Thursday, February 22, 2007

The North Carolina YouTube Breakup

The phenomenon of the moment on YouTube is the breakup of Ryan Burke and Mindy Moorman at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Burke found out Moorman was cheating, and set up a public humiliation for her. The innovation is that he advertised it ahead of time on Facebook, and hundreds of people showed up. She came to the Pit, a public square at the university, for a "surprise." An a capella group serenaded her with a somewhat odd choice of song (the Dixie Chick's "I'm Not Ready to Make Nice"). Then he dumped her. She, taken aback, responds with a torrent of condescension. The crowd eggs them on for nearly ten minutes. He walks away first.

There has been some suspicion that the whole thing was staged by both of them. It doesn't look that way to me. I think he is surprised at how much publicity there has been.

I was struck by how they attacked one another. In that sense (and only in that sense) it does not much matter whether her response was spontaneous or scripted. The particular insults they, and the audience, chose were revealing. It is very hard to hear what they are saying, but he appears to call her a slut. At one point the crowd chants "Slut! Slut! Slut!" She responds by asking him if he is gay, asserting that "I am a woman and I have needs," and suggesting that he has a small penis. The crowd then chants "Small penis! Small penis!"

His position is that if she had sexual relations with another man, she deserved whatever humiliation he could think of. He appears to have no self-knowledge or critical reflection. Her response is also entirely in sexual terms. Neither of them makes reference to any deeper aspect of their relationship – no emotional connection, no intellectual engagement, not even the material gifts they gave one another. And no love.

Ryan Burke is clearly an ass. She is no prize, either. What is most striking to me about the whole spectacle, though, is that their entire relationship seems to be sexual, and they have no qualms about parading that in public.

11 comments:

Alan said...

This looks like guerrilla theater to me.

Quotidian Grace said...

Lord, preserve us. What a disgusting spectacle. Is there no shame anymore?

Stuart Gordon said...

I'm just hoping that things are worse than they used to be; we all just have better access. My kingdom for two decent young ladies for my sons to marry!

Stuart Gordon said...

That should have been "AREN'T" worse . . .

Mark Smith said...

He's a jerk.

She slept with somebody else.

I don't particularly like either of them, but if I had to choose a side I'd choose his.

Gruntled said...

In the initial case -- she cheats on him -- I would agree. However, by making his deliberate, premeditated public humiliation of her so huge, he managed to make her the more sympathetic of the two.

Of course, if she was in on it, a pox on both their houses.

D-rew said...

If they were both in on it then I say a pox on us.

Stuart Gordon said...

Allow me to throw a monkey wrench in here. Why is it "cheating" if she sleeps with someone else? They're not married.

Gruntled said...

Yeah, that is the problem with marriage-like non-marital sex. It is never clear whether the couple is really committed, or not. There is a deep social wisdom in using marriage as the bright line for when intercourse become appropriate in a relationship.

Alex said...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070227/ap_on_hi_te/online_breakup

It was a hoax.

Gruntled said...

They weren't even dating! This is more of a hoax than I had imagined. Sigh.

Thank you, Alex; the truth is always better that falsehood.