Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Our Crumbling Civilization: Juicy Edition

Oh! The woes of parents of young 'uns, trying to protect their wee innocents from the ravages of the Internet's social sites. (As addressed recently by Bookworm.)

Well that's all well and good for MySpace and FaceBook ... but wait 'til you get a load of JuicyCampus (get ready for an unhealthy dose of obscenity before clicking this link).

The collegiate-level social networking site is under investigation by New Jersey prosecutors:
JuicyCampus may be violating the state's Consumer Fraud Act by suggesting
that it doesn't allow offensive material but providing no enforcement of that
rule — and no way for users to report or dispute the material, New Jersey
Attorney General Anne Milgram said Tuesday. ...

The investigation began last month when a student came forward who had been terrorized by posts on the Web site that included her address. Prosecutors have subpoenaed information from JuicyCampus on how it is run, citing concerns about "unconscionable commercial practices." (AP)
I checked out the site and was greeted by the first entry seeking comments, "Who's the best f*** on spring break?" No comments yet, but I see where this is going: Girls will be named, often in very identifiable manners, so what they thought was a night of annonymous sex will follow them home, name badge attached.

A couple entries down was one called simply, "I swallow." You know what she means. She is revelling in the anonymity of the internet to be without bounds or moral confinement (as if Jesus, if you believe in him, weren't watching) -- an outlet that was simply not available until sites like thise came into being.

Can anyone explain the psychological, sociological or moral benefit of the change? Why is "I swallow" better off by being able to proclaim it and see the racy comments back than she (or he) would have been if this were a matter that was not broad-banded to the world?

Then there's the Big (?) Man On Campus who got this entry about him:

Does [name] seriously have a 2.5 inch erection. What a flaming pile of s*** that kid is anyways, he deserves to have his dick severed from his body, that piece of s***.
There was a time such an epithet would have been said in a dorm room and would not have gone much further. Now the kid has to read it and know people across the Internet are reading it, and who knows what the consequences of such on-line attacks and bullying will lead?

JuicyCampus is disgusting and troubling on two levels: First, that it exists, and second, that young people flock to it.

Someone -- someone now being investigated by New Jersey prosecutors -- knew he could make money by not just appealing to the lowest levels of the human psyche, but by going a step further and spreading those low levels everywhere with no care about the consequences. This person needed no business model; he just knew that if he offered filth, the flies would gather round it. And that didn't bother him one bit.

Worse, he's wildly successful, which means we have a generation coming up that feels comfortable attacking others anonymously, that gets its jollies by annonymous sexual postings, and that cares more about their own thrill of the moment than the long-term consequences those thrills will cause others.

Imagine, if you will, that the person who posted the item about the Little Man On Campus grows up to become the president, and is applying that kind of moral judgment to decisions on how to deal with renegade nations, bothersome allies or political enemies.

Since I started this "Our Crumbling Civilization" series a couple years back, I've never wrapped up an entry this discouraged, this convinced that our civilization is, indeed, crumbling.

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