UK university investigating after PhD student published paper about his own masturbation habits

Source: Hot Air

If you think the headline sounds bad I have to warn you it gets worse. Manchester University is now investigating after one of it’s PhD students published an academic paper about his own masturbation to Japanese “shota” comics. What are “shota” comics, you ask? They are a form of underground Manga featuring young boys engaged in explicit sex acts.

Karl Andersson spent three months recording his thoughts and feelings while masturbating over images of young boys in Japanese comic books.

In the abstract for the paper, Andersson, who is interviewing fans of shota comics for his PhD, said he wanted to “understand how [they] experience sexual pleasure when reading shota”.

His 4,000-word study, which details his sexual habits and sexual encounters between boys in the comics, was published in the journal Qualitative Research in April…
Dr Mara Keire, a historian at Oxford University who writes about sexual violence, expressed her shock at the research paper, tweeting: “How was a description of the author masturbating to the images of young boys peer reviewed and published?”…

A University of Manchester spokesperson said: “The recent publication in Qualitative Research of the work of a student, now registered for a PhD, has raised significant concerns and complaints which we are taking very seriously. We are currently undertaking a detailed investigation into all aspects of their work, the processes around it and other questions raised. It is very important that we look at the issues in-depth.”

Reading the Guardian story about this, you might get the impression that everyone was shocked by this and immediately called it into question. But that’s not actually what happened. In fact, when a conservative Member of Parliament highlighted the “research” on Twitter he was jumped on by a number of people.

At his Substack site, author Stuart Ritchie saw the tweet and clicked the link to read the paper. He found the details of it were much worse than the tweet described.

It’s quite difficult to choose which parts of the paper to quote; I actually recommend you read the whole thing (it’s not long), just to see how unbelievably weird “autoethnography” research—studies where the researcher describes their own personal experience and tries to draw some wider lessons for society—can get. But here’s one quotation (note the “very young”):

The examples above, with stories from a past childhood, were believable to me, as in ‘that could have happened’… But more often, very young boy characters would greedily jump over the first cock that presented itself. That too worked for me, but it was different. If the boyhood stories enhanced a sexual curiosity that was there from the start in the typical pubescent boy that the characters were modelled on, these other stories pasted an overly virile sexuality onto characters that would not be sexual to start with (or at least not that sexual, or in that way).

It gets worse but I’ll spare you. Suffice it to say, MP Neil O’Brien was probably underselling just how off-putting this “research” was. Nevertheless, a number of other academics quickly jumped in to defend the study. Most of those tweets have since been deleted (you can visit Substack to see screengrabs of them) but here’s one that’s still up.

here’s Prof. Danny Blanchflower, Professor of Economics at Dartmouth:

Ritchie concludes, “This extreme paper was an opportunity for everyone to say ‘okay, can we do anything to raise standards in qualitative research?’. Instead, they went with their basest political instinct and defended it – without having even read the first sentence of the Abstract.”

So even something this extreme couldn’t convince academics to overcome their knee-jerk instincts that anything said by a conservative is wrong. I think we’ve seen quite a lot of that here in the US this year. No matter how many examples Christopher Rufo or Libs of Tik Tok manage to turn up of corporations or public school teachers backing fringe, woke ideology, there is a group of academics and leftists who prepared to excuse it on the grounds that the right is always wrong.

Finally, a PhD student at Oxford put together a short thread on Karl Andersson’s history which seems relevant.

And finally: