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December 14, 2005

More Cameraphone Hijinks

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

A couple of UPenn kids have sex in a dorm up against a window. A passing student takes a digi-photo of the action and posts it on his website.

Punchline: The girl who was in the photo feels upset and runs to the Dean to complain.

Here's a news report, complete with one of the NSFW photos. Happily, FIRE stepped in and the kid who took the photo -- an engineering junior, we learn -- didn't get whacked.

Still: the funny quandaries the new media make possible, eh? 30% of me thinks: Sheesh, imagine having sex all exposed to the public like that, then being so upset that someone took your photo and put it on the web that you go to the Dean to weep and wail. And 10% of me thinks, Well, maybe she wanted her fun to be visible only to passersby and not to the entire world. But most of me thinks: Pretty hot, and pretty funny!

Where do your sympathies in this case lie?



posted by Michael at December 14, 2005


You're in college, where rules of all sorts are generally more relaxed.
You opt for a sexual encounter involving un-curtained plate glass sex.
It's daylight, are readily visible opting for a sexual encounter involving un-curtained splate glass sex in college, wehre rules of all sorts are generally more relaxed.

And you're moanin' 'n groanin' and not about the plate glass sex but about photographs/videos of it?

Perhaps you don't belong in college where it's daylight and you are readily opting....

Three cheers for UPenn of throwing the case out and cheers to Prof. Alen Kors for helping the student out. To the co-ed? There's a great Ikea right down by Penn's Landing and curtains are dirt cheap, unless, of course, you already had them and opted to be daring and in the public.

Posted by: DarkoV on December 14, 2005 8:20 PM

Guess this shows that even a selective university like Penn admits the occasional dumb broad.

Posted by: Peter on December 14, 2005 10:12 PM

60% of me thinks: damn, that girl has a fantastic ass.

30% of me thinks: her face isn't showing, so no biggie, let it be a learning experience for her.

10% of me thinks: if her face was showing, then I probably would want to take action against the student -- having your face showing in a widely circulated photo of something like that could destroy your future.

Also, to you guys above: don't get on the poor girl's case! She went out of her way to give everybody a great show, and this is how you repay her?

Posted by: MQ on December 14, 2005 10:17 PM

Let’s see now. The couple repeats their performance for the benefit of a milling crowd over a few days in front of a big, clear window, and then the woman involved feels “distress” because someone takes a photo in which she is neither named nor identified. I might have suspended her for being too stupid to go to college. Fortunately, all’s well that ends well even though I think that the university’s statement is as dumb as the woman's complaint. The person who posted the photo didn’t do anything wrong in my opinion, especially in these days of photo sites depicting all sorts of voluntary activity. What if a TV news crew had come by and done a feature on the exhibitionist couple?

Posted by: Alec on December 14, 2005 10:39 PM

When not overwhelmed by all the PC news spewing from Dear Old Penn, I have fond memories of the place, but never of that! Times change (as does technology). As for my two cents, that gal and her friend were foolish to be doing what they were doing where they were doing it. They surely knew that they could be seen by, er, naked eye. The photo was another wrinkle, and I think the photographer should have been discrete and left the image off the web. But then I'm an admitted prude where it comes to publicly displaying what is better (or so I think) done in private.

Posted by: Donald Pittenger on December 14, 2005 11:05 PM

Is that another wave?

MQ: are you sure the ass belongs to the girl? Or should I see the eye doctor?

Posted by: Tatyana on December 14, 2005 11:51 PM

hahaha, I was wondering why my site had a slight jump in searches today....

If you'd like, I have the rest of the photos. At one point I had four of them on my page in all of their high resolution glory. Unfortunately I felt some guilt and remorse for doing so (Lord knows how that came about...oh wait). So I took them down. Let me know and I'll be more than happy to send them to you.

Posted by: Alan Dang on December 15, 2005 4:58 AM

Tatyana - I agree, it sure looks like man-ass to me. Run the pair of 'em in for indecent exposure, says I!

When I was in college we had a girl across the courtyard who used to bang away like a Viking every night. She hung a bedsheet over her window, then left the light on behind it. All was plainly visible.

We nicknamed her Galloping Gertie.

The funny part is, when she moved out of the room the school made her pay for the mattress, which they said had been damaged beyond all usefulness. I still remember the exact words the RA used when telling me about the incident: "scratched, torn, and stained". [Shudder.]

I got stuck behind her and her boyfriend in line at the cafeteria once. Yeah, that was real comfortable.

Posted by: Brian on December 15, 2005 6:42 AM

Good God, you have sex in public (which is what the display amounted to) several times and then you're emotionally shattered when those pictures become public? No sympathies for her whatsoever.

Maybe the omnipresence of cameraphones will bring in a new era of decorum as it begins to sink in that your actions can be captured for eternity and broadcast round the world.

Posted by: Rachel on December 15, 2005 9:50 AM

Meanwhile in Canada ...

Posted by: . on December 15, 2005 9:53 AM

Apparently I didn't make good use of MY college days!!

