Self-correcting

posted 15 May 2005

You may or may not have heard of the concept of "happy slaps, a craze of dubious authenticity apparently sweeping the nation. It involves teenagers -- unruly, out-of-control, antisocial, densensitized to violence by video games, insert your pet theory here -- who assault a random stranger with a slap, capture it on their video phone, and then distribute the video (warning: link contains ads not safe for work) via their phones, to gain the respect and adulation of their peers.

Apart from jokes about this being a use I'm sure 3 didn't think of when they touted video messaging, this is a pretty horrible idea. Luckily, it's also a self-correcting one, as I discovered when walking home from work the other day and came across a gang of four kids with video phones, slapping themselves in the face and laughing.

Because, you see, actually slapping a total stranger is a serious risk -- they could retaliate, and if they caught you, assault is a serious crime. So the easy and risk-free way is to stage an assault with your friends, and video that.

So if the net result of this craze is that a bunch of idiotic kids are beating the crap out of themselves in an effort to be cool, I'm all for it. Darwin will take care of this.

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