Rolling Stone article offers insight into Pott case and youth culture

September 20, 2013 — by Nick Chow
rollingstonecover

The Sept. 17 issue of Rolling Stone magazine.

In the Sept. 17 issue of Rolling Stone magazine, Saratoga High once again was in the national spotlight with the publication of a story headlined “Sexting, shame, and suicide,” giving a detailed account of the tragic bullying and suicide of Audrie Pott. Yet this story, written by staff writer Nina Burleigh, was different from previous ones.

In the Sept. 17 issue of Rolling Stone magazine, Saratoga High once again was in the national spotlight with the publication of a story headlined “Sexting, shame, and suicide,” giving a detailed account of the tragic bullying and suicide of Audrie Pott. Yet this story, written by staff writer Nina Burleigh, was different from previous ones. It examined a darker subculture that has remained hidden even to many of the students here today.
Of course, the community has had a general picture of the circumstances relating to Pott’s death since late last April, but this Rolling Stone piece brought into lurid detail what she went through in the days after being sexual assaulted at  a Labor Day weekend party in 2012. From the article, it’s painfully obvious how isolated and desperate she felt and how destructive her friendship group had become.
While the story focused on Audrie’s bullying and suicide (and rightly so), layered underneath her individual story is an eye-opening look at a culture in which some students engage in rampant drinking, sexting of salacious photos and sexual harassment. Sadly, Audrie became caught up in this group and never escaped.
This Rolling Stone piece hit upon something that has been eye-opening to everyone. However, this darker subculture cannot possibly be limited to Saratoga. It has revealed itself time and time again in different communities across the country. 
It’s time to stop taking sides and quarreling with others, whether over Saratoga’s supposed misrepresentation in the article or the slights to the football team. While people continue to debate the details of the case, this article promotes much-needed discussion on the cause and manifestations of teenage culture as we know it today. 
Blame society’s values. Blame peer pressure. Blame the omnipresent technology. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to preventing these tragic bullying-suicide cases. But if we want to prevent another Audrie Pott case, another Steubenville case, another Rehtaeh Parsons case, we have to realize how destructive modern technology can be when mixed with the callousness and cruelty that would enable people to destroy others. 
The eventual solution lies in discussion and re-evaluation of modern youth culture. Saratoga needs to keep working through these issues. A good first step would be for everyone in the community to read this story and then work to make make sure something like this never happens again.