I have hinted in the past that I used to write on LiveJournal, but stopped after I found the interface and certain aspects thereof difficult to tweak to my liking. There are also things I seriously dislike about LiveJournal’s management. But I came across a link to a journal that uses LiveJournal as a host, with its own domain prefix. The story in that link, well, I will link it here before I forget.
Before I say anything further, I have lived long enough to see some very dramatic changes in the way we consume media. During my childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood, the trends that we were all supposed to follow changed slowly, a process taking the majority of a decade. Small facets thereof changed quickly, such as this idea or artist becoming “cooool” or the opposite. But the overarcing trend being mongered, a process Frank Zappa detailed in The Adventures Of Gregory Peccary, usually only changed over a period spanning the best part of a decade or more. But that began to change with the dawn of the Internet as a mass public consumption device. And now that the Internet is the expected norm rather than a novelty or a fringe, trends come and go at a rate of several a year. Not to mention that when they die, they never really truly die, but just lie dormant and wait for a chance to come back. Often, they mutate in the process of doing so.
For a few years, there was an Internet “meme” or trend in which people laid out on precarious surfaces, usually face-down. This trend was called planking, and deaths have resulted from it. Or rather, I should say, deaths have resulted from idiots trying to plank in places where only qualified stuntmen and their crew should do it. Balconies more than ten stories above surface level being a good example.
Now, every now and then, I see something online or in related news that makes me think something. Specifically, that is the lowest point. No matter where we go from here, Humanity has hit bottom and cannot possibly appear any more herd-stupid. Let this be a lesson to you, then: never believe that Humans cannot get more stupid, ignorant, or herd-mentality in nature. Friends, as in the link I previously posted, I give you what the people behind it call Trayvoning. I will not link any of the pictures directly here because, quite frankly, the mere idea that people would do this is abhorrent to me. But the basic idea is to lay face down on the floor in a pose that the person thinks looks like they have been shot (emphasis on the word thinks here), with a soft drink can and a bag of skittles in hand. Wearing a hoodie in such shots generally seems to be a plus, but whether it is required is up for debate.
For those who have not heard about it yet, Trayvon Martin was a seventeen year old boy who was shot dead by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman has claimed this to be an act of self-defense, a claim that has only been taken seriously (in my view) because of a law in Florida known as the Stand Your Ground law. What makes this ridiculous is that, as far as the media and reports have it, Trayvon was completely unarmed. Whatever way you slice it, a seventeen year old was shot dead when he had little or no means to return commensurate force. There has since been a fiasco in which Zimmerman, or rather his legal representation, has tried to fling as much black paint upon Trayvon Martin‘s name in an attempt to get the legal system to excuse Zimmerman from the penalties for murder. Given that Florida is one of the thirty-five American states where the death penalty is considered permissible, I can understand Zimmerman‘s desire to pull every trick out of the bag in an effort to avoid a conviction for murder, even if I do not understand the tactics he is allowing his legal representation to use. And this is the last I will comment on the actual specifics of the case, because that is not the issue here.
Regardless of whether you believe Zimmerman‘s side of the story (I do not), believe in the death penalty, or do not care about any of this crap, I think we can all agree on one thing. Making an Internet meme out of mockingly imitating the position in which one presumes a person was found dead after firearm violence is simply not on. In fact, the presence of a photo in the original document of a young black male doing this incessantly stupid thing tells me a lot of things. Although I do not know much about the idiots in these photos, I do not have a lot of trouble believing that these are all Middle Class or Upper Middle Class boys. Yes, those still exist in spite of the Republican cartel’s best efforts. Which reminds me of a line Keith David has in Platoon: you gotta be rich to think like that in the first place. Although it is a fact that there are fewer comfortable, well-off black families than white, it also reminds me of something John Lydon said about the whole concept of anarchy as promoted in the marketing of punk. When you come from desperate poverty, you learn very quickly that nonsenses are not to be tolerated. Neither Lydon nor I know who benefits from chaos, but it is definitely not the folks in the council flats.
What I am getting at here is that none of the boys in the photos, regardless of their race or their parents’ relative stature, have the slightest conception of what they are “meme”ing about. Perhaps the limits of their personal Monkeyspheres prohibit them from conceptualising Trayvon Martin or his family as actual people. But Martin had family, and I doubt that any mother who is not a complete sociopath would not feel heartbroken beyond belief at the death of her seventeen year old boy. It is also said that the shooting took place whilst Trayvon and his father were visiting the latter’s fiancée. Tracy Martin, said father, must be absolutely beside himself with grief. I do not believe there is a father in the world, at least not one who is not a bullying coward, who does not secretly want to go to his grave seeing his children and grandchildren in better stations of life than he was in at similar ages. No father in his right mind wants to be alive and present for his son’s funeral.
Which brings me to a point I was trying to make in my statement about what a piece of shit Jenny McCarthy is. Namely, what you do in one place can echo across the world. Which is kind of what I was getting at with all of the talk about how these children are clearly (Upper) Middle Class boys who have no experience or conception of what they are really doing. And whilst not everyone in the world dies violently, people living in America tend to have a much better chance of dying violently (especially from gun violence) than comparable individuals in other societies. Yes, I am making that whole stupid “laugh about it now, but what are you going to do if/when it happens to you?” point. Or rather, it sounds stupid when you first hear it, but when it does happen to you, you see its wisdom so clearly that it makes you wonder why you did not listen in the first place.
I hope to Odin that none of these boys one day have to sit across from a police officer who tells them, soberly, that someone has shot their child dead on the flimsiest of pretexts. Believe me, it is not something I believe should be wished upon anyone. But on the converse side, it really is too bad that this level of ignorance is not painful. In times past, when Homo Sapien’s societal structure was little more than a choice between being rich, well-connected, or a serf, ignorance of this kind could, and often did, get one killed. I kid you not that if one put on a pantomime or play in which one of the participants mocked the death of an individual or the circumstances thereof, and the individual’s close relatives happened to witness this, the performers would be getting some visits from said relatives. We are supposedly more civilised now, but with our planet facing the worst environmental disaster since the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event due to overpopulation, I have to wonder if maybe our more civilised world is not becoming its own undoing. I am not saying that indiscriminately murdering people in arguments is a good thing, but people who are as demonstrably stupid as this “meme” is showing. Well, let us just say that legalising murder along certain protocols is seeming less and less like a bad idea every time I read this story.
I could go on all night about this, but I think now is the time to simply put this writing out and let the world make up its mind about how much it agrees. But I hope that there are enough decent Human beings out there who see that this whole “Trayvoning” thing represents the lowest that our so-called social media has stooped to date. To those who participated in this stupid meme, thank you for proving my whole point about “new” media.
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