Eight years into the past and preceding the unspeakable Weinstein-Cartel casting couch auditions testing the limits of contemporary digital challenges, viral campaigns were born. The notable Ice Bucket Challenge was simply a benign precursor to the graphic carnal symphony of today’s social media derived violence, as electronic innocence was still prevalent. With the reverberating elements of Beethoven’s 9th infiltrating the collective conscience of the formidable generations in murdering common sense through deft Inquisition methods of soul shaming terror and gore, the innocence of Dr. Seuss has been canceled and society is lost. With the gateway to Hell left ajar through the creation of TikTok, Alec and his droogies, fresh out the dystopian movie and novel, Clockwork Orange, have made their initial appearance in the real world, and are being welcomed with open arms as critical thinking skills are MIA.
A 15-year-old girl was recently detained after deliberately hitting and killing a jogger during a joyride gone awry with a family member’s car. Reports from law enforcement in the Seattle area transcend the depths of disturbing, as allegedly, the teenager and her 14-year-old passenger later shared a “laugh” at the manner in which the victim “flew” over the car, according to charging papers. The obviously unlicensed driver told detectives that she merely wanted to “bump” the 53-year-old man, “but not too hard”. Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess, first introduced the idea of a volatile and savage future of teenage tribalism, under the influence of “viddies” and hallucinogens overrunning society in the famous novel published in 1962. A decade ago, the vile orgy of violence and terror facilitated by Malcom McDowell in the movie version was contained by the impossibilities of fiction, but with the recent spike in juvenile crime linked directly to social networking, once again the philosophical masterpiece that examines elements of free will, pain versus pleasure, totalitarianism, and the psychological effects of space colonization, unfortunately parallels fact.
A quote Clockwork Orange where Burgess shares a cultural perspective through mouthpiece of Alec-
“They don’t go into what is the cause of goodness, so why of the other shop? If lewdies are good that’s because they like it, and I wouldn’t ever interfere with their pleasures, and so of the other shop. And I was patronizing the other shop. More, badness is of the self, the one, the you or me on our oddy knockies, and that self is made by old Bog or God and is his great pride and radosty. But the not-self cannot have the bad, meaning they of the government and the judges and the schools cannot allow the bad because they cannot allow the self. And is not our modern history, my brothers, the story of the brave malenky selves fighting these big machines.”
The horrendous incident is an unmitigated tragedy, as the victim leaves behind a family, and if things could be any worse, the teenager recklessly accepted a TikTok “bumping” challenge, as the idea is to make vehicle contact with pedestrians and bikers, and of course post it on the platform. This is a part of full-blown epidemic that is currently preying on the undeveloped brains of youth, and in the absence of competent role models, the continued monumental failure of the app’s moderation team makes every corporate leader complicit in the homicide.
The travesty is a both a microcosm of severe parenting deficiencies in failing to set boundaries, and the psychological harm and developmental issues inflicted by constant online interaction. Add to the mix Chinese state owned TikTok, and a pair of violent criminally social media challenges circulating underground accessible to young people, and Pandora’s box has been blown wide open. A disconnect between reality and the digital wonderland is now distinguishable, as a decade of streaming ultraviolence has left the collective mind desensitized to violence in a narcissistic manner of oblivious to the consequences of danger.
Two days after the “bumping” fatality, community members of a neighboring F***book interacted with understandable concerns about TikTok.
While less insane, the trending TikTok challenges currently emanating throughout the platform are encouraging kids to vandalize and steal property in earning digital brownie points, in seeking validation amongst their peers. As video gaming is now combined with what teenagers consider as “pranks”, but in reality are felonies and misdemeanors, the clock is literally ticking for the nightmare to be unleashed with regional gangs of Alec and Alexas, and their posse of loyal droogies forging a niche in the criminal hierachy. When the mantra of the information age is, “as long as it gets clicks, it’s legit”, the impending doom beckoning dystopian theme intertwines harrowing science fiction into reality.
As the detriment stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic has forced juvenile mental heath into the thick of an H.G. Wells plot with the time machine’s destination set for the Anthropocene era the terraforming of impressionable minds through devices is a growing concern. In the absence of critical thinking skills and miniscule attention spans those with a feeble inherent morale code are susceptible to an unsettling popularity contest, where empathy is at a premium, and acts of violence and theft are warped into an intoxicating and addictive thrill ride.
With an imbalance of children being overwhelming coddled, and not punished, the bubble wrapping of society has resulted in expectations of enablement that the nation may never overcome.