It’s a couple of weeks old, but before it completely falls through the crack, I’d like to mention that bunch of idiot teenagers (6 girls and 2 boys–and they say girls are more mature at that age) who beat up another girl and cammed it, thinking to put it on YouTube. Naturally, the reaction has been, “Oh, my god, kids beating each other up, just to be on YouTube–this shows that the internet is immoral!” Well, let me share the memories of my youth. In my day–BACK BEFORE COLOR TV–the big youth problem was juvenile delinquency. The Blackboard Jungle, West Side Story, even Jerry Lewis got in on the act with The Delicate Delinquent. Granted there’d always been juvie dee’s as far back in history as there IS history–what did they think Billy the Kid was? And the Dead End Kids, who spent their vacations in a summer camp called Reform School, weren’t exactly paragons, either. But in the 50s, people were acting as if “juvenile delinquency” was a new problem. Naturally, it had nothing to do with the fact that both the US and the USSR had the atomic bomb, and we were being taught that one day, we’d all see a white light on the horizon AND THEN WE’D BE DEAD! If you were Catholic, of course, you’d be a martyr, which was probably the only way some of us were getting into heaven, so all in all, it wasn’t all that bad a trade-off, but most of us realized that one moment we’d be here and the next moment–there wouldn’t BE a next moment. But that wasn’t the problem, according to the psychologists of the day. The problem was…COMIC BOOKS. Comic books were inspiring bad behavior with their lurid tales of crime, horror and yes, illicit romance (not sex–that was only in adult magazines) and laws were needed to protect children from what they could read in the newspapers daily on the front page. Well, the comic book trade decided to self-police, following the example of the motion picture industry, and the result was a generation of comics with Little Lulu, Archie and nothing but superheros/heroines ad nauseam. Not that that was bad in itself, but when you have nothing BUT, it gets tedious. Superman came up with an entire RAINBOW of kryptonites because no bad guys were allowed to get good, err, bad enough, to thwart the cheerful buckethead who by this time had achieved demigod status. BO-RING! But I digress.
So, these girls (and the two guys who tagged along) were seduced by the dreaded YouTube. Is it possible that YouTube is just the symptom and the REAL problem is our new culture of fear and hate? Where the President of the United States signs off on torture (and trying to weasel out of it by some strange verbiage instructing his band of Torquemadas to adhere to the spirit of Geneva without paying any attention to the letter)? Where the Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Justice and National Security Advisor create a scripted flowchart for how to best proceed with that torture? Not according to the slipshod media we have these days, who seek the simplest and most obvious explanations and ignore the greater issues, no matter WHAT is at stake. Remember what they did at Abu Ghraib. They took pictures, they took videos, they put them on CDs and DVDs and sent them to their friends. The technology didn’t cause this behavior. It was just a tool for distribution of it. I accuse that bunch of criminals that Congress is too afraid to impeach. When history asks about our cruelty, the biggest question it will ask will not be why Bush and Co. weren’t impeached, it will be why we didn’t tar and feather them and ride them collectively out of town on a rail and throw them into the Potomac. Perhaps that would lack civility, but maybe, it would redeem this country from the shame we’ve allowed to come to pass.