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September 22nd, 2002

The 12-Year-Old Boy Theory

Ladies and gentlemen, there has been something afoot on the Internet in the past year or so that I have distinctly noticed. How much of it can be attributed to my getting older, I’m unsure. But hear me out on this: the Internet’s population of 12-year-old boys, and those who act mentally like 12-year-old boys, has been growing at an alarming rate.

My cases-in-point? I have quite a few. The first is this site right here, The Daily Ping. We love the Ping. The Ping is great, and you should buy a t-shirt. But you’ll notice that there are, on occasion, rather inane comments. They’re generally marked by poor grammar and spelling and, sometimes, rather offensive statements. We recently had a comment in our Home Depot Ping, for instance, calling for all of the employees of said chain to be sexually violated (in more disturbing terms). And there are the ever-present refugees from the Jackass Ping. My theory is that these people do a Google search for something, find a Ping, and thinking they’re anonymous, post a comment. The aura of responsibility just fades away. (Of course, little do they know that we’re fully aware of what’s going on.)

Similarly, I read a few web boards – Mac ones, Chrysler ones, etc. Almost every one has seen a large upswing in the number of younger members. That in and of itself isn’t a big deal, because I really do like it when new people sign up to participate anywhere. But many of these new folks troll, call things “gay”, and generally act like buffoons. Sure, they’re kids – but I’m guessing that the guise of anonymity, again, is working in their favor.

And there’s also just a rather rude vibe going through some sites I read. Blogs, communities, and the like aren’t exempted.

So where does this all come from? I’m not entirely sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of it stems from the idea of violent and/or offensive things being funny. See all of Comedy Central’s stuff: The Man Show, South Park, etc. These things are targeted at young boys – and men who think like young boys. I don’t lack a sense of humor. But a great deal of what is deemed funny in pop culture is truly offensive and gross, with an occasional disturbing thing thrown in.

Now, imagine being able to be offensive or gross – thinking one is funny – with the bonus of never having to respond to it officially. Heck, you could use your school’s computer lab, find something on Google, post a rude comment… and that’s it. Right?

I’m saddened by all of this, because in part I still think the Internet can do a lot more than it is doing right now. But if it gets overrun with prepubescent participants, we are in for a rather unenjoyable ride.

Posted in Technology

FROM: jk
DATE: Sunday September 22, 2002 -- 1:48:33 pm
I don't even find prime time tv funny, with the exception of maybe one or two shows. When did the supply of genuine humor stop? Why did "they" or "we" have to appeal to a juvenille level of humor?

Thank you for addressing this issue.

FROM: Robert [E-Mail]
DATE: Sunday September 22, 2002 -- 4:56:59 pm
Why the dig at Comedy Central? They do quite a lot of quality programming. In fact, it's the only thing I miss not having cable.

FROM: Paul [E-Mail]
DATE: Sunday September 22, 2002 -- 7:54:46 pm
Robert: Why the dig at Comedy Central?

Outside of the stand-up comedy (which in and of itself is hit-or-miss) and the ever-sharp Daily Show, an awfully high percentage of CC's programming seems targeted right at young boys. I'm thinking of The Man Show, Battlebots, and Crank Yankers amongst other things. These shows are lowbrow entertainment to be sure, and the continual "off the wall" antics only lower already low standards.

jk: Why did "they" or "we" have to appeal to a juvenille level of humor?

Actually, I think I know why: these kids have money, or have access to money - so they can buy things.

FROM: jk
DATE: Sunday September 22, 2002 -- 11:48:59 pm
Having money does not mean you have taste. We could also get started on a thread here about what happens when people stop raising their kids and let other people or the media raise them.

Remember when MTV played videos? I can't let my nephews watch it anymore.

FROM: Matt
DATE: Monday September 23, 2002 -- 12:18:36 am
Once you get past the idea that the internet can "do a lot more" you will be happy. The internet is for porn, e-mail, and obnoxious comments. Nothing we ever hope for will come true, especially when it involves the accessability of anyone with a modem.

DATE: Thursday April 3, 2003 -- 12:16:26 am
This article is gay.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday April 3, 2003 -- 9:15:15 am
Funny how a single comment can prove a point, huh?

FROM: Lucius Briggams
DATE: Wednesday October 22, 2003 -- 9:26:51 pm
You are what you are, no matter what the others say. So, if you are a 12 year old boy, thats ok. You can generate profit later

FROM: Generosa Pedophiliac
DATE: Wednesday October 22, 2003 -- 9:28:05 pm
Cool site, excellent torso.

FROM: Rachael Melon
DATE: Wednesday March 10, 2004 -- 12:10:05 pm
I think you entirely correct I think our society is so stupid in the lacking of education I think that if the parents of our generation lack the intelegence to send my generation to school then I don;t know what the intellegence of the parents of the parents time was

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday March 10, 2004 -- 1:45:30 pm
My head hurts.

FROM: Mocker
DATE: Thursday February 17, 2005 -- 10:39:45 am
this guy stinks and he is a bloody gay

DATE: Thursday April 7, 2005 -- 11:43:21 am

FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday April 7, 2005 -- 11:47:59 am
I think it's great that these last two comments prove my point.

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Thursday April 7, 2005 -- 1:49:15 pm
prepubescent participants

Nice alliteration, anyway.

This is why kids were separated from the adults in the old days: there is a downside to tolerance. If there isn't a protected forum where higher ideas can be expressed, the higher ideas die a frustrated and unexpressed death. Eventually, we all live a lower life.

I suppose we need to find a new continent and try to reach that higher level of human existence once again.

Then again, maybe we thought the internet was that new continent.

Oh well, they want to sell advertising space on the moon--make it a giant billboard. What a great idea for the final frontier.

Part of the blame is how kids are so overprotected and coddled to generally. They feel entitled to do and say anything, even to adults. I've been confronted by kids and they say startling things that I could have never imagined saying to an adult, and I can tell they're just doing it for kicks. It's very bizarre behavior to me.

But just because I never behaved that way doesn't mean my generation never did it. I eventually met some kids who came from backgrounds that were different from mine when I was in college. They would go on and on about how fun it was when they were kids to do some of these very same things. You know what I thought? "Here are some real idiots."

The idiots give an entire generation a bad name. It's happened to us, too. It may be worse now, though.

Adults used to be able to tell a kid not to behave like an idiot. Now, the adults are idiots too. They get paid lots of money to be idiots on TV. The kids see all this glorification of the idiot and they want to be a rich idiot.

We're just a nation full of idiots. Look who's President.

Ken July 3, 2007, 7:13 am

I was a 12-year old when i began posting here, my grammar isnt wonderful, but i hope i am not annoying. I tried to be a positive contribution to the pings, but i look back and most of them were ramblings. Even if i seemed like one of those other kids, my intentions were good. If you want a new jackass ping to laugh at, just make the title a pop culture icon that a lot of 12 year olds would google.

Paul McAleer July 3, 2007, 7:48 pm


Whole-heartedly agree with your comments, however…. “But”; to start not only a sentence but a paragraph, please don’t be overly critical of others’ grammar.

ps I am not twelve, but I can be a pedantic boy!!

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