Have you heard about Juicy Campus?
I hadn’t, until I came across a column in Newsweek’s Education section called “Modern-Day McCarthyism“. In the column, Evan Thomas, a journalism professor at Princeton, compares Juicy Campus to Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s smear tactics in the 1950s:
The bullies and gossips have found a way of exploiting a new medium—the Internet—to have their fun. Unlike McCarthy, who craved publicity, the modern-day campus blowhards thrive on anonymity. But they are alike in knowing how to use the medium of the moment to attract large audiences to smear individuals, who have no effective recourse.
What’s Juicy Campus, you ask? Mr. Thomas can explain:
Juicycampus.com, the Web site for campus gossip that urges students to “just give us the juice,” has been popular since it arrived at Princeton earlier this winter. Postings entitled “Most overrated Princeton student” and “Sluttiest Girl,” along with another discussing who was rejected by Princeton’s eating clubs, were viewed more than 10,000 times, according to the school paper, the Daily Princetonian.
From what I’ve seen of it, Juicy Campus is the ACB on steroids.
Check out Juicy Campus and you’ll see what I mean. Select your campus and anonymous cruelty is readily available and easily categorized. Want to read some dirt on your English professor? Click on the Faculty/Administration tab. Smear your enemies on the Students tab, or let loose on the frat that failed to give you a bid on the Greek Organizations tab.
With a single click (on the Virginia Tech page, for example), you can read about how “Kelley F******* is a self-centered whore “. Not enough? Maybe you didn’t know that “DZ girls are SLUTS”:
bottom line is, if you want pussy: go knock at their door. they’re always ‘open’ and i assure you they don’t mind. their argument is: “sure, we’re sluts but at least we’re popular”
After you cut through the talk of pregnancies, penis sizes, and the various venereal diseases of different girls on campus, don’t forget to check out the number of epithets hurled at unpopular professors.
You can even help build community on the site by rating each post’s juiciness!
I guess my biggest problem with this sort of anonymous online gossip is, well… is this not the kind of stuff that encourages people to shoot up their high schools? Or colleges? And what, if any, positive contribution to society can come of this sort of anonymous malice? What light (or rather, darkness) does this shed on the ACB? And on anonymous comments on blogs such as this one?