Teenagers Are Having Sex in Extremely Odd Places
“Never pass up a chance to have sex or appear on television,” Gore Vidal once famouslyadvised. While some may argue that the democratizing force of the internet has diminished the power of television, it hasn’t diminished the power of screens: Thanks to webcams and smartphones, we can all appear on our own personal TVs, and we can even have sex through them.
No one has absorbed this lesson more than teens, who just can’t seem to stop sending nude photos to each other. This Wednesday, on her NPR show Fresh Air, national treasure Terry Gross spoke to Hanna Rosin about the phenomenon, which Rosin addresses in a new Atlanticarticle, “Why Kids Sext.” The interview touches on some important points, like the fact that minors sending naked pictures to other minors is something that is both completely commonplace and sometimes a felony (as teenagers in Detroit may soon learn). It’s a conversation between adults who don’t want to judge young people but at the same time don’t completely understand them.
After all, there’s no way for someone who hasn’t been a teen for 30 years to truly understand what today’s adolescents are doing. At one point, Rosin tells Terry that girls say sexts are like, “the guys are collecting baseball cards or Pokémon cards,” adding that, because so much porn is available to teens, sexts are more “like a prank.” Do teens really treat their sexuality so casually? I don’t want to question Rosin’s sources, but I have a slight feeling they may have been grunge-speaking her. And where did she even find a teenager who remembers people collecting Pokémon cards?
-Teens aren’t just not passing up chances to have sex. They’re making new opportunities, sometimes in radical and wildly inappropriate ways. It’s not every day that the tabloidists at theNew York Daily News start an article with “Whoa!,” so when they do, you’d better pay attention. In Florida, where so many crazy things happen that making jokes about it is now gauche, a 19-year-old boy was charged with indecent exposure and criminal mischief after having sex with a stuffed horse inside a Walmart. Security cameras caught the teen grabbing the animal from a clearance bin, taking his penis out of his pants, and “[proceeding] to hump the stuffed horse utilizing short fast movements.”
Teens Kill 900 Chickens, Are Completely Insane – This Week in Teens
When news emerged late last week that unknown persons had broken into a Fresno, California, Foster Farms poultry plant and killed 920 chickens with a golf club—and possibly another blunt object—I could feel my adult acne tingle. I didn’t know it for sure just yet, but I had a strong suspicion of who the culprits were: teens. Sadly, I was correct. This week, an 18-year-old, two 17-year-olds, and a 15-year-old were arrested for the crime.
For reasons of taste and humanity, we in the news media do not speculate about certain things, like how exactly anyone—even a quartet of highly motivated teens—could kill nearly 1,000 birds with a golf club. I’m not saying that they should be celebrated for their animal cruelty, but there’s no question that it’s an achievement. I’ve never killed a chicken, so I have no idea how difficult it is. I have been to a driving range, though, and I know that after a few dozen swings, your arms get pretty tired. Even if we assume these boys each killed the same number of birds, we’re still talking a few hundred hard strokes each. Plus, it must have taken hours. Not to mention the sound, and the smell, and all the bodily fluids. As Fresno County Deputy Chris Curtice told CBS News, “You can’t do that much damage to animals and not have blood on your clothing.”
The whole incident is just completely unfathomable. Really the only thing that we don’t have to wonder about is motive, because the only possible explanation for beating nearly a thousand chickens to death with a golf club is that you’re nuts. To quote Foster Farms employee Antonio Puentes, “It’s crazy that someone would break into the chicken shed to kill them. It’s just crazy.”
Here’s the rest of This Week in Teens:
–Not all teens are animal-slaughtering lunatics! Just this morning, famed 17-year-old activist Malala Yousafzi won the Nobel Peace Prize, making her the youngest-ever winner of that award by 15 years. In 2012 the Pakistani schoolgirl was shot in the head by the Taliban as punishment for blogging in favor of women’s right to education. She survived the attack and has continued working as an activist; late last year she met with fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner (remember that?) Barack Obama in the Oval Office and bravely told him that American drones are creating more terrorists. This year, she continued her streak of schooling adults by informing Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan that his country needed to do more to recover the hundreds of schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram. In August, she FaceTimed with ex-teen Justin Bieber. Fun fact: Like most teens, she believes in socialism.
Oh No He Didn’t: Did a White Guy Steal a Popular Gossip Site from Three Black Teenagers?
Celebrities typically refrain from addressing the gossip sites that taunt them. But earlier this year, after bloggers accused Lady Gaga of tweeting a picture of a Metallica concert, claiming it was a photo of the audience at her ArtRave: The ArtPop Ball show, the pop megastar broke the fourth wall.
