by Chris Wright
In many ways, Ailene and Gregor are your everyday MIT students. Ailene's
research has focused on a data-collection system for blowdown turbine testing,
while Gregor has explored artificial neural networks. Less conventional,
however, are the online photos accompanying their résumés: a
grinning Ailene applying a pair of electrodes to her nipples; Gregor sitting on
an MIT rooftop, his testicles draped across a cinder block.
Ailene and Gregor (not their real names) are among a handful of MIT students
who have bared all for geekporn.com, a new Web site in which America's foremost
technical college serves as a backdrop for self-pleasuring geothermal engineers
and copulating computer scientists.
Although the site also provides a forum for erotic literature and art, it's the
snapshots that have gotten people hot under the pocket protector.
"Lots of people are excited," says Andrea, who appears on the site with
Fermat's last theorem scrawled across her intimates. "They think MIT is much
cooler because of this." The site, she says, is simply a way to "rejoice in our
nerdiness." If all goes well, Andrea's next spread will be "The Geek Kama
Sutra: All the Positions You Can Have Sex in While Typing on a Laptop."
Stung by a string of binge-drinking scandals, and troubled by what is seen as
the university's rising reputation as a party school, the MIT administration
has so far failed to see either humor or aesthetic worth in the site. "We're
certainly not pleased," says spokesperson Ken Campbell. "We're looking into
Bob Randolph, associate dean of undergraduate education, says he's not familiar
with the site -- "Porn is not my beat" -- but speaks gravely of "the issue,"
which is, as he sees it, "somebody trying to make money using our logo and our
name." He adds, "We're looking into it."
At the center of the controversy is Anna Dirks, the 23-year-old MIT alumna who
started geekporn.com with, she insists, the best of intentions. "Most of the
porn out there doesn't associate sexiness and intelligence," Dirks says. "A lot
of geeks are uncomfortable with their bodies. My goal with geek porn is to make
sexiness and geekiness completely tied."
Despite the official rumblings of disapproval and intimations of legal action,
Dirks says she has no plans to cease and desist just yet. "It doesn't bother me
that they don't like the site," she says. "I guess some people are
uncomfortable with nudity." Besides, she adds, it was MIT that sparked her
fascination with pornography in the first place. "For one of my theses," she
explains, "I made a vampire-lesbian movie, and that piqued my interest."
Many in the MIT student body, meanwhile, don't see what all the fuss is about.
"So what?" says one undergraduate. "It's a free country." Says another, "It's
just interesting to see calculus presented in that way."