by Jeffrey A. Rendall
In watching footage from the Charlottesville riots recently I was struck by one fact in particular: there were almost as many people recording the event on their smart devices as there were Nazis and leftist thugs taking part in the melee.
The scrolling pictures didn’t lie — whenever an Antifa goon would move towards a white supremacist idiot or vice-versa invariably there was a host of bystanders inching ever closer to get a good look and secure the best vantage point to electronically preserve the physical altercation. There were many times where it was difficult to distinguish the perpetrators from the amateur video documenters.
What an odd world we live in where there are people who actually run towards such incidents solely to chronicle them for who knows what… fame on YouTube? A credit on the evening news, perhaps? An “I was there” post on Facebook? A personal thrill? Mental illness?
It wasn’t as if there was a rare solar eclipse high overhead or a newly active volcano erupting in the distance. But maybe these curiosity-seekers thought it’s more stimulating to see miscreants beating on each other and throwing bottles filled with urine than spending time on more productive pursuits. Doesn’t anyone work anymore?
I also wondered, with so much video evidence, why the authorities aren’t able to identify more of these criminals for prosecution. Certainly there were hundreds if not thousands of crimes committed in a short timespan ranging from simple assault and battery to malicious mayhem or maiming (pepper spray to the face, anyone?).
There’re signs everywhere that our culture is devolving into a sick voyeuristic society where the weak-minded get ecstasies from observing and commenting on the pain of others. The problem is particularly prevalent among the young, the generation that not-so-coincidentally grew up with the pocket-sized wonder mechanism, the smartphone.
Eric Metaxas wrote at CNS News the other day, “Those born after 1995, typically called ‘generation Z,’ were just entering their teen years when Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPhone. Appropriately, [The Atlantic writer Jean] Twenge dubs these young people, ‘iGen.’
“Unlike millennials, these kids cannot remember a time before the Internet. Like laboratory mice, they’ve been the unwitting subjects of a historic experiment. What effect has this had on them?…
“Teen suicide has skyrocketed since 2011. One survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that teens who spent ten hours or more a week on social media were 56 percent more likely to experience symptoms of depression. According to two national surveys, those glued to screens at least three hours a day were 28 percent more likely to suffer sleep deprivation.”
The image-consumed “iGen” also doesn’t do much outside, doesn’t get together with friends nearly as often as kids used to and largely spends time willingly self-barricaded in bedrooms swiping, texting, stalking and trolling until their brains are effectively numbed to outside stimuli.
Having two members of “iGen” in my own household I can attest that the smartphone has completely taken over the younger set. It’s an addiction unlike anything I can remember from my childhood, something I’ve come to label as “electronic cocaine.” Just watch as these kids struggle to function for a few minutes at a time without picking up their phones. I don’t know if it’s hilarious or heartbreaking.
In his article Metaxas does offer some hope for the phone afflicted, arguing parents can simply place limits on the amount of “screen time” and the kids will eventually appreciate being freed from the “slavery” of their devices. There have yet to be any studies (at least that I’ve seen) on whether teens can actually wean themselves off of their internet dependencies, but it’s only a matter of time before something of that nature turns up.
The originators of future smartphone “detox centers” will no doubt ask for federal funds to pay for them. You just watch.
In the meantime the true cultural damage from smartphones is already on full display. The nearly universal use of social media among the young means not only can everyone (a person’s connected with) grasp his or her personal business at a moment’s notice, any one of those people is also free to turn him or her into a social pariah in real time.
I suspect this society-wide fear of social ostracization scares people into voicing support for causes that most people consider abnormal or freakish. Whereas it used to be nearly everyone would cringe at the sight of a man holding hands (or kissing) with another man on television, now the popular media celebrates it. The infamous and nauseating multi-language Coke commercial during the 2014 Super Bowl was characteristic of the phenomenon – anyone who spoke out against it at the time was labeled as intolerant and a bigot.
It was life in Obama’s world. Churches were torn apart. Families split. The liberal attempt to “bring us together” only left us farther and farther apart.
Then there’s the case of Bradley “Chelsea” Manning, the traitorous cross-dressing former Army soldier who’s now writing about “beauty” on mainstream news outlets.
Manning (as reported by Elena Sheppard) said at Yahoo! News, “People ask if I’ll eventually run for office and be that voice, but the truth is I’m not ready to make bigger decisions just yet. Right now I’m just settling into my new apartment, I’m watching the Handmaid’s Tale. I’m not discounting any of the bigger things, but I need to buy a couch and a coffee table first.
“I’m also fine-tuning my style, perfecting my makeup skills. I suck at eyeshadow, and that’s why I haven’t worn it, but I’m watching YouTube videos and practicing. I’m borrowing a lot of elements of punk and pop culture and incorporating a lot of the cyberpunk look. People tell me I’m like the protagonist of a cyberpunk movie or something, so I may as well dress for it.
“But here’s the thing: There’s no public Chelsea and private Chelsea, there’s just Chelsea. I’m still the same person that I’ve always been on the inside. Everything I’ve gone through has just strengthened my sense of self and my sense of who I am. I can’t pretend to be anyone else. I don’t have a public persona. The person you see is the person I am.”
Pretend to be anyone else, Bradley/Chelsea says? This “guy” spent the last several years professing to be a woman (isn’t that pretending?), only now the gullible PC crowd hails the ruse.
Surprisingly enough, the comments below the article were almost universally negative towards Manning’s new persona – but obviously Yahoo! sees fit to perpetuate the lie that “Chelsea” is a she and the “woman” is just trying to lead a life in “her” new world. For gosh sakes, Chelsea needs to buy a couch and a coffee table before deciding on whether to run for office?!
Are they serious? Or is it a joke? It’s hard to distinguish the difference these days.
The fascist leftist elements of social media suppress and censor the greater culture’s utter rejection of this type of nonsense. It happened a few years ago when the Supreme Court nationalized same-sex marriage. Facebook pages all over the world became adorned with rainbow flags in support of the decision. Heck, Obama even had the White House lit up in the colors of the rainbow.
All of it led to Donald Trump’s rise in 2015 and to his election last year.
The enforcers of political correctness are still out there, too. You can pretend to be a woman like “Chelsea” Manning and the media provides you a favored spot on the home page of a major news outlet, but if you dare to wear a “Make America Great Again” hat out in public, beware of what might be coming at you at a gas station.
Megan Fox reported at PJ Media, “[My friends Gianna and Natasha, who was wearing a MAGA hat] were exiting the store when he started toward them from a gas pump screaming obscenities at Natasha. ‘YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF FOR WEARING THAT!’ he screamed, flailing his arms like an escaped mental patient. Instead of the okay sign, [Natasha] gave him two thumbs up and said nothing while grinning.
“He wasn’t happy with that and continued to yell in a full parking lot, ‘F*CK TRUMP!’ Then he stormed into the gas station where he encountered me wearing yet another hat, triggering him further. I wondered why he didn’t say anything to me in the store but figured it was the number of people (there were many) and perhaps he had spent most of his bile on Natasha.”
To be fair, Fox said this particular maniac was the only one they encountered that day who made a scene over their pro-Trump headgear. She concluded her story with, “The people filled with hate are not the ones in MAGA hats, but the ones screaming at people for wearing them.”
Who knows, maybe someone caught Fox’s confrontation on video. Smartphones give people the capacity to do that, right?
The world is transforming right before our eyes and many of those changes are being caught in real time thanks to the invention of the smartphone. It’s often said adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it; but in our device driven American culture, adversity’s exposing a whole lot of really weird stuff.
Reprinted with permission from ConservativeHQ.com