a news article.

i consider news to be something of interest to a person and something that they have not read before.

I think your definition of news is too broad, or maybe just too vague. Something may be news whether it's of interest to you or not. The more accepted concept of news would be more along the lines of "information on current events or new information about past events, presented in an objective manner." The difference between journalism and columny is the insertion of opinion -- a journalist would report on a new theory stating that the South should have won, while a columnist would give arguments for or against the theory.
posted by me3dia at 9:28 AM on November 26, 2002

...or, what Pollomacho said.
posted by me3dia at 9:29 AM on November 26, 2002

I know I'd rather read about sex than keep reading about how all the 'peaceful' Muslims want to kill everyone.
posted by eas98 at 9:33 AM on November 26, 2002

That's why most newspapers have the front pages and all that other fluffy stuff in the back sections B-Z, eas98! Even if the "style" or "sports" sections get too informative for you, theres always the comics (try to steer clear of the topical humor).
posted by Pollomacho at 9:40 AM on November 26, 2002

Megan Bainum is the University of Kansas's sex columnist. She's a pretty crappy writer, if you ask me. But because sex columnists are apparently still somewhat of a novelty, she got to pose in Playboy recently along with a couple other psuedo-journalists.
posted by katieinshoes at 9:44 AM on November 26, 2002

Gosh, eas98, that was a story that was both relevant to the discussion and actually necessary to link to in this thread.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:45 AM on November 26, 2002

I suppose that link can be a represention of the way controversy is handled in Nigeria, as opposed to the 10s of articles about sex columnist that will not result in riot.
posted by Recockulous at 9:50 AM on November 26, 2002

uh hem...representation
posted by Recockulous at 9:52 AM on November 26, 2002

Ummm, risenc, you're right. I was thinking Candice Bergen but we were talking about Candace Bushnell. I was thinking "why is this guy comparing a sex columnist to Murphy Brown?"
posted by pjgulliver at 9:55 AM on November 26, 2002

Ya know, I like sex as much as anyone possibly could. But some people seem to have it on the brain like 24/7, even getting paid to think about it.

People like that worry me a bit. I wanna make 'em go play checkers for a while or something, but they'd probably turn it into a strip game or something.
posted by jonmc at 9:58 AM on November 26, 2002

I read the columns but I gotta say I think they are boring. Not shocking, not titilating, decent even. If you are going to write about sex why not make it dirty and fun? I mean girls on top or calling someone up at 2am for a fuck is not news to me. I want to read about how to organize gangbangs and stuff.
posted by dydecker at 10:07 AM on November 26, 2002

Sex is the only activity that allows us an erotic escape from reality.

Oh, this is insightful stuff.
posted by toothgnip at 10:33 AM on November 26, 2002

Is there a particular reason they all seem to be women? Is it still bad taste for a man to write about anal sex but ok for a woman? Or does this go back to the whole "all sex is rape" thing so you have to have a woman to balance that?
posted by Ynoxas at 10:44 AM on November 26, 2002

Or do men have hobbies?
posted by Grangousier at 10:57 AM on November 26, 2002

Is it still bad taste for a man to write about anal sex but ok for a woman?

Lisa Palac's (she's NOT a college newspaper writer) entertaining take on the subject:
The last sexual frontier isn't some intergalactic tactile data fu**: it's your ass.

(Ubiquitous Disclaimor: Contains sexually explicit words. This coffee is hot, the way most people expect it. Don't freak out and go apeshit. And if you do, don't sue me or, worse, drag me to Meta Talk.)
posted by Shane at 11:04 AM on November 26, 2002

The last sexual frontier... it's your ass


Just beware of the Klingons near Uranus.
posted by jonmc at 11:34 AM on November 26, 2002

Ynoxas, I apologize for the sexist way I'm going to sound here, because I'm really not trying to be, but I think it reflects on a lot of our previous comments: because 90% of the time the girls are pulling their "advice" out of their ass. American society the way it is, how often do you hear about a guy asking his male co-workers or buddies advice about sex, or shopping together and discussing what undergarments they think they look sexy in? If stuff like that is discussed, it's done in a manner of sarcasm or humor, not legitimate inquiry.

