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February 27, 2014

UPDATED: A Better Class of Libidinous at Duke. Meet Lauren.

Unexpectedly, and going on a decade*, Duke University has been building a somewhat unruly, vaguely feral and decidedly Epicurean--let's just call it "libidinous"--reputation in the popular media.

First, it was Tom Wolfe's 2004 novel 'I Am Charlotte Simmons', exploring the hookup culture at fictional "Dupont University." Next, a national spotlight was trained on Duke's 2006 lacrosse team, and in particular an off-campus party setting off rape allegations; although the charges there were false, and eventually dropped, the scandal and its residual civil litigation painted a wild, testosterone-drenched portrait of the Duke lacrosse program and several of it players. Finally, the 2010 publication of The Duke F*ck List, a Duke woman's explicit and often hilarious review of bedroom performances by several identified Duke men, took hookup culture at Duke to painful new depths.

And now this, stuff even Tom Wolfe can't make up:

During the 2013-14 school year, a determined and apparently open and engaging Duke freshman is moonlighting in adult films to help pay tuition. She gets outed by a male student. But, to her credit, she doesn't hide. She steps up to talk about it, defending herself and humanizing herself and the porn industry. And this has made most of her critics and others involved in her story to appear small, prissy, hypocritical, bad.

There have been scads of articles on this unusual story in last two weeks.

So in case you missed it on February 14, in one of the best early stories on this, Katie Fernelius, a reporter on The Chronicle, Duke's highly-regarded 110-year-old student daily, interviewed the co-ed in "Portrait of a porn star: Duke freshman stands behind her alter-ego". Her name is "Lauren". Lauren has this more recent interview in xojane.com on February 21. And we, like many others, are beginning to admire her. Lauren has grit and soul. Hat tip to Chicago's Andrew Johnston for the idea and the xojane.com interview.

*If you go back more than 20 years, you encounter a West campus out-of-doors institution for only the most sporting student couples known as "The Order of the Chair", spoken about in hushed tones by those who participated. Those rituals merit a separate post.

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Photo: Elysia Su/Duke Chronicle

Posted by JD Hull at February 27, 2014 10:33 AM

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