I've been spending a fair bit of time poking around Wordpress. I scan certain topics that interest me (i.e. Los Angeles or Travel) and read strangers blogs. There are loads of great blogs out there and I've virtually met many interesting people doing interesting things. It's a bit of armchair traveling and it's given me ideas for my own blog.
Yesterday evening, I was on Wordpress and I came across a post that stopped me in my tracks. it was oddly tagged under music, although the association was loose. The post was regarding a professor that I had many years ago at Pasadena City College, Hugo Schwyzer.
The post was hateful towards Schwyzer and it prompted me to investigate further. I ended up spending several hours on the internet completely intrigued and baffled by the downfall of a professor for whom I had so much admiration.
Here is the quick version from what I can glean from various blogs, including Schwyzer's personal blog...
Schwyzer, a History and Humanities professor, has also made a secondary career from writing about and giving speaking engagements regarding feminism. He has strong opinions and is very outspoken, which has earned him a mixed following.
A few years ago, he decided to write a very personal post regarding his drug addictions and specifically a night in 2008 when he tried to commit suicide, taking along with him his girlfriend who was unconscious due to a drug overdose. It was a botched attempt and they were both saved.
People following his blog turned on him for this post, calling him a woman-killer and questioning his right to be a voice for feminism. That being said, Schwyzer being male and Christian, was called out far before he made this confession.
After his suicide confession, Schwyzer spent a few years trying to maintain his online presence, but he has faced a lot of opposition including death threats. It has come out that he had multiple affairs with students and has had a mental collapse. What I discovered via Wordpress was a post expressing joy over Schwyzer's decision to take a break from blogging and social media. This response from his opposition is all over the internet.
Here is Schwyzer's Blog Site, take a look.
I don't even know what to think about all of this. It just sounds crazy.
I took three of his classes in the early 2000's and he was a great professor. Really, he was one of the best professors that I have ever had at any college, not just Pasadena. He gave dynamic lectures, provided challenging coursework and seemed to genuinely care about his students. I never once witnessed any inappropriate behavior from him and he was never even so much as late to a class. Professional all the way. I very much looked forward to his classes.
He definitely never shied away from controversy. I took his first ever semester of course on Gay and Lesbian History. People didn't like him teaching it and students were afraid to have the course title on their transcript. You know what? It was a great class. I learned so much that was never taught in any other History course and am a better person from having taken the class.
I read that recently he started a class on the History of Pornography. While I am not at all a prude, I can imagine why this class didn't go over so well with a lot of people and added to his recent notoriety.
He likes to push limits.
I believe what I am reading, especially since he confirms it. However, it's hard to have my image of a favorite professor mesh with this new information regarding his personal life. Mostly, it sounds like he has some major mental issues and needs to step back from it all and get some help. It seems that a lot of his critics are citing his online confessions as a form of vanity or ploy for attention, but as I'm new to all of this, I feel like it's a sick man struggling. He seems lost and unsure of his next move.
Mostly, I feel saddened my this news.