Lord of the Flies

The U.S., if not the world, has been exposed to the video posted on the website YouTube in which six teenage girls lured a friend who had “dissed” them, called them names in a posting on the social website MySpace. This posting was coded “private,” so it was not viewable by the general public. When she arrived, they beat her into unconsciousness, slamming her head into a wall. Then, when she regained consciousness, she was further pummeled. At this point they started filming, or that is what as been released or remains. Two teen boys stood sentry duty outside to prevent interference and make sure nothing would interfere with the girl’s vengeance. When the premeditated hour-long torture/beating session was over, they kidnapped her and drove her to another location. Here is where they further threatened her with additional harm if she “talked.” Whether there was a further beating is unclear. She eventually made it to the emergency room of the local hospital and the police became involved.
The unbelievable horror of teenagers, some members of the local cheerleading squad from a conservative area acting in such a heinous way shocked and outraged all. But what was even more shocking was that they planned to video record it and post it on the Internet. This was not just blind teenage stupidity; it was sheer unadulterated arrogance that lacks any semblance of humanity.
Were they members of some violent street gang, or Nazi youth cult, or even some satanic cult? No they weren’t. So what creates and allows teenagers to think and act in such a barbaric fashion? The answer is simple, though uncomfortable-we do. Our society does, in fact it promotes it in the name of Free Speech and corporate greed, not to mention our own complacency. Also, we seem to have developed an appetite for the reprehensible. What am I referring to?
I am referring to a number of factors in our social thinking that allows and promotes this:
1.    Where God-given sexuality is taboo, for adults only and violence is considered acceptable. For your information, in Europe and most of the world the opposite is true.
2.    Where violent video games promote violence and destruction without consequence or human compassion and are completely common and acceptable. There is a lot of money made on these games as an added factor to keeping viewing them under “free speech” guidelines.
3.    Where violent ghetto music that aggrandizes violence, disrespect of women, and the killing of those who “dis” us, called gangsta rap was not banned for fear of being called racist. Also, there is a lot of money being made to this day, so it instead was promoted as cool, becoming role models for unguided youth.
4.    Parents who don’t parent. Job one is loving our kids; job two is creating and enforcing clear boundaries with consequences. More then likely these parents were not capable of either jobs, or did not work together to guide their children.
5.    Broken composite families where boundaries and parenting roles are blurred. While the parents work too many hours, or simply neglect the kids for whatever reason.

OK, so we a seeing a much bigger picture here. Of course the kids should be punished, in adult court in my opinion. So what does all this have to do with the Lord of the Flies, the novel by William Golding? Unfortunately, becoming all too common are school shootings, kids killing kids. These stories are emblazoned all over the media. Nobody has missed this, have they? In his book Mr. Golding has written about the underlying barbarism within humans that is shaped, guided, and kept at bay by a “civilized” society. Civilization is a social agreement. In his novel he shows a group of shipwrecked teenagers whose social agreement breaks down and reverts to barbarism, replete with violence and murderous lifestyle.
His point is well made, and our school shooters and this article’s main characters, the teenage “video” stars/criminals are illustrative of his premise. Case and point.
All I can say is I am deeply saddened that we are losing our humanity, because we don’t think civilization is worth keeping and moving into barbarism. Throwing the baby out with the bath water. And we stand there as if we are helpless in the face of it all. If you think you are helpless, you are, but only because you think it. Wake up to your power, society as a whole and our children are endangered by our inertia. Demand an end to this bastardization of our basic constitutional tenants. Just as it isn’t free speech to yell “fire” in a crowded theatre, it isn’t free speech, but anarchy to allow what is being past off as a liberal interpretation of “free” or artistic expression. Reasonable is the key to free speech, and yes, we will have to have arbiters that not everyone will agree with, or I guarantee a deepen decline in barbarism. Just look around you for evidence.

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  1. Alan Sach

    Hello Dr. Eigan. I am 16 years of age and I live in Boca Raton. I plan to attend your lecture today at Starbucks, and reading through this post is interesting because I as well looked into this brutal topic and found the same information as you about the girls involved. My belief however is a little bit different. I believe the lack of education in the community is to blame for the beating that took place. Communication in the sense of “being in touch” with what is going on in the world rather than in the pop culture world is what is also to blame. Had these girls been introduced to the “norm,” they would have known that beating the girl would be over-reacting. Also, mentioned above is “ghetto music,” which some might find an ignorant statement or conclusion about the music or genre. Personally, the statement pinpoints the influence and the origins of the music well, however, the effect of the music and video games only reaches a certain extent. I listen to “ghetto music” and play violent video games. It seems as if they do not illustrate actions without consequences, but act as a vent in which kids such as me can release frustration. Perhaps the girls involved in the youtube beating were too influenced by the music and games, but the music and games o not account for many other violent crimes around the world. Although there is a correlation between the two (crime and music,) one might also look at the correlation between the aggressor’s clothing style and to what extent that influenced the crime. It is mostly about looking for specific facts that give a scapegoat for the media to jump on every time a story like this is presented. The popular media oppose the popular culture. Rarely, do we see the media supporting something that it does not benefit from. By popular culture, I mean “what the kids like.” The reason for the conflict is the generational differences between the audiences of the two. Kids and their parents.. The back and forth argument that has been around for hundreds of years, and is present on a larger scale today due to easier communication such as television, radio, and especially the internet.
    I hope that this little mind “spillage” is of any help or importance to you. I am looking forward to hearing your lecture about masculinity today.

    Alan Sach

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