A disturbing Internet trend called “reaction videos” is exploding in youth popularity. Here’s how it works: A person’s reaction is recorded while watching some other shocking video of which he/she is oblivious about and then posted on the web.
Reaction is intense, from crying and gagging to rolling on the floor. So no wonder they’re popular. The big deal is if you decide to look into what these youngsters are actually looking at to generate such intense feedback.
At least two of these shocking videos have gone viral in popularity. So I opted to do a little research without watching any of them. One was an unedited video leak of the gruesome slaying of an Eastern European man hammered to death and stabbed by some youth. This was a hard-working village man with throat cancer who struggled to support his wife, two sons, one grandchild and a disabled mom. The other viral video showed a trailer of two girls indulging in grotesque pornographic acts of coprophagia.
I was perplexed as to why any person would be driven to watch this stuff or show it to anyone. One youngster showed the pornographic trailer to her unsuspecting grandmother, who retorted in horror that her granddaughter needed help.
Author Anthony Burgess may not have been off track when he wrote his disturbing, futuristic novel A Clockwork Orange in 1962 about a youth gang who rapes, tortures and murders for entertainment. The deadly words “snuffed it” were repeatedly used in this book, bringing to mind snuff films of which one of the sordid viral videos actually was.
When Stanley Kubrick turned A Clockwork Orange into a movie in 1971, it earned him more than four Oscar nominations: Controversy exploded in England over copycat crimes, which led Kubrick to withdraw his own film from the U.K.
That was then. Now our children are watching real snuff. Although we know copycat crimes are generally committed by those with a history of violence and severe mental disturbance, why create a milieu for such pathologies to flourish?
It’s time for all of us to appeal to the timeless conscience within us amid the evolutionary changes of our modern virtual world. If, collectively, we are in danger of losing our conscience along the frantic highway of life, then I can’t think of a better reason to risk pulling off to the shoulder and recouping this valuable possession.