Duke University Thesis Horizontal

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With a social scene dominated by fraternities and sororities (a way of life consisting of ardent partying and hooking up, offset by spurts of busywork composing angry letters to campus newspapers and taking online alcohol-education classes), with its large share of rich students displaying their money in the form of expensive cars and clothing, and with an attitude toward campus athletics that is at once deeply southern (this is a part of the world where even high-school athletes can be treated with awestruck deference by adults) and profoundly anti-intellectual, it’s a university whose thoughtful students are overshadowed by its voraciously self-centered ones.

It was from both within this world and outside it that Karen Owen emanated.

While I think, on one hand, it's nice [that] girls are catching up to boys and I support that, the fact it is happening indiscriminately -- she blacks out at one point -- that worries me because that happens more than not, and why aren't we addressing underlying issues." Gardere did disagree with Hartstein on one point. Now that women are being acknowledged being equal members of society, 'Women, please don't repeat the same stupid mistakes that men have made when it comes to sexual intimacy.'" Hartstein responded, "I think what is empowering to women [is] they can be as assertive and aggressive in wanting to have sex.

I think that, in part, women really were kind of taught to sit back and let men take charge.

But the 42 slides of Owen’s report on her “horizontal academics” are so dense with narrative detail, bits of dialogue, descriptions of people and places, and reproduced text-message conversations that they are a chore to read.

It’s as though two impulses are at war with one another: the desire to recount her sexual experiences in a hyper-masculine way—marked by locker-room crudeness and Power Point efficiency—fighting against the womanly desire to luxuriate in the story of it all.For you to even share it with three other people, I think, is really wrong."Hartstein said this instance is addressing a larger issue at colleges."There is this excessive everything - excessive drinking, excessive sex, there's excessive, you know, discussion. Certainly guys have been doing this in college a long time, they brag about their exploits, and so on, and that was plain wrong."It would start with breast and butt and maybe eyes," says Kerner, and go straight downhill from there. A recent Duke University graduate has a lot of explaining to do, after what began as a private joke is spinning out of control since her 42-page sex diary went viral on the Internet.It lured academic luminaries—many of them longer on star power than on intellectual substance—built a fearsome sports program, and turned its admissions department into the collegiate version of a head-hunting firm.(I was a college counselor at a prep school in the ’90s, and the zeal with which Duke gunned for our top students was unseemly.) In some respects Duke has never moved on from the values of the 1980s, when droves of ambitious college students felt no moral ambivalence about preparing themselves for a life centered largely on the getting and spending of money.Jeff Gardere, a psychologist, offered their opinions on the situation.Hartstein said, "We've heard stuff like this from men a long time - the frat chats, they talk to each other behind closed doors - but the point she didn't think about, what I'm struck with, this young woman grew up in a digital era and broadcast this in such a brazen way.Then again, says Kerner, Owen deserves some credit for including emotional and intellectual attributes in her ranking system.A similar ranking system developed by a man might not include humor or intelligence, he says.


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