Parenting in a YouTube Sensation World

Remember those parents who were suing recording artists because their brainless kids did stupid things that either got time in jail, injured… or worse, because they were supposedly emulating actions described in the lyrics of the artist’s songs? You know the one’s I’m talking about, the one’s who were looking for someone else to blame for their own lack of parenting. I feel sad for their losses, but curse their cowardice and inability to take responsibility for their actions or lack their of.

This blog post, however similar, is not about them.

This is a different type of stupidity altogether. Sure, ultimately parents are to be held accountable over all, but society has to take part of the blame here on this one as we have allowed it to permeate every aspect of our entertainment, from magazines and tabloids, to internet, to TV, to even our news.

What is this new problem? The acceptance of dirty laundry and stupidity as well as asinine antics as acceptable forms of entertainment to achieve your five seconds of fame with.

It started with Jerry Springer, Ricky Lake, and the Maury where guests are invited to share stories such as how they had an affair with their grandmother’s, boyfriends’s conjoined twin while she was asleep in the same bed and I’ve had 2,496 men paternity tested and I still don’t know who my babies’ father’s are and assorted other ghastly and unbelievable tales that one just shouldn’t make public, let alone air on television.

One could argue that the show is to make people feel better, that they are not the only one’s to be going through this tragedy. But with the way society seems to be deteriorating I argue it has had the opposite effect and has only made it more acceptable for other people not to choose a responsible path. I’m sorry you don’t know who you’re babies’ fathers are, and you can have sex with as many conjoined octogenarians as you want, I could care less, but society was much better off when you were ashamed of that fact, not proud enough to broadcast it to millions of viewers.

The problem has only escalated with sites such as YouTube, MetaCafe and Break, as the stupidity is no longer limited to what producers could fit into a 30 or 60 minute time slot, but you could now air your stupidity for the world to see 24/7 with the hope of going viral which brings me to my case in point.

A lot of viral videos are viral for a reason, they are funny, and/or clever, usually include some sort of stunt we wish we had the balls to do ourselves, and/or are just plain mesmerizing. Take for example the video that set me off which features champion drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr. hooning it up in a parking lot and eventually taking out Happy, the Carl’s Jr. star-shaped mascot. Funny stuff, right? Obviously it was staged, who goes around with a full camera crew, hits a walking restaurant icon and runs, right? I have no problem with this and if you’re child emulates this without staging it, yes, you’re to blame.

Here’s where I have a problem: This video hits just as summer break hits, and many kids will be getting their new driver’s license and/or a new car as graduation presents to kick off the summer. There’s something about being behind the wheel that makes us all forget a good deal of common sense when our friends are around and we want to impress. Throw in the additional temptation of instant stardom and now we have a recipe for spectacular disaster, but hey, it’ll go viral and you’ll become a star, right?

So you’ve got the staged of part of your own YouTube stunt down (look out Ronald McDonald), now let’s talk about your drifting performance. Guess what? Odds are, you’re not a pro. Reenacting this stunt, or some other you may feel more comfortable with shouldn’t be practiced by anyone not on a closed course, especially if you’re not a professional. You know that fine print on the new car ads telling you these actions should only be performed on a closed course by a professional driver? It doesn’t appear on this video. Granted, that’s probably why they are more boring, but there is a reason for it. Warning or not, how many kids do you think are going to resist the urge to become a YouTube sensation? Especially when the odds of failure have an equal chance of netting you stardom as a successful stunt. It’s not about success or failure, it’s about witnessing stupidity at it’s rawest form.

Carry on.

Oops. You took out a mailbox? Oh… and that parked car? Wow, look at your new car, is not so new looking anymore…and it only turns right while the rear wheels go left and billows blue smoke from under the hood? Bummer. But hey, it’ll look great on YouTube! Sorry about the fines, the property damage and anyone you may have accidentally run over in the process, that’s the price of fame, right?

I hope when the time comes, I’ve taught my son well enough to realize it’s not cool to be a YouTube star for the wrong reasons. But when there’s a whole new generation of kids who don’t know which notch in their mother’s bed post their father is, and are no longer afraid to do the nasty with their own grandma in the same bed, there’s a whole class of people that are going to make that job a lot tougher for me.

Thanks for providing an even lower common denominator America.

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