Karen (and other readers) -- it is not that I think it is simply an
abuse of computers..... I think that flashing downloaded pornographic
(female) images when a female coworker walks by IS a serious problem and
needs to be dealt with. I was simply trying to find a solution that would
work that would not get caught up in some of the issues subsequent
correspondents have mentioned -- e.g. what is pornography, anyway? what is
harassment (believe me, we have heard more than might be imagined locally,
thanks to the recent events at Swarthmore College, just down the road),
what is private, etc. As an observer of computer labs and similar "public"
institutions that try to cope with a wide range of student "activities,"
much of it illegal or at least insensitive and piggish, it seemed to me that
a broader, less "argumentable" decision would deal with the immediate problem
from one perspective. Certainly the collection and display of pornographic
pictures is an inappropriate, insensitive activity that should be stopped.
The challenge is to find a way that does not escalate the conflict. How much
enegry should be spent on this, anyway?
If you see yourself as engaging in vindictive conduct, for goodness sake,
don't indulge in it. When I have succumbed to my darker impulses it has
almost always come back to haunt me in ways that I regretted. I would
favor an attitude of community improvement and general concern -- with the
caveat that if one or another of these twirps keeps doing it then I would
have ample evidence for stronger proceedings! Actually, I am more disturbed
by the apparent lying and trying to get the other student in trouble, then
simply in the pornographic pictures. The latter is juvenile, the former is
at least somewhat sociopathological. Maybe I am too old after all, but my
general inclination is to join in with these juvenile activities until the
students feel so ridiculous that they stop -- along the lines of -- "oh,
isn't that interesting... where do you get those pictures?... do they really
substitute for having a real girlfriend...? But then, I haven't been grossed
out in years. My husband says I must be immune.
Sigh. About two weeks until the big 50. Can I quit being an adult then?
Kate McCain "Die Gedankexperimente sind frei!"
College of Information Studies
mccainkw at duvm.ocs.drexel.edu