Posted by: masale.wallah on December 15, 2005 10:51 AM

When I was very young, I remember a very flirtatious girl who was a coworker tried to get terribly, terribly indignant with another male coworker for making a suggestive joke in front of her. His response to her was, "There is such a thing as excessive indignation and that is also unprofessional." I thought he had a very good point, given her clear-cut and active solicitation of men thinking of her as "hot."

I think the "excessive indignation" remark applies to this co-ed as well. "Going to the dean" just ensured that many more people saw her activities, which I suspect was the point.

Posted by: annette on December 15, 2005 11:07 AM

I tend to think, "If you choose to do something in public, then you have chosen to give up control over how it's taken, reacted-to, and made-use-of." Put it out there, and accept that much of what happens in response isn't going to please you. That's the price of putting it out there.

At the same time ... The web ... Digital cameras ... The possibility of it being broadcast to the entire world ... I dunno, does that change the equation at all? Probably not. But college kids are going to misbehave -- they should misbehave, and should be cut some slack about it. It's a time in life when you -- at least traditionally -- get a chance to try things out and go to a few extremes, and have fun, etc, without too many real-life consequences.

So maybe we're at a weird transitional moment when we're still getting used to the new capabilities electronics are giving us, and it can be hard to take those into account sometimes?

Maybe if she's gonna have sex in a window she should know better; maybe she's silly to have bawled to the Dean; but maybe it's also understandable that the girl got upset? All of those things together? Like I say, I dunno really.

I wonder if Rachel's hunch is right: that people will get more self-protective and "virtuous" in response to these new capabilities. There's another possibility too, which is that a lot of people may think that trying to keep control is too damn much trouble (and too anti-fun), and just embrace the putting-yourself-on-the-web thing, and let it rip. Maybe I'll misbehave as I see fit, and semi-expect to see it up on the web. Maybe that's a hoot. Maybe it's just a part of life. We're all our very own porn stars.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on December 15, 2005 11:49 AM

The windows of my dormroom in college faced windows of the dormrooms across the way. We were co-ed, and they were all women for the top floors, which were exactly vertical to my floor.

One night, one of the girls had a visitor and left the shade open whilst they went at it. First it was on the floor in full view, but then she stood up, placed her elbows on the windowsill, and so we got to see the expressions on her face throughout.

Eddie Murphy is right; everybody's ugly when they're screwing.

Anyway, I might've allowed that she didn't know she was being seen when she was on the floor, but when she moved to the open window, well, all bets were off then.

Verdict: You do it in front an open window, and you just might become an inadvertent porn star.

I bumped into her at a party later that year - apparently I had memorized her face from the incident. I was kinda smashed at the time and it took all of my will not to say, "Hey, you know, I saw you screwing some guy a couple months ago. You should really close your drapes."

Posted by: Yahmdallah on December 15, 2005 12:48 PM

Michael: "Maybe if she's gonna have sex in a window she should know better; maybe she's silly to have bawled to the Dean; but maybe it's also understandable that the girl got upset? All of those things together? Like I say, I dunno really."

My "indecent exposure" crack (if crack is the word I'm looking for) wasn't entirely in jest.

A few decades ago, we'd have agreed on the right of passers-by to go through life free from unsightly and unwanted man-ass. Today, we ponder the right of the randy to hump in public and not attract prying eyes - or cameraphones.

The starting point seems to have shifted a bit.

Posted by: Brian on December 15, 2005 1:05 PM

Michael- re: Maybe if she's gonna have sex in a window she should know better; maybe she's silly to have bawled to the Dean; but maybe it's also understandable that the girl got upset? All of those things together? Like I say, I dunno really.

I absolutely agree that one should be able able to experiment, to have fun, even to make a fool of oneself in college. I’m not even sure that the woman should have “known better” or should now return to modesty. Had the display been a one-time event, or had there been some evidence that the woman had not intended to show off for a crowd, I would feel more understanding. However, I do not believe that she has the right to claim distress or to attempt to punish someone for her deliberate and persistent public exhibitionism, especially since the web poster showed some discretion in not using shots which identified the woman. I do not like it when people attempt to misuse use rules, policy and laws to cover their asses or to make others suffer for their own lapses of judgment.

Posted by: Alec on December 15, 2005 2:46 PM

It's better that Yahmdallah didn't make his remark out loud at that party....but, on the other hand, I might've paid money to be there and see him actually say it. I'm laughing now thinking about it. I must never have lived on the right dorm floor. Never saw a thing through someone's open window.

Posted by: annette on December 19, 2005 10:06 AM

Digital cameras and the Web have changed everything with regards to this kind of thing. I'm sure they enjoyed the TEMPORARY thrill of public sex and being watched, but did not intend for it to be saved in perpituity. This is a valid stance, although a naive one nowadays. Going forward, people will have to think of this when considering some naughty fun.

Posted by: the patriarch on December 19, 2005 2:23 PM

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