“Here’s a proper pic,” Lady Gaga tweeted at a gossip site, along with a picture of a packed arena. “Maybe the Madonna fans on your site can use a microscope to count the fans.”
The tweet sent shockwaves throughout gay-and celebrity-oriented corners of the internet. After all, Gaga wasn’t tweeting Us Weekly, People magazine, or even her archenemy, Perez Hilton. She had tweeted at Oh No They Didn’t—a ten-year-old celebrity-gossip community on the archaic social media platform LiveJournal.
Oh No They Didn’t has a cult-like following. Users submit all the content on the website (or copy and paste material from other publications, including this one) to the moderators, who then decide whether to publish it. Despite the lowercase headlines, typos, and dated purple-and-white layout, more than 22,000 people follow the website on Twitter, and according to a source at LiveJournal, the site remains the network’s most popular online “community” in the US.
If the site sounds like any other gossip rag online, that’s precisely what makes it unique: It was started, in 2004, by three black teenagers—Erin Lang, Bri Draffen, and Breniecia Reuben—who were looking for a place where “Black ‘indie’ kids who felt out of place [could] talk about music (and life) with other Black kids,” blogger Rafi Dangelo has written about the teens. Youth of color contributed the majority of the comment threads. The site’s mission, according to its founders, was to create a safe space where members could discuss pop culture with an authentically black voice without being exclusively black. Because users of the site both created and read the content, site members believed they were reading gossip “by the people, for the people.”
This spirit resonated with fans, and Oh No They Didn’t soon surpassed its niche audience. O, the Oprah Magazine, named Oh No They Didn’t one of Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2007, and when Anna Nicole Smith died, that same year, so many users visited Oh No They Didn’t that the community’s server crashed.
It Was the Best of Teens, It Was the Worst of Teens
It was 4:20 and the teens felt great, man, but they also had impaired cognitive abilities. It was the post-9/11 era, the effects of which were being felt in increasingly tragic and bizarre ways. It was the season of light beer, the season of darkness, the season of hope. Teens were on Cloud 9, teens were going to Heaven, and the two things may have been related becauseCloud 9 was a synthetic drug sending Michigan’s youth to the hospital. History was changing, literally. In Colorado, AP US history students protested a conservative school board’s plan to emphasize “topics that promote citizenship, patriotism, and respect for authority.” It was a time a lot like the past; there was a new Bill & Ted’s movie planned and another sequel to Dumb and Dumber, featuring original stars Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels.
Does technology shape the culture, or does the culture shape technology? The answer to most questions is, “It’s complicated.” Yik Yak didn’t help us write this column and it was unclear if teenagers, “less concerned about privacy and data security than others,” would take tonewly-launched anti-Facebook social network Ello. Internet consumption was still high, though, as was consumption of the “rave drug Molly.” That’s why a father shared a photo of his daughter on life support, following her attendance at a Denver rave. “This could be your child. Mine was responsible and did well in school. These raves are death peddlers.” Snapchat remained a popular way for teenagers to run afoul of the law. A Wyoming high school student took a selfie whilst giving a boy oral sex and now persons who shared the image could be charged for having child pornography. Two girls were kidnapped at knifepoint after sneaking out of a slumber party. Depending on how you look at things, cell phones either helped them to safety or allowed thousands of people to listen to their harrowing post-escape 911 call.
Teenagers Aren’t Any Crazier Than They Used to Be
As someone who writes a weekly column dedicated to Americans between the ages of 13 and 19, a lot of people think I consider myself some sort of teen expert. I don’t. I’m just a man who believes that our awkward youth warrant attention. After all, teens are what keep culture moving forward. Mostly, though, my feelings about them roughly echo those novelist Teju Cole expresses about American sentimentality in his unforgettable series of tweets on the White Savior Industrial Complex: I deeply respect teens, the way one respects a wounded hippo. You must keep an eye on them, for you know they are deadly.
VICE: I write a weekly column about teenagers, but I’m really just an amateur scholar. You’re billed as a teen expert. What does that entail, exactly?
Dr. Melissa Deuter: I’ve been a psychiatrist for ten years. I primarily treat teenagers and I write a blog. A lot of what I do is for parents, because the parents are the ones seeking information about how they can improve things in the family.
One common sentiment is that today’s kids are so much worse than generations past. Have you noticed a decline in behavior among teens, both in the ten years that you’ve been practicing and also in comparison with your own youth?
