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article imageBeware A New Breed Of Internet Pursuers: YouTube Commenters

By Michelle Duffy     Apr 22, 2008 in Internet
The world perhaps has gone, without a doubt, slightly mad, since a video of some one's baby laughing racked up a staggering 45 million hits on YouTube. Why? Because the world has been infected with "social idiocy."
About a year ago, one proud Swedish father put on world wonder, YouTube a short and unobtrusive video of his baby son, sitting in a highchair, laughing - you may have been one of the 45 million people who had seen it - it was nothing special, yet it has acquired global entertainment status, if you want to rack up the hits higher, you can visit the video and the article here. The clip, hardly the product of Martin Scorsese, has been officially given the title of "ninth all time viewed video." It is complete madness - even Alica Keys couldn't get a look in by the kid, rosy cheeked and gummy mouth wide open, giggling away, yet it is highly infectious, and so is the Internet. We are hooked. USB cable and all.
It took, I might add here, a few months for word to get around and the hits start to rise, but would you also believe that this clip and it's 'soundtrack' has even managed to get on TV, by appearing recently on an episode of South Park. So what on Earth drives a parent to display their child and it's fairly normal grin on the web for the whole world to see? Parenting isn't a new thing - kids have been around for generations, so why should we start posting every single move that little Jimmy or darling Mary makes? Because we can and someone up on high - possibly Bill Gates, says it's okay.
To use the immortal words - "It's like dipping a bunny into acid." That wasn't me saying that - these are the words from that newly derived species of Internet roamers - the Internet Commenters.
They are a strange race, sometimes they hang around in groups but most work on their own, they are, with thesaurus in hand, scour the headlines, blogs and the like, making the rest of us readers wonder if these commenters actually speak like this in real life. If you were to take in, as much as I do, the comments on say, YouTube just as much as the videos themselves, you would see how evil some people can be with the few words the write - a harmless, adorable clip of a baby sharing with the world it's newly found ability to laugh, into the child of Satan.
As stated in the article - "there is something about watching the posting of a video which inspires noxious responses," is it the fact that we are, in effect, anonymous - (it is these that sometimes are the real killers of the video "lovables,") or is it merely a way of expressing our most inner, evil thoughts - what one person might think, another will quite happily post.
As set out in the "unwritten" rules to the Internet Commenter, thou shalt be done -
1, No woman's boobs shall go unjudged;
2, No man shall not be called gay;
3, No popular video shall not be spammed with "KKK FOR LIFE!!!"
It's pretty daunting stuff, (please feel free to leave your comments below) yet when we are faced with such a wondrous sight of harmless, unabandoned delight such as the sweet sound of a baby's laughter, we are turned into demons, dribbling at the stake, in the hope of seeing someone suffer - we crave for evil thoughts and can't but help ourselves when that evil voice in the back of our minds says "lift your fingers to the keyboard and type - go on, you know you want to...."
The phenomena which is now called "The Laughing Baby," has been tarnished with these ditties of evil - around 57,840 of them and counting. They have ranged from the sweet sounds from other parents who would have posted the same thing given half a chance and a decent video recorder, "lol. when people laugh, i tend to laugh so i was cracking up" and who could forget the classic, "Cute, cute, cutee!!!" yet it is not long as one scrolls down the page that we see at three in the morning someone has posted, "This child is possessed by Satan. Exorcism needs to be performed," and even at four AM, "Guaranteed there are perverts watching this." We are not just evil, we are paranoid.
We must not forget to mention those of the Internet Commentator brigade who will look at the is video in a medical manner - these are a strain from the normal, run of the mill species who will just ask out loud for the baby to be "put out of it's misery," These doctors of the web will put in their theories of what has made the child laugh - and no, it won't be the idea that perhaps it was something the child saw but more the case of the child may be suffering with something incurable.
The comments, at a more social hour of the day will come from these beings - words like "The baby is very sweet, but he sounds asthmatic. They should have him checked out." will come from these desk quacks who have nothing better to do than put in their own opinions of the child's health. A particular view from a commenter was along these lines, but had obviously taken a great deal of thought (as many of these commenters do, nothing is ever typed out quickly) The commenter had said, "I read a scientific study that had to do with dopamine levels in toddlers and how they affected their personality. This little guy obviously enjoys the dopamine 'high' he's getting out of laughing this much. Unfortunately, children like this have very high rates of drug use later in life. Strange, but true."
I would have suggested that this Commenter should go and have a lie down.
Others, complete extremists by their own very good nature will be insistent that narcotics are somehow involved and that the child is a product of not delighted and proud parents but drug abusers who are taking the same delight on getting their little bubby high. These people will be genuinely convinced that the father had injected the child with something slightly short of class A.
Then again, perhaps we should not comment at all...
More about Laughingbaby, Internet, Evil
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