The real villain in PowerPoint sex-rating 'scandal'

Duke graduate creates a PowerPoint in which she rates her sexual experiences with various men. It goes viral and some students criticize her actions. Who's to blame?

It's all over the Internet.

That's the phrase that is increasingly being used to describe when a matter has become one of importance.

This week, the matter of importance concerns a Duke University graduate who decided to create a compendium of her sexual experiences with various men while at Duke.

Who knows why she decided to do it in PowerPoint? Perhaps she thought that one day she might present it to a symposium of intellectuals. It was, indeed, entitled: "An Education Beyond the Classroom: Excelling in the Realm of Horizontal Academics."

Within it, she described her diverse sexual exploits with these 13 men as "data collection." Though they were all athletes, she claims, some were better versed at reclining athleticism than others.

In the spirit of sharing, she sent her PowerPoint to precisely three friends, according to Jezebel, which managed to interview her. This interview happened because Jezebel happened upon this PowerPoint. How? Well, you know, it went, oh, yes, all over the Internet.

Some might enjoy one deeply romantic line she claims came her way from one of her suitors: "If you beat me at Mario Kart Wii, I might let you make out with me." Yes, your average Duke male athlete is even more full of himself than the average Duke basketball player.

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However, now that this PowerPoint is public, many have come forward to declare the usual truth about nothing being safe on the Web, about how its very presence means that anything placed there will inevitably have at least the opportunity to become a viral fascination.

Some have suggested that the Duke grad did a terrible thing by creating this document to loves gone by. In the Duke Chronicle, for example, a writer takes issue with the idea that her act was somehow liberating.

"Why should we congratulate (her) for subjecting men to the objectification, embarrassment, and harassment that women have fought against for years?" writes Alyssa Granacki.

While admiring the PowerPoint author's ability to attract men of the highest quality, Grancki added: "The public nature of the PowerPoint, and even its existence, demonstrates a lack of respect for both men and women."

How odd that such feelings could be expressed just as we watch "The Social Network," in which a purportedly fictional Mark Zuckerberg creates a site to rate women with the express purpose of it being seen by as many people as possible.

To criticize the PowerPoint author for creating what is, at moments, a very funny expose (if slightly NSFW), seems very strange. To criticize the mere existence of the Web, too, seems rather odd.

Surely pointed fingers and criticism might, instead, be directed to those three friends. One or more of them apparently couldn't help but ignore the obviously sensitive nature of this fine scholarly document and passed it on like a semi-nude picture of a vampire movie actor.

The sudden virality and the sudden necessity for the woman to, reportedly, shut down her social Web presence entirely seems a considerable fee for her work of personal (as opposed to public) art.

Yet all the critics of the Web's supposedly deleterious qualities might look upon escapade and wonder whether the Duke grad wasn't let down by herself (though Jezebel says she now regrets everything), nor by the Web.

The woman's tale offers one truth, a truth that Julius Caesar might have offered her, even though he was never able to IM: you can very rarely trust your friends.

 

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