No, I don’t think kids these days are any different than kids when I was a teenager. I think parents are different, and cultural expectations are different, and the way we teach kids and supervise is different. For example, teenagers now have been supervised more heavily. When I was a kid, I’m not going to say I walked up the hill both ways in the snow, but I walked a mile to school with my siblings, unsupervised. That was common and people weren’t scared about doing that. Now most kids spend most of their time directly in contact with adults who supervise them. That changes how they behave and how they relate to adults but I don’t think kids themselves are inherently different. It’s just that when you change the soil, the plant looks a little different.
In your mind, there are more restrictions on kids now?
There’s more supervision; I don’t know if it’s restrictive. When I was a kid, there was a lot more time that kids played with other kids and adults weren’t overseeing them. Maybe the parents now are overseeing kids and really letting them do a lot of things, but the parents are there. That wasn’t the case a generation ago.
So there’s less independence.
You have a lot less independence. They talk about entitlements. 20-year-olds are now going into the work place, being difficult or wanting their hand held. A lot of those differences come directly out of always being supervised.
Florida Teenagers Got Caught in a Snapchat-Fueled Robbery – This Week in Teens
Summer break sounds amazing in June, but by August the teens have grown restless. They’re broke, they’ve got all these hormones that they can’t properly act on, and Mom’s at work. Today’s teens are left at home with little more than technology and other teens to keep them company. It’s with this sense of boredom and the possibility of danger in mind that we turn to our top story This Week in Teens.
A 15-year-old boy in Florida got a Snapchat of his cousin holding a stack of cash, so he and four of his friends decided to rob his cousin’s house. They would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for his cousin’s pesky dogs, and the fact that the rest of his family was home. The teens ran from the house, taking a laptop with them, but were caught by police—because that’s what happens when your aunt sees you robbing her house. This story is truly a perfect encapsulation of the way teens live now. The traditional teen traits of confusion-fueled idiocy and responding to the pressures of capitalism with petty crime are compounded by technology. Snapchat, an app that’s wildly popular among young people, is being valued at around $10 billion. Teens are an instrumental part of the app’s success, so there’s a certain poetry in the idea that the app is inspiring them to commit crimes for cash.
Check out the rest of This Week in Teens
This Week in Teens: Michael Brown Is Dead and Now We Know Who Killed Him
Have you read Nietzsche? Teens love the guy. I’m not super well versed in the German philosopher’s books, but I have read a few graphic tees with his picture on them, and from what I’ve picked up, the gist is that everything is inherently meaningless. So it goes with This Week in Teens, in which our only respite from the constant suffering around us is the comforting knowledge that life doesn’t have a purpose.
–America invented teenagers and apparently reserves the right to kill them, too. The biggest news this week—teen or otherwise—has been the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri. Police were quick to defend the act, while witnesses say that Brown didn’t do anything to provoke police, and was shot multiple times “until he just dropped down to the ground and his face just smacks the concrete.” Protests over the killing were countered by a militarized police force, complete with SWAT gear and armored vehicles. The incident has been covered from every angle: how Ferguson is America’s latest racial hotspot; how this represents a sort of Chekhov’s (military-grade machine) gun and the inevitable conclusion of post-9/11 defense spending; how eight unarmed teens are still at large; and how white people in suburban St. Louis don’t give a shit.
It took a bunch of protests for Ferguson police to name Darren Wilson as the officer who killed Michael Brown, which they finally did Friday morning. Police also released a report saying that Brown was a suspect in a “strong-arm robbery” of a box of Swisher Sweets cigars, and that Wilson was responding to the crime when Brown was killed. Whether Brown actually shoplifted is unknown at this point, not that it would in any way justify his death. All that’s clear is that we’re in a pretty terrible place right now, and there is no obvious path for things to get much better.
This Week in Teens: Are America’s Teenagers Setting Themselves on Fire?
Teens are America’s greatest natural resource. They’re full of new ideas, smarter than ever, and not yet racked with cynicism and guilt. Some of the best things we’ve got—rock ‘n’ roll, energy drinks, hickeys—wouldn’t exist today were it not for teen demand. Not to mention that teens are sustainable; left unchecked, they’ll create more teens just over a dozen years. And yet, to reference a perennial college freshman favorite, the teens they are a-changin’.
