Six Big Girls
On March 30, six Florida teenagers took a grudge against a classmate to a whole new level. The girls filmed themselves as they took turns beating Victoria Lindsay for supposedly trash talking them on her MySpace.
The girls wanted to put the video on YouTube. Thanks to the video, portions of which were released to the media after the fact, the girls were caught. They're up to their eyeballs in you know what. They'll be tried as adults.
And what gets blamed for causing this mess? YouTube, the same Web site whose existence helped expose these girls and their crime.
A jury of misguided moralists gave its verdict. YouTube: it's the root of all evil.
I think the outrage and concern about YouTube, Facebook and other social networking sites is misplaced. They are just tools for communication and expression. Without them Internet users would find other outlets.
YouTube did not put the camera in these girls' hands. YouTube did not beat up their classmate. And YouTube is not being charged with a crime, nor can it be. The last time I went to the YouTube Web site I didn't see a big banner reading "Post videos of you beating the crap out of someone here!"
Our armchair pundit society has shirked its responsibility to raise its children and has put the blame on something irrelevant. The uproar about YouTube will last until "Grand Theft Auto 4" comes out. And the phony outrage machine will roll on.
America's media is punting the ball here. In its haste to crown the next YouTube celebrity it's ignoring a serious cultural illness, one that values fame and prioritizes vanity. Today it's possible to achieve notoriety with no talent whatsoever.
Instead of revering people for their accomplishments, like curing cancer or finding a reliable and renewable source of energy, we honor them for the most boorish behavior.
The problem isn't YouTube. The problem is that there is an audience for it.
Yes, I watch stupid stuff on YouTube, too. I'm not saying I'm above it. But posting on it isn't going to advance many noble causes.
YouTube is a mild diversion. It shouldn't be a golden ticket to instant celebrity. Sometimes I think we're so self-referential we're about to collapse in on our selves like a star that's burned up all of its gas.
But that's just me.