Have you heard my rape joke?

A Colorado University sophomore keeps the ACLU in business.

Topics: Education, Broadsheet, ACLU, Violence Against Women, First Amendment, Love and Sex,

The University of Colorado at Boulder has announced it will take no disciplinary action against sophomore Max Karson, whose self-published newsletter caused uproar among women’s groups with prose such as:

“Women generally prefer that you jam your penis into their vaginas as quickly as possible during sex, ideally before it is wet at all, so they can really feel it. They will express their appreciation for this by saying, ‘ow.’”

Karson, naturally, claimed the whole thing was a joke — a joke and a lesson, in fact. He publishes “The Yeti” to shine a light on the very issues “people should be talking about but aren’t talking about.”

“I wanted to bring it out to light,” he said, “to show how ridiculous it was that women are treated this way.”

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Funnily enough, this turns out to be familiar territory for Karson, who’s either a Borat-like genius or, well, not. In 2002 the then-high school senior was suspended several times for his previous publication, “The Crux.” In what English professors might call a leitmotif, “The Crux” also explored Karson’s thoughts about sex — principally masturbation. “Racist and deeply disturbing,” is how one parent described it at the time. The ACLU stepped in and the suspensions were overturned.

The university never quite threatened action for this latest obscenity. Still, vice chancellor for student affairs Ron Stump told the Boulder Daily Camera the school had been considering whether Karson was in violation of any code of conduct. Before long, the ACLU intervened again.

“The ACLU is aware of no lawful limits that a public university may place upon the content of a self-published student newsletter such as Mr. Karson’s,” Judd Golden, chairman of the group’s Boulder County chapter, wrote in a letter to the university. The university’s response, he said, should be to “encourage more speech, not threaten legal action.”

The literary community appears to be awaiting Karson’s next project with quiet enthusiasm.

Chris Colin is the author most recently of "Blindsight," published by the Atavist.

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