By Derek Tang, Guest Blogger
Look closely. Do you see a very disturbing common thread among all these statements?
“One [student] recorded [the fight] on a cell phone. The video was posted on the Internet and turned it over to police…”,
“Madison County school officials are investigating who posted a beating online…”,
“[a] YouTube video of a beating…”,
“The girls bragged they were going to put the videotaped beating on YouTube and MySpace…”
Make no mistake about it–YouTube has been a great innovation in the ever-expanding world of the internet. Where once people had to make do with sending plain old letters that took days and even weeks to arrive at their destinations to keep in touch with friends and family near and far, we’re not only able to send pictures across the globe as fast as our respective internet connections allow us to, we’re able to make video available as well. For all to see.
The result? We’ve gone from blogs to vlogs (inspired by and thrust into the spotlight thanks to lonelygirl15). Movie previews (and even whole movies) show up online. Election campaigns gain momentum thanks to online video contributions. Video postings are met with……video responses. All sorts of promotions are undertaken via YouTube.
Though making slightly less of an impact, we’ve also discovered the Evolution of Dance, the farting chipmunk, OK Go, and my own personal favorite: Numa Numa. And where oh where would the campaign for the White House in 2008 be without Obama Girl? Then there’s the myriad of video game “highlight reels” posted (“Guitar Hero III,” anyone?).
But at what price?
The videotaping and subsequent beatings of students above are just the tip of the iceberg. There are countless other stories like that. The timeless social phenomenon known as the “schoolyard bully” has taken on a whole ugly turn. And this time, the entire world gets to view it.
YouTube’s (and other sites like it) pervasiveness doesn’t appear to have stopped there…
“In a tearful and furious YouTube video with close to 150,000 hits to date, former actress and playwright (“Bonkers”) Tricia Walsh-Smith lashes out against her husband, Philip Smith, president of the Shubert Organization, the largest theater owner on Broadway.” (Full story)
Walsh-Smith then goes through the couple’s wedding album on camera, describing family members as “bad” or “evil” or “nasty,” and discusses about how her husband is allegedly trying to evict her from their luxury apartment. She also makes embarrassing claims regarding their intimate life, and then calls his office on camera to repeat those claims to a stunned assistant.
Famed divorce attorney Raoul Felder, called for comment on the video, termed the whole thing “funny, but there’s also sadness. This is a victim who is holding her head up. I think she comes off well.” Then again, Felder announced that he is now representing Walsh-Smith — though he wasn’t when she made the YouTube video.As for Smith, his office said he had no comment and his lawyers said they didn’t, either — “other than that we’re kind of appalled.”
And particularly infuriating, here’s another gem–where two teens videotape themselves giving a toddler pot–that was picked up by the media today. Here’s a more detailed video report (oh, the irony!)
Who knows where that video would have shown up? A failed attempt at becoming the next big “viral video,” perhaps? And why? School beatings, divorce rants, forcing drugs upon toddlers……perhaps it’s just me, but as I try to comprehend what goes on in the minds of people, what I keep coming back to is that all this is being put forth by individuals or small groups to garner more and more attention to the one cause they elevate above others: themselves.
Media theorist Marshall McLuhan once famously said that the world was heading in the direction of a “global village.” We have plenty of idiots for that village as evidenced by the “creative” efforts of its online denizens. More to the point, the more familiar I become with this culture, the more contempt I have for it. I was warned about this in Scripture, wasn’t I? It’s no wonder the Gospel of John is one of my favorite books of the Bible. I took the red pill a long time ago.
Derek Tang is a youth director with a passion for pop culture, current events, and soccer. He is a husband to the lovely, beautiful, and talented Katie and has one daughter…and five cats. You can visit Derek online at his blog, Musings.