Karen Owen’s “Fuck List” and the Rutgers Sex Video Suicide: Not So Different

Karen Owen is a recent graduate of Duke. Either they don’t comprehend the nature of the internet at Duke, or are graduating more than their share of cruel, thoughtless, reckless dolts, because Owen decided it would be a hoot to make a faux “senior thesis” Powerpoint presentation documenting her sexual activity with thirteen Duke athletes, none of whom gave consent to be named in her “study”. She classily dubbed it her “fuck list,” but it was unofficially titled “An education beyond the classroom: excelling in the realm of horizontal academics.”  (“Horizontal academics…get it?) Then she e-mailed the file to three “friends,” and, as you’ve probably guessed, one  or more of them sent it around to their friends, who eventually made it viral. Soon two websites decided to maximize the harm to all concerned, as websites are prone to do…especially websites called “Deadspin.” Continue reading

The Right Lesson From The Rutgers Sex Video Suicide

The tragedy can be blamed on moral luck.…bad moral luck. The two Rutgers students who humiliated a classmate by secretly taping a gay sexual encounter between him and another young man and live streaming it onto the internet couldn’t know that their sensitive victim would jump off a bridge to his death in despair. Most students would not react this way. Some might have a breakdown; some might seek revenge. Some might not even care. Raunchy teen hi-jinx gross-out comedies often feature equally awful “jokes” or worse, depicted as just part of the carefree, amoral life among uninhibited youths. This time, however, the prank killed. Everyone will look at students Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei as monsters now, because of the unpredictable result brought about by their cruel violation of a fellow student’s dignity and privacy. Continue reading