Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Yet Again ... Viral YouTube Video causes Stir Worldwide (Guest Post)

It often seems that, whenever newspapers editors have little to write about, they churn out some nondescript piece about some zany new internet trend, full of phrases like ‘YouTube Sensation’ and ‘Facebook controversy’ with very little interesting content. However, sometimes the internet actually does throw up something interesting and genuinely controversial, in that it raises an interesting point, or sheds light on an under appreciated issue.
An interesting set of points indeed was raised recently on YouTube and Facebook simultaneously when a North Carolinan father pumped his daughter’s prized laptop full of bullets for a note she posted on Facebook railing against her parent’s supposed laziness and lack of fairness in a YouTube video which he then posted on the 15 year old girl’s profile. The story instantly got picked up by the hoover of social media attention and within minutes was trending on Twitter. As of now the 8 minute long clip has garnered 22 million views on YouTube and the original post (which remains on Facebook) has run to some 77,000 comments. Finding a genuine viral video is becoming more difficult as large companies have realised the benefits of viral seeding for their profits but the latest YouTube hit is a triumph of a genuine guy and his interesting parenting methods. 
Facebook Parenting: For the Troubled Teen
The video itself begins with the father - Tommy Jordan - sitting in a camping chair in a field,  donned in a cowboy hat and smoking a cigarette, explaining that his daughter’s message suggests to him that she doesn’t possess any sense of respect for the work he puts into raising her as a child, holding a copy of the message typed out on a piece of paper. "This is for my daughter, Hannah, and more importantly for all her friends on Facebook who thought her little rebellious post was cute," he states, visibly angry. He then proceeds to read the message out loud, which essentially boils down to a sort of raging polemic against the fact that the girl’s parents are messy - traipsing mud through the house and not cleaning up after themselves - while expecting of her chores which they allegedly do not abide by themselves. The message contains a demand to be paid for the chores she does, and that next time the girl’s parents demand jobs of her, she will not react kindly, and will also ‘not be there’ when they need her later in life. The girl’s father reacts with shock to the demand for chores to be paid for, exclaiming, "Pay you for chores? Are you out of your mind?" - after finishing the message he counters a few of his daughter’s points, claiming that she has ‘an easy life’ compared to what his was at her age - though ominously pointing out that "You don't have that hard a life but you're about too." The camera then swivels to the girl’s laptop, which has been placed on the grass. The man pulls a gun from his pocket and explains that, a few months before when the daughter had been grounded for a similar offense, he had very nearly shot the laptop. He then proceeds to carry this out, shooting the machine with 10 exploding cartridges, pointing out between shots that the girl will have to pay for the bullets themselves as ‘they cost a dollar apiece’. 
After emptying the gun of bullets and completing the total destruction of the laptop, her father again addresses her, telling her she can pay for the laptop when she has a job and can buy one herself - adding that she will also have to pay for the software and upgrades he carried out on the laptop the day before. The video ends with the cynical message, ‘"Hope you've enjoyed your little fiasco on Facebook", and then ends. 
Viral Popularity
The video’s rise to internet fame has all the usual amazing feats of speed shown traditionally by today’s ‘internet sensations’. In its first day it was watched over a million times, and the father’s video had been ‘liked’ by 62,000 people after two days. 
Reactions to the video are generally in support of the father, who seems generally to be applauded for showing discipline and not accepting his daughters insubordination. However, some have critiqued his behavior, suggesting that he just wanted to ‘show off’ his weapon, and that embarrassing his daughter in such a public and humiliating way is only going to serve to worsen the problem or cause other, worse problems as a result. Wherever the criticism of this video goes, it’s sure opened an interesting debate on child raising - further cementing the internet’s rising position as the most vast platform for opinion, criticism and - more recently - humiliation in history. 

Personally, there is no way the father could be considered in the right in this instance. His showy nature and posting the video for all to see is bound to cause more upset and difficulty between him and his daughter. Holding up this action as an example of good parenting or the right way to raise children is simply just wrong. Violence and using weaponary is never the answer and this father's actions shouldn't be praised. 

Guest Post provided by Melanie Bridges


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