PowerPointing Things Out
Although PowerPoint is often associated with hierarchical office or military culture of command and control, its easy format for digital composition and remixing makes it an appealing tool of institutional subversion as well. This month the controversy has to do with a PowerPoint presentation created by recent Duke graduate Karen Owen, who created "An education beyond the classroom: excelling in the role of horizontal academics. As the New York Times explains in "Duke Winces as a Private Joke Slips out of Control," Owen created a "fake thesis" in the PowerPoint medium about her sexual conquests as an undergraduate, which included an analysis of the sexual endowment, prowess, and skill of thirteen student athletes, which was illustrated in her slideware presentation with bullet points and a bar chart. A gallery of the images from her original document is available online, although facial features and identifying information has been deleted. As someone who went to school with memoir writers like Elizabeth Wurtzel and Tad Friend who listed boudoir buddies in their literary works, I think about what this genre might say about this kind of catalogue. Does it indicate a degeneration of cultural production or does it indicate a lack of seriousness given to one's own drama more appropriate to the digital rhetoric of youth?