Thursday, June 30, 2005

general catch up / Very real problems

It's been a month, readers, according to bloggers time-keeping, which I'm sure is accurate, but I can't believe that I've somehow filled the lat 30 days with actually doing things and keeping busy. Oh wait, I haven't.
There was the Summer Ball weekend (I got drunk on the wrong day, but otherwise ace), System of a Down concert (bruising but phenomenal again) and the Highdown tour which was, as ever, immense. So there's about 10 days worth of doing stuff, but leaving no excuses for my month long lack of blog activity! Except the truth: I'm home from Uni now, and the sole computer with internet access is a) shared by 4 people, b) has 56k dial-up, c) shit, d) has windows 98, e) has 128mb ram, f) really, shit. So actually taking the time to write a blog entry requires almost the full attention of this poor, tired, battered computer (soon, finally, to be replaced).

But I feel forced into it (onto the serious stuff now) because of things in the media recently. Taking the most recent first: two deaths, in Manchester and Oldham I think, with two things in common. The killers were teenagers, and the deaths were pointless to the extreme: one, apparantly, occured when the formerly-living-now-dead man refused to give the teenage boys a lighter for cigarettes. The other was due to the man suffering a brain haemorrhage after having to chase off the yobs, from throwing stones, eggs etc at his house for no given reason. So there are now parts of the young generations of society capable, in a situation of dispute or argument, of going far enough as to actually kill another person. I thought things were bad but....what the fuck is wrong in our society today when things like that take place? It's not the answer, but part of it is: respect. No one has any respect for anyone else anymore, and it's a situation that's becoming dangerously close to spiralling out of control (I seem to have said that before...).

The other thing is my attempt to defend Happy Slapping, or at least it's reputation. Not, however, to condone raping 11 year olds and filming it on video phones. Or stabbing people and filming the aftermath. That sort of thing is so wrong it's not really possible here to do justice to a scathing attack it deserves. Suffice to say the people that do it deserve nothing better in life than to have a bad one. Perhaps one cut short by cancer, something like that.

But anyway, the point is that atrocities like the above are NOT instances of Happy Slapping. Originally, Happy Slapping was literally filming someone running up to a complete stranger in public, slapping them without the intention to actually hurt, and running off again. While it's an admittedly strange line of humour, at the same time it isn't exactly rape. Part of the problem lies, I think, in the media - the notion of Happy Slapping has been misused or misplaced. 'Happy Slapping' has become an umbrella term for an ill-informed, misguided media to cover anything they like with - which is why is has been so attacked recently; wrongly, in my opinion. I'm not saying slapping strangers is funny, or even worth doing, and certainly not saying that rape, violence and muggings are the sort of things that should pass for entertainment. My point here is to make the distinction between the original idea behind Happy Slapping, and the crimes that are now wrongly assigned the title of being occurrences of it, and to simply suggest that the problem is not Happy Slapping itself, originally fairly harmless and pointless, but the types of person who have taken it too far. If you look past the media-frenzy of citing countless 'shocking' examples of Happy Slapping, the real problem lies in the fact that there are simply more people, partiularly youths, that are likely to act criminally in society today, or to go to the extremes of violence and now, in Manchester and Oldham, murder. It is that which needs to be sorted.