This morning started like any morning. Try to wake up at 9:15, roll over and sleep almost another hour. Stumble out of bed, open my computer, and watch the video for Justin Bieber’s hit song “Baby.”
Sometimes, I even scroll down and read the comments, hoping to find a like-minded soul, someone who is lost between irony and truth, and in between the two has found something of a love for a tween sensation. Instead, I found this:
“<- STUPID INDIAN TESTICLE MUNCHER PUSSLIM SHIT NIGGER
TAKE A FUCKING BATH BEFORE COMMENTING HERE YOU STUPID INDIAN GORD-GORD FUCKASS OR ATLEAST USE ELEPHANT URINE!
I FUCKING SHOVE INDIAN FLAG UP MY ASS”
For a video largely targeted at pre-teen girls (not yet women), there are some pretty vile things said in the comments. Of course, the usernames are pretty much entirely anonymous. Names range from “iTrolledABearOnce” to “12345668587,” but none of them reveal a true identity. There are new posts literally every couple seconds. Does this mean that people spend their lives sitting in front of the Justin Bieber video waiting for the opportunity to write something inflammatory? Yes. Yes it does.
I constantly find myself questioning these people. Does the internet dick theory apply to every person? I have never in my life anyone short of clinically shout such horrible profanities. Does that make the post-er a dick? Does (s)he really mean what (s)he wrote? I would guess not.
Still, think of the children who watch this video (and presumably made its view-count exceed the population of our country) and think of the artist who posts the video. To sounds like a fool for a moment: how does Justin feel? He started his career with youtube videos, so one can expect he still checks his view count and reads the comments. Are comments like “BABY BABY BABY OUUUH IM GAY NOOOOOOOU BABY BABY OUHHHHHH MY DAD WILL BE MINE !!!! SIALALA JUSTIN BIMBER GAY !!!!! HOMO” hurtful to a teenage boy? Probably. If not, he has an ego of steel.
All of this is to illustrate another instance of cyber-bullying fueled by anonymity. I highly doubt Justin or his family would send a subpoena to find out who every single user is, but maybe they should. Comments about him are just as disgusting as the comments about the Law School students.
This type of cyberbullying, however, has another unfortunate consequence. The little kids who, with parent supervision, watch this video learn a lesson beyond the wholesome delivered about first love. They learn that people, when hidden by the mask of the internet, are vile. For me, these people are scarier than anything I saw this past weekend, dead or undead. I can only imagine how scared I’d have been at age 9 (the age of Willow Smith, “singer” of the now ubiquitous song “Whip My Hair”).
So I ask: why do we allow this type of anonymity? If a blog so utterly tasteless as “Skanks in NYC” can be considered horrible enough to warrant publication of the author’s name, why aren’t we protecting everyone, especially Children, from this type of online garbage? If nothing else, why is there no filter on youtube to block use of the words fag, nigger, testicle, etc? I sometimes wish these post-ers on youtube could taste their own verbal spew. Show these posts to their wives, their children, or their parents. See if they still feel brave enough to talk about testicle munching and how Justin Bieber’s greatest dream is to have sex with his father.
My biggest question is: why is this even an issue? Everyone, including most of the post-ers, know these types of words are wrong. Anonymity gives us the power to speak our minds, this much is true, but the courts have the power to root out hateful, libelous, material. Why is there no system to prevent it from happening in the first place?