The global recession hit those on the low end of the socioeconomic spectrum the hardest. Part time employment and summer jobs are now harder to come by. Consequently, teen purchasing power is on the decline. Plus, teens are good at streaming things for free, and Macklemore made them think used clothes are funny, so they have less incentive to buy new things. At this point, it’s baby boomers who have the real discretionary income. As marketers catch up to this shift, the prized demographic will become those over 55. Our nation’s youth will be forced to adapt to their ever-evolving circumstances. Will teenage ingenuity emphasize their continued relevance? Or will our younger siblings collapse into a messy room of hormones, broken curfews, and not-yet-illegal drugs? It is with this background in mind that we launch a new column: This Week in Teens.
Talking heads are going nuts over the Fire Challenge. Photo via YouTube
-If there’s one thing teens love, it’s trends. And if there’s one thing local news stations love, it’s scaring people who think they might come into contact with teenagers (this is easy to do as teens are inherently terrifying). Combining these two passions is this week’s top news story: Teens are taking off their shirts, standing in the shower, pouring flammable liquids on their chests, and lighting themselves on fire. Sometimes the teens start flapping around—because of the fire, remember—before they can turn on the shower, and then the flames spread to their shorts or the shower curtain and they end up in the hospital with severe burns. It’s called the Fire Challenge mom, and it’s all done in the name of internet fame.
The Story of Colorado’s DIY Skater Tattoo Parlor
No Class is a DIY tattoo parlor run by skater Jesse Brocato from his living room in Fairplay, Colorado. Every tattoo from No Class is free, provided you’re at least halfway tanked when you start laying the ink on yourself. Which I think explains why the place is starting to pick up some steam among the skating community.
On a recent skate trip to Colorado, I visited No Class and had a chat with Brocato.
VICE: How did you guys get started?
Jesse Brocato: It all started one night when we found out that our friend Shane had a tattoo gun. We told him to bring it over, and he thought he was going to tattoo us, but we were like, “Fuck, give us that,” and we started tattooing ourselves.
That night I fell in love. I was like, “I’m never paying for a tattoo again.” Everyone pays thousands of bucks to get these fancy tattoos. The idea behind No Class is, why would you want a fancy tattoo when you could have a shitty ghetto tattoo?
And it took off from there?
Well, I used to make moonshine, so we’d get drunk on moonshine and then just start tattooing ourselves. Then we started buying more equipment online. Now we have three set-ups. People see our work, and they want a shitty tattoo too. I tell them they have to do it themselves. That’s what No Class is all about.
Is it hard to get the hang of it?
It took us a little while. In the beginning, we’d have the needle set way too far out, like a quarter inch, and I was going so deep it stopped the machine like a lawnmower in thick grass. It just destroyed the bone and took forever to heal. You start digging and it ends up looking like hamburger meat. You lay in all that ink, and then it heals up scarred and white.
Anything else you had to learn?
Pick the cat hair off the needle.
Does that “sterilize” it?
I mean, maybe I would have to read a little on bacteria and all that, but whatever, what we do is just hook it up and do it. We don’t share needles or anything like that. I mean, it’s happened, but you really shouldn’t do that. You think you’re clean, but you never know what you have. Somebody that actually tattoos would probably freak out if they came up here, but that’s part of it, part of the “fuck it” attitude of No Class. None of us has swelled up yet.
The Sad Demise of Nancy Lee, One of Britain’s Young Ketamine Casualties
Ketamine is that crazy wobbly-leg drug. The wacky-student drug, the post-club chill-out aid, the new-gen LSD that gives users the power to become—according to 1970s K-hole explorer and dolphin whisperer John C. Lilly—“peeping toms at the keyhole of eternity.” But its reputation as a popular recreational drug, since filtering into the mainstream via the gay-clubbing and free-party scenes in the 2000s, does not tell the whole story of what’s going on in modern British K-land.
Apart from a brief paragraph in the Brighton Argus’s obituary column, Nancy Lee’s drug death went unreported. There was no shock factor: She hadn’t collapsed in public from a toxic reaction to a pill or a line of powder in a club. Instead, at the age of 23, Nancy had died slowly over seven years, her body trashed by a steady diet of ketamine.
Nancy started using ketamine at age 16 when she made new friends. Most teenagers getting high in the local Brighton park were necking cider and smoking skunk, but Nancy and her group of indie-kid outsiders used the open spaces to take ketamine. It was cheap, at 12 grams for about $150, and, important for Nancy, it transported her away from real life.
“She was sensitive and very caring, but Nancy was a misfit,” her father Jim, a college lecturer, told me. “She was bullied at school because of a bad squint and for being a tomboy. She had a victim mentality, a feeling that the world was against her.” It’s just that Nancy ended up finding solace in ketamine. “If someone were to design the perfect drug for a teenager who is depressed and doesn’t have much money, this would be it,” Jim said.