I watched Law & Order Criminal Intent last night. It was very interesting. It was about these young people who came up with an idea for a movie that was to be posted to the internet (like for YouTube, but they used another named website). The story these kids came up with was this young couple were in their apartment recording a video to be posted to the internet when a couple of thugs break into their apartment and suppossedly kidnap them, then demanded money to be posted to a paypal account online. The intent of these people was indeed to secure some actual cash, but the kidnapping and everything shown on the internet was scripted, suppossedly and they were all actors, playing their various parts. There was guns involved, all containing blanks, so when a scripted gun fight ensued, one of the kidnappers suppossedly gets shot but he ends up really dieing. The blank round in the gun actually killed him. And so it goes throughout the show, the police are watching the videos and they aren’t sure if everything is just fake and they shouldn’t worry about any of it, or if it all was real.
This all sounds very similar to the controversy surrounding lonelygirl15 on YouTube and the fact that this suppossed “real” 15 year old is actually a 19 year old actress. With the advent of YouTube and everything on it being “real”, people get it in their heads that anything they see on the intenet is real. It isn’t. There’s no rules or regulations or laws that says everything on the intenet is valid and real. People, you have to take EVERYTHING you see on the internet with some kind of a grain of salt here. Anyone can post anything they want…no regulations. I can post, if I want that I have a cure for cancer and the miracle is that you have to drink raw lemon juice for an entire month. If I make my website look at medically offical looking, and you Google the word Cancer and my “fake” website comes up, are you going to take what I have to say about curing cancer literally? I mean I can say that I’m a doctor whose done years and years of medical testing, and I can say that I have been a doctor for years and years. No one is going to check any of that. There is no governing body that is going to look at that site and say “its a fake” and make me take it down. Oh it may cause some kind of discussion on some forum hosted on some guys computer in South Africa, so who cares?
The point I’m trying to make is that not everything you see on the internet is real. Just because we would like to beleive what we see is indeed real, for the most part it likely isn’t. With the likes of YouTube becoming so popular and in a way legitimized (by being bought by Google), maybe we all should be taking what we see on it (and the interenet) in the same way we all suppossedly take watching TV, that for the most part, its all fake and/or scripted. I think when the writers of that Law & Order episode came up with the idea, they knew they were pushing the boundary with it. I mean a fake 15 year old, who cares, big deal, but a kidnapping, or murder, now there’s something a little more significant. It feels like we may be going towards the idea of a “snuff film” (which has been around since people started making movies), but with every freak who owns a video camera creating it and posting it to the internet. Whats scarey about all of this is that in a way, all of those actual freaks out there who do this kind of stuff will now have a venue to present their “work” to the world and no one will know any better for it. We will all be de-sensitized to it all so that when a real killer videos himself killing someone, we will all think it was just some scripted art project or something and nothing will be done about it.