Should Teens Be Arrested for the Stupid Things They Say on Social Media?
On Sunday morning, a Dutch teenager named Sarah made one of the most disastrous attempts to be funny on Twitter in history. The 14-year-old girl, whose now-suspended handle was @QueenDemetriax_, decided it would be a good idea to tweet “hello my name’s Ibrahim and I’m from Afghanistan. I’m part of Al Qaida and on June 1st I’m gonna do something really big bye [sic]” at the official account of American Airlines, which responded with an ominous “Sarah, we take these threats very seriously. Your IP address and details will be forwarded to security and the FBI.”
Naturally, she freaked like the kid in trouble she was, tweeting panicked messages to @AmericanAir that she was “kidding,” “joking,” “scared,” “not from Afghanistan,” and “just a girl” who “never did anything wrong” in her life. She briefly paused to take stock of her fame (“Over 2,000 RTs what”) before she was identified by Dutch police, turned herself infor making a false report, and was brought to a court hearing before being released.
It’s not clear that she’ll face criminal charges, but in the wake of her jokey “threat” came a storm of copycats tweeting warnings to American Airlines (and Southwest Airlines, for whatever reason); it was sort of like that scene in Spartacus except much, much stupider. Articles about this hot new teen trend generally took pains to castigate young twitterers like@twerkcunt for their poor choice of prank. Writing for the Washington Post’s style blog, Caitlin Dewey made sure everyone knew that this kind of trolling was NOT COOL, KIDS:
We hardly need reiterate the problems with this kind of thing: Airlines need to take threats seriously, no matter how silly they seem, which means a lot of airline employees (and presumably, police and security and FBI) are spending a lot of time tracking down nuisance threats, as well.
Leaving aside, for a minute, the vast waste of taxpayer money and manpower that represents, there’s another more ground-level problem here: This trolling completely destroys whatever incentives airlines have to engage with their customers on Twitter.
I would argue that if federal agents spent any time whatsoever tracking down Twitter user @comedybatman or the kids making “I think you guys are THE BOMB”–related puns, the resulting waste of taxpayer money is on them, not the trolling teens. But more importantly, the knee-jerk reaction here—tut-tutting at some kids for having some fun making incredibly distasteful jokes—distracts from the actual problem of teens getting arrested, or suspended or expelled from school, for things they’ve posted to social media.
1. When I was in high school I kept my porn in a white box. Inside the box was a stack of magazines—almost entirely Playboys, because I liked the clean stuff—as well as a purple folder full of the images I liked best, so that I could spread them out on my bedroom floor and sit in the middle of them, kind of like a crude manual version of Tumblr.
2. The internet really changed the way people masturbate. Today, if you want to see someone naked you just press the buttons and poof, there’s a boob. But as a teenager I remember thinking of pictures of naked women as a kind of secret relic, something you had to search out, anticipate and covet, which made them that much better when you got them.
3. I saw my first porn magazine in fourth grade when some kids in my class were passing one around under the lunch table. I remember feeling a weird sense of doom, like I was going to get caught the second I touched the paper, even though everyone else was laughing about it. I’m not sure what magazine it was, but the pictures were of naked women holding automatic weapons, dressed up like military personnel. I remember the feeling of seeing more than I actually saw.
4. The kid who owned that magazine briefly ran a business where you could buy a page out of other, similar magazines for a dollar. He carried them around in a duffel bag with a padlock on it. They were his dad’s magazines, he said, and there were more where those came from, if you had the money. I never bought one. Eventually he was caught and suspended.
5. I used to occasionally go to work with my dad. I remember feeling an insane sense of agency whenever he would stop at this one gas station that had a rack of tattoo magazines with tits in them. I would stand in front of the rack and wait until I knew I had half a second with no one watching, and then I would open the magazine as if I didn’t mean to, in case someone caught me. So instead of full visions, I caught flashes and tried to embed them deep in my memory so that I would be able to see them for a long time afterward whenever I shut my eyes.
6. A very brief, insanely vivid memory from when I was probably four or five, of picking up a magazine my dad’s friends were passing around at a camp in the woods, and the men laughing as my dad took it away from me before I could see. I remember my uncle saying something to the effect of, “one day you can have that,” and everyone laughing. I don’t remember many other things from that early stage in my life.
Smoking Coffee to Get High Will Make You Feel Like Shit
If you’re in the minority of teenagers without access to pot, you’re liable to do some pretty stupid shit to catch a buzz. Lately, the parent-fear-machine, aka the internet, has been ablaze with warnings about kids smoking coffee grounds. The side effects of ingesting caffeine in this fashion include convulsions, diarrhea, dizziness, hallucinations, vomiting, fever, and a bunch of other scary nonsense that has little to do with the method of ingestion. This potentially fake fad is nothing new; in 2011 a Reddit user outlined his experiences as a bean-head, and a post on Erowid from 2007 summed up the stupidest way to consume caffeine. Obviously, I had to try it out. Luckily for my dumb ass, my friend Elizabeth was there to both capture the magic and call an ambulance if I started hallucinating and shitting uncontrollably.
