Friday, November 09, 2007

Time for revolution...

UPDATED: November 10
ello all,
Alright you know how sometimes you want to blog about a lot of things and then suddenly one thing comes along that just binds all of them and presents you with the base to your point? Well me neither, until now that is.
On the 7th of November, Finland was stunned. In a public school in Jokela, an 18 year old boy opened fire on several students and staff members, killing 9 and injuring several others. He then pointed the gun to his own head and shot himself. A few hours later he died too.
This incident is not unlike the few others in the recent past and has several essential similarities. Obviously people will compare and contrast and in doing so they will choose points of blame. If you want to know a bit about this kid, or the little of himself he'd like for you to know anyway, then follow this link to his channel on Youtube.
I don't know this guy and the only exposure I've had to him is from that site and from the subsequent news releases. What I do know, and this is something Marylin Manson pointed out in his interview with Michael Moore from "Bowling for Columbine," is this: this guy, like the guy in the VaTech shooting, and the kids at Columbine, basically needed someone to listen to him. What are the similarities between the killers? They all feel they're outcasts. Granted the stance they take is one of superiority, deeming the rest of humanity weak and senseless, but the basic fact is they were alienated and had to develop independently. Hence the videos on YouTube before they do it. They know they will be judged and they have to give someone that idea that's fuelling them.
The point of this post is something we've discussed in length in class. It's essentially web 2.0. I'm not willing to talk about what fuelled these killers and whether they were right or wrong because that's a judgement I cannot make. My morals are mine and theirs are theirs. I've reached where I am for my reasons and I have to trust that they have reached theirs for their own reasons. The point is, that web 2.0, represents the last, and I mean final bastion of free expression. I can blog here and post videos on YouTube. I can say what I want and how I want to. I can care about whoever's responses I want. YouTube have suspended this guy's account and his last one, and I'm not sure what the terms of violation are. If I find out I'll update below, but if anyone does know, I'd appreciate a comment.
The point is, people will look to blame YouTube for allowing the spread of such 'sick' thoughts, as the Australian paper the Herald Sun deemed them. None of us can decide what's good or bad and none of us will EVER reach a unified conclusion on it. Many of us feel that objectivity is therefore, the only answer.
Some will feel therefore that certain things shouldn't be said. Motives should be questioned. They believe objectivity is therefore, everything that is not subjective. What web 2.0 offers thought, is the OTHER way to objectivity, whereby everything should be said and all motives should be allowed. Let everyone be as subjective as they want and then pick sides or hell, even make sides! This is to me is a silent renaissance. A splurge of thoughts and ideas, terribly subjective and close minded at times, but genuine none the less. If my blog gives it's views today it's because I feel it, and the beauty of web 2.0 is you can make your own blog and slag off mine! The Finnish kid who deemed the rest of the planet weak and mindless, believed that for his reasons and it was only on his YouTube and MySpace pages that he could express that. You can choose to blame the net for spreading his ideas and possibly influencing several others to do as he has, but the net has no reasonable liability, because another net user, the Aussie Herald Sun, deemed his thoughts 'sick.'
Che Guevara believed in a balance, in using past ideals where they are apt and incorporating all of them into your own ideal which is apt to your context. This balance will not be achieved by restricting thoughts and ideas. It'll only be achieved by making these thoughts accessible to everyone and that is what wikis like Wikipedia do.
A few weeks ago a friend of mine asked me how I could expect to reach a point of 'no expectations,' pointing out the blatant contradiction. What I have to say to him now, as I told him I would, is that what I can expect is to expect everything.

OK, bad news.
From YouTube's Terms of Use :
"YouTube reserves the right to decide whether Content or a User Submission is appropriate and complies with these Terms of Service for violations other than copyright infringement, such as, but not limited to, pornography, obscene or defamatory material, or excessive length. YouTube may remove such User Submissions and/or terminate a User's access for uploading such material in violation of these Terms of Service at any time, without prior notice and at its sole discretion. "
The implications are quite clear, and it explains in part why Sturmgeist89's stuff was erased completely. I'm not certain if this was a term of use since the start, or whether it was added later when Google took over, but either way, this is how it is.
There's even more stuff here, to dispell any undue expectations and assumptions we may have had, or atleast I may have had. What's interesting though, is the restrictions I've pointed out are in place even in spite of the vast number of disclaimers and 'liability limitation' clauses they have in place already.
At the same time, it is a great site and as much as these damn restrictions are in place, it still serves a very large part of the purpose of web 2.0.


Quaint Murmur said...

You know what they say about children often being the most cruel to other children? I believe that it's true. There are a number of people who can vouch for that, because we all grow up with insecurities that our school friends and our peers inflict on us, with or without realising it.

It's terribly sad that more and more kids/teens are resorting to killing to make themselves a space in the world. I suppose the least we can do is be a little more accepting of peoples' flaws on a daily basis.

Great post, nice analysis.

[tRiaD] said...

Remember the Korean kid? Cho Seung-hui?
The guy who shot up the place at Virginia Tech if I'm not mistaken. (An Indian origin professor was killed too, I think)

Did you see that kid's video that he sent to news channels? Now that was some seriously screwy stuff.

"You have vandalized my heart, raped my soul and torched my conscience. You thought it was one pathetic boy's life you were extinguishing. Thanks to you, I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenceless people."

This is an extract from his video. That's some scary stuff. No amount of tolerance can sort this out. These people need to reach out for help themselves. There are enough helplines and counsellors in this world that can TRY to help them. The only way to find out if they actually can is by going to them.

But, how does one get the troubled to reach out? youtube isn't the answer.

Harry said...

Yes but my point is Youtube isn't the problem either. YouTube's role in this whole thing is minimal. All they do is play HIS views, which as the terms of use have shown, they a) dont claim to support/endorse and b) can choose NOT to show if they wanted to, as they have.
By the time these guys have reached their state of emotional or mental intensity, there's very little anyone can do. The point is, before a community labels YouTube as some sort of source of the spread of such ideas, it should try and see what IT could've done or should've done. Granted the kid should probably have chosen a different method 2 make himself heard, but that is in no way YouTube, or MySpace fault.
If at all either of the communities CAN help the guy is if he's able to see that maybe he isn't alone and gain some sort of objectivity from the thoughts, which as both the killers admitted were held only in their own minds.

[tRiaD] said...

Communities in meatspace are more hands-on and as a result can possibly be more effective than cyberspace communities.

I'm not implicating youtube or any of the Web 2.0 devices. I'm saying technology has given everyone an avenue to express their views, broadcast themselves, flirt with people, game with people etc. that we're neglecting some established meatspace devices..

That is all