Men typically don't want to exchange worries and fears about their sexual needs... they want to brag. They have their own version of a print forum where they can fabricate experience as a justification for talking about their opinions on sex- it's called the Penthouse Letters section. It has just as much credibility and legitimacy as most of these college students pretending they know everything they claim to know about sex.

These columns are reflecting the sexual contrast in conversational methods. Because a large quantity of these columnists have no idea what they're talking about, that large majority is just your female friend who like to give her support and opinionated advice... she just has print space, nothing more, nothing less.

"Professionally," there do exist male sex advice columnists. I can name two off the top of my head: Dr. Drew as I mentioned before (who writes a column and website as well as the Loveline radio show) and Dan Savage who'll you'll find on the Onion's website.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:38 AM on November 26, 2002

Dating and drinking have really gone down since The Hotel Washington burned to the ground in Madison. Since then, anything a sex columnist has to say in the Badger Herald is merely a pale memory of a better time. *sigh*
posted by thanotopsis at 11:51 AM on November 26, 2002

From this article: Why not jump out of bed and burst into a rousing version of "Nothing But Mammals" by the Bloodhound Gang to break up the steamy couple's antics?

For the record, the song is "The Bad Touch". Dumbass.
posted by dr_dank at 11:58 AM on November 26, 2002

Sex columnists? We had one at the student newspaper of the University of Missouri in 1988. There was very frank talk about sex and sexuality. And many letters from Christian bigots. There is nothing is new under the sun.
posted by Mo Nickels at 12:35 PM on November 26, 2002

To riff on what XQUZYPHYR said - As most anyone at a magazine like Cosmo/Elle/whatever will tell you, almost all the "girls on the street" articles in which supposedly real women talk about things like what drives their men crazy in bed are completely fabricated (same goes, I assume, for similar articles in Maxim).

To be perfectly frank, I'm pretty happy with my love life, but all these ill-informed, foaming-at-the-mouth-with-frustration columns make me think that too many young people in this country are having some pretty crappy sex, and pretty inconsitent crappy sex at that.
posted by risenc at 12:36 PM on November 26, 2002

Glenn Reynolds spent much of the last year pointing out Cal Daily sex columnist Rachael Klein, partly as a way of ribbing Salon about their "sex column with no sex in it", but semi-seriously as well, saying she was good enough to be a pro. Um, columnist, that is. She's since been replaced with Teresa Chin. (I haven't really read either, I'm just passing this on.)

And I don't think there's any doubt that this is a form of journalism. It's not reporting, that's for sure, but don't get your panties all twisted up over the J word. I mean, Bob Greene counts (or did). Sheesh.

Also, when listing male sex columnists, don't forget the Playboy Advisor.
posted by dhartung at 12:43 PM on November 26, 2002

To add to dhartung - how about Dan Savage? FHM magazine? Men's Health? Stuff? I can go ad nauseam on "guy's" sex advice schlock (no offense to Dan, not nearly as schlocky)
posted by Pollomacho at 1:14 PM on November 26, 2002

roommates & privacy: Does no-one use the towel on the doorknob signal anymore? Those too shy to announce they'd gotten lucky used an elastic band on the doorknob, but that wasn't as reliable depending on the blood alcohol content of your roomie. Wasn't passing on bits of etiquette like this what Dorm advisors were for?
posted by bonehead at 2:46 PM on November 26, 2002

This supposed aphrodisiac is fairly tasty in high amounts, but the old problem remains that you are going to be left with a lot of remains.

Although flavored sauce is easier to control and use sparingly, the fact of the matter is you'll be "hard pressed" to find plastic sheets. And seeing as how that's the only way you can do this without ruining your fine linens...

Good lord, that's poor writing.
posted by hippugeek at 7:45 PM on November 26, 2002

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