First we scoured YouTube for tutorials, and after stumbling across multiple videos of grade school-aged children rolling coffee joints using Post-It notes and cotton balls (unfortunately taken down), I realized that it was up to me to blaze the trail. As a veteran smoker, I started with the classic: a spliff.
I pulled out my coffee grinder, cigarettes, rolling papers, a cotton ball, and George W. & Laura Bush rolling tray, and I mixed a hefty portion of ground hazelnut flavored dark roast in with my tobacco. I managed to roll one of my least impressive spliffs to date, complete with a homemade filter, because despite the years of abuse my lungs have suffered in the name of “chillin’ balls”, I still wasn’t quite ready to subject them to something I had just watched a child almost vomit from without the benefit of a barrier.
Out on the balcony, I shouted “TURN UP!”, lit the tip, and took my first drag. I thought I could make out the faintest hint of hazelnut, but beyond the artificial flavoring, there wasn’t much of a difference from a regular cigarette. Perhaps I hadn’t used enough grounds. I rolled a second spliff with twice the fun, and went for a hefty pull, expecting to come up heaving. Surprisingly, the smoke came in smooth, although a bit bitter and lacking in any recognizable coffee taste. I felt stupid and Elizabeth asked if this was supposed to make me hallucinate. I didn’t think so, but I was truly hoping it would help clear a two-day blockage in my lower intestines. I felt a little lightheaded.
As any self-disrespecting toker, I was anxious to kick it up a notch, so I grabbed my vape pen and did my best to clean out the remaining wax before filling it up with some finely milled Turkish coffee my grandmother had given me before going on vacation. I hope she never reads this.
Young Love Fucks Us All: How I Got Over My Youth of Depression and Bad Relationships
Young love is a business. Adult women are sold it in films like Twilight, The Notebook, andRomeo + Juliet and buy into the fairytale for two hours while putting themselves in the shoes of Kristen Stewart, Rachel McAdams, or Claire Danes, or whoever is falling deeply for the boy promising her everything. The disconnect between what’s happening on screen and what happens to them in real life never appalls them. Men may watch different movies, but their perspective on love and relationships is no better. Though they often feign cynicism and pretend young love barely even exists, that’s merely a stance that allows them to deny they’ve been hurt by their early relationships.
It’s in this period of young love that many of our wounds and insecurities are created—the same wounds and insecurities that keep us from finding a present-day love to make us happy. Perhaps if we found it easier to look back, we’d find it easier to heal those wounds and move on with our lives. We don’t because we’re afraid to—but why? Is it the memory of what some boy or girl did to us? Or is it the memory of having once been so earnest—of having promised the world not just to these boys or girls but to ourselves, before work, money, and real commitments came along to crush us?
Is it young love we’re afraid of, or having once been young? I decided to retrace my first clumsy romantic steps in an attempt to find out.
Denmark’s Controversial Teenage Muslim Superstar Poet
Yahya Hassan is an 18-year-old Muslim Palestinian immigrant to Denmark who has become a social critic, celebrity writer, and general shit-stirrer—all thanks to a slim volume of poetry. Since the release of his self-titled debut collection in October, he’s been all over the Danish media, at least in part due to his subject matter. His poetry, written in all caps in Danish, is full of rage directed at his parents’ generation, a group of Muslims he accuses of hypocrisy and abandoning their children. He’s penned lines like:
YOU YOU’RE A MUSLIM? / YOU YOU DON’T KNOW/ IF YOU WANT HALAL OR HARAM / YOU YOU KNOW YOU WANT HARAM / BUT YOU YOU PRETEND YOU WANT HALAL / YOU YOU DON’T WANT PIG / MAY ALLAH REWARD YOU FOR YOUR FOOD HABITS.
Some of his poetry documents an abusive childhood; Yahya grew up in a poor neighborhood of Aarhus, and flirted with crime from an early age. He blames much of that on his mother and father. “As soon as our parents landed in Copenhagen airport it felt as if their role as parents was coming to an end,” Yahya told the Danish newspaper Politiken in the interview, published on October 5, that turned him into a teenage social commentator.
A Woman in Alabama Tried to Get Toilet Paper Off Her House by Setting It on Fire
Cheryl Crausewell, of Dora, Alabama attempted, with the help of her son, to clean up her toilet-papered house on Monday afternoon. A persistent piece of toilet paper was stuck in a magnolia tree, so they tried a little of nature’s Hoover: fire. Now they have a burned down house, and the kids who TP’d their house over the weekend are, one assumes, getting laid non-stop.
Crausewell gave a moment-by-moment breakdown of the incident to a TV news crew, which I will paraphrase below:
They were out cleaning up their home that had been, in Alabama parlance, “rolled,” along with other houses in the Hickory Ridge community of Dora. They’d done a pretty satisfactory job, but there’s always that little bit left in the magnolia isn’t there?