One of the things I love and hate about myspace is the little ads that they feed you on the corner of your page. I hate them because they are intrusive advertising and they’re usually promoting the worst music, television, and comedy on Earth, but I love it because it supplies me with endless ammunition to fire into the ether like so many glowing bright bullets of truth and hope.
Today the ad was for “Safer Internet Day” which I can only assume is today. Safer Internet Day is sponsored by an organization called Insafe. It is a European organization dedicated to making the internet safer for children, focusing mostly on teenagers.
The first thing you see when you visit Insafe’s website is a frumpy old lady that looks like a cross between all the worst features of Margaret Thatcher and Nancy Reagan. She is smiling vividly in the picture, but you can tell it is a forced smile or at least brought on by the knowledge that someone somewhere is being flogged for downloading music or watching a video. She is the kind of woman who hates sex and drugs and anybody that likes them. She is the kind of woman who claims to care about children, but would like nothing better than to wash their mouths out with dishsoap and beat them with a wire coathanger for saying the “F” word. She looks like an evil cunt.
Much of the content on their webpage is convoluted and garbled and none of it makes much sense at all. They keep referencing some video somewhere that shows a teenage girl standing up to an online bully (?!?). The video is called “Block bullying online” and its message is described clearly:
“At the core of the campaign there is a video which features a young girl who is being bullied online, but takes control by reporting this abuse. ‘Block bullying online! Keep it fun, keep control’ is the final message of the video.”
I don’t know about you, but in my experience fun and control are not two things that often fit together. When I think of the word “control” I think of things like police, jails, and brute force. I think of places like Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and Totalitarian China. I think of people like Dick Cheney, Papa Doc Duvalier, and Benito Mussolini. None of that sounds like much fun to me.
That is unless you are a power-hungry fascist that derives pleasure by denying it from others. In that case control is about as good as it gets. But if you are a normal peace-loving human being who understands the basic principals of getting along with others then control and fun are literally at opposite ends of the playground.
First and foremost however is the insane notion that the internet is dangerous in any way at all. The biggest danger I can even fathom is that a giant ball of blue lightning may hit a power grid somewhere sending a surge of power through the wires possibly causing your computer to overload and explode hitting you with some sparks and some plastic shrapnel while emitting a putrid smoke that makes you cough. But that would happen even if you weren’t online. That is a hardware issue, not a web-based one.
Surely the oven is a far more dangerous thing. In fact the average kitchen in a domestic home contains far more safety hazards than the whole of the world wide web. Nearly everything in a kitchen is either sharp, hot, or slippery and there is no international organization that is trying to keep teens safe from it.
No, the internet can no more hurt you than the telephone or an issue of People magazine. All the internet is is a resource for information and the only dangerous things about information are people that don’t want you to have it.
Insafe is not about safety at all. It uses the word “safe” and all its derivatives as a phony and shoddy camouflage to hide its ugly intentions. It is a pathetic attempt to fool people and it rarely works, but for some reason these same people keep employing the same ineffectual subterfuge. You know what I’m talking about. It’s easy to spot. It always tries to convey the image of fun but always misses the point entirely because the people that employ it don’t have the first clue as to what fun is. It is employed regularly by religious groups and government agencies with ulterior motives and it is used for the sole purpose of tricking teenagers into betraying their own kind. Some kids actually fall for it, but they are usually the social rejects; the unpopular kids that have been picked on and made fun of since kindergarten and have never figured out how to properly overcome it.
Everyone is teased and ridiculed as a child. It is part of growing up. No one likes it, but somewhere along the way most of us figure out a method to dodge the slings and arrows of our unscrupulous peers. Some employ comedy as a shield. Others master the art of not drawing attention to themselves. Some employ the “best defense is a good offense” stratagem while some use fear and intimidation as a deterrent. But there are a few kids that don’t ever find a suitable cloak of armor and consequently remain targets throughout their formative years. These are the people that don’t have a lot of friends in high school, aren’t invited to parties, and never have a date for the dance. They are the nerds and the geeks and the dogs and the losers and they all have a lingering and compounding pain from the relentless sting of abuse that eventually turns into anger and malice.
Some people never make it out alive. Some people spend their whole lives being pushed around and made fun of. They get passed up for promotions. They enter into abusive or loveless relationships out of desperation. They spend their whole lives as whipping posts and they die sad and alone.
But that is Darwinism at its base level. It is not only human beings that suffer this. Every social organism in the world has its cruel processes of weeding out the unfit. It is a fundamental and base reality of life on Planet Earth and there are no exceptions. Whether we are aware of it or not we are all competing for survival with each other every day and it is not pretty. It is kill or be killed.
Most of us make it through high school alright. Some have a few more scars than others, but by the time most people reach their early twenties they put aside their petty differences, “plug in”, and become productive members of society.
Some don’t though. Some leave high school with a chip on their shoulder. They are the ones that spent their free time alone plotting revenge on not only their childhood tormenters but on everybody. They remember every insult, every beating, every humiliation and they use it as a tool to sharpen the blade of their vengeance. They are bitter, unloving, and dangerous people and they almost always seek positions of power with a lust and a fervor that sane and healthy-minded people simply do not possess.
They are the people that become frumpy high school principals, mean judges, and start organizations like Insafe. No one involved with Insafe gives a shit about keeping teenagers safe. They care about telling them what to do, what to listen to, what to buy, what drugs to take. The people at Insafe care about control, and they are not good people out for a little fun.