Reflections on What We’ve Become

April 21, 2011 at 5:39 pm Leave a comment

Ok, time for another deviation from my normal, fluffy, kawaii stuff or postings about my art process. This is just something that’s been running through my head and I wanted to share some thoughts. If you want something sunny and happy, just stop reading now and tune in on my next post.

Wednesday, when perusing my Facebook news feed (yes, I am a Facebook junkie just as much as the next person), I noticed a suspicious looking link. Supposedly a friend of one of my friends had tagged that friend in a video. The video promised to show this shocking scene of a girl committing suicide on webcam. I’ve seen stuff like this before and know it’s a lure to have people unknowingly download a virus onto their computers. Now, I know that most people who come across these scams immediately think ‘Stupid scammers! No respect or morals at all. All they want to do is mess up my life!’. I am not justifying scammers by any means. What they are doing is totally shady and wrong and they should be caught and disciplined by all means.

What troubles me is the ‘bait’ that they are using. Think about it. You’re fishing and have 2 types of bait – let’s say worms and fish eggs. You bait the hook with the fish eggs and nothing happens so you switch to the worm. Voila, you get a bite and reel in a nice catch. So you drop in another worm and once again feel the tug on the line. You now know that worms are what will give you the most success so that’s what you go with for the rest of  your trip. Videos like this are basically that worm. Scammers know that something like this will prove irresistible to people and some will actually click on it. If it wasn’t producing results, we would be seeing other ‘shocking’ videos. This is really sad in so many ways.

First, if this was a legit video, these scammers/hackers are using a girl’s death for their own selfish means, which is sick. However, I think that this says something darker about the society we find ourselves in today. When did we become so voyeuristic? When did watching someone die become so attractive that people will click on the link to watch it? Who wants to sit there in their room and watch a human life destroyed, possibly with friends around so that everyone can express self-righteous amazement that someone would take their own life? I almost feel like we are going back to the Roman times when it was grand entertainment to go to the Coliseum to watch the gladiators kill each other or the lions tearing apart the Christians. Sure people can say that everyone has a darkness in their hearts and that some are just better at hiding/resisting it than others. But the fact that these people are able to trick so many people with this video enough to call it successful and keep using it speaks volumes.

Something else to think about – in the variations I’ve seen of this, the person committing suicide is ALWAYS a female. Why is that? I can’t help but think that there is some subtle text about  society’s views of women that are still a bit backwards. It’s more sexy and tragic to watch a female die than a male? (The thumb nail that showed in my news feed had her topless with a bandage around her breasts). Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it makes me wonder.

I see headlines in the news about how someone killed someone else over something as trivial as a parking space. People get seriously injured in the rush to grab the Black Friday deals after Thanksgiving. Real suicides get played out on YouTube with people actually watching, but no one thinks to try to call for help. We can fill our lives with all the technology in the world and make wonderful discoveries in science, but as long as humans devalue the right of another human to life, it won’t matter at all. We’ll become soulless husks, vacantly scanning for the next ‘shocking!’ video that will have to further push the boundries to even wake us out of our numb stupor.

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