I am not a parent. I don’t have children. I don’t have a daughter. As a non-parent that means that I am lucky enough to have gone through life without hitting that little bit of brain damage that makes you forget everything you thought as a teenager so that you can feel comfortable lying to your children. You know the lies I mean… well, maybe you don’t. Maybe you have children and so you’ve forgotten your younger years and don’t realize the lies. But I’m talking about the ones where you say “I never did that when I was your age,” or “this is for your own good” or “this hurts me more than it hurts you.” You know… Lies!
But that brain damage also makes you forget the one surefire truth you knew when you were a teenager. Parents are idiots and assholes.
I saw someone post a video to Facebook yesterday. The webpage link was the super enticing “He Is About To Rape A Girl He Met On Facebook. But Watch What Happens When Her Parents Show Up!” (yeah…. I know… lovely) and my Facebook friend’s accompanying status update was something like “this is powerful and every parent should show it to their children.” As I said, I have no children so I was like +5 on my d20 saving throw vs. click bait and I ignored it and went on my way. A little later I saw a second person (that the first person doesn’t know) link to it with a similar status update and so I realized “gee, I guess this thing might go viral. I suppose I ought to watch it just to see what it is.”
I’d like to say it’s what I thought it was going to be. I thought it would maybe be some really horrible skit starring Z-list “actors” where a girl was parking in front of her house after a date with the captain of the football team and maybe the boy was trying to get a little too fresh, but she’s not that type of girl, she’s saving herself for marriage, but he won’t take no for an answer and he gets all handsy but just then the parents show just in the nick of time. Maybe dad beats the boy up with some classic fight choreography just a little less realistic than Dolemite and in the end the would-be date rapist is overcome by the virtue of the young lady and her father’s love for him so he finds Jesus and devotes himself to becoming a better person by passing out Jack Chick tracts or bombing Planned Parenthoods or something. You know… the Lord’s work.
That would have been so much better….
Nope, instead I got this:
Yep… that was worse. For those who don’t want to bother to watch the whole video, let me recap the plot. There’s this DudeBro named Coby Persin, he came up with this wonderful idea to teach underaged girls the dangers of hooking up with strangers on the internet. He made a fake profile for himself where he claimed to be fifteen. Then he picked three girls, aged 12-14 and friended them with the express purpose of getting them to fall for him and lure them into his kidnapping/rape van. Don’t worry though, because he totally went and talked the plan over with all their parents first, and for some reason, rather than having him arrested immediately, the parents basically said “fuck yeah, catfish my daughter, Bro! Teach the little bitch a lesson! That will be awesome!” Then he spent a week flirting with the girls online (because that’s totally not creepy at all) until he gained their trust enough to get them to agree to sneak out behind their parent’s back so they could come to his rape van to bang. But when the girls get to the rape van it turns out not only is much older looking than in his profile pic, but there’s also a couple other people in ski masks in the back to grab the girl and give her a heart attack. Then, after she’s shit herself, they pull off the masks and surprise it’s mom and dad! And of course they’re super disappointed in her, so they yell at her and make her cry so they can post it to YouTube so that she learns her lesson and never puts herself in the position to be raped by talking to boys on the internet ever again! The End!
I was kinda disgusted by it, but at first I just kind of ignored it and let it go. Then I saw a third person post it. And again, with the same basic message “This is very powerful. I showed it to my kids tonight and so should you!” And yep, we’re totally in viral territory now. I did a check of the blogosphere and it seems to be making the rounds, especially on the mommy blog circuit. So I figured I might as well say the things that bother me about it.
First, I’ll I want to start with who Coby Persin is. I mean, beyond a 21-year-old DudeBro who just wants to keep your daughters safe. See, I recognized him from another video I saw on YouTube and I couldn’t figure out from where, so I went to his YouTube page and that’s when I remembered. See, this isn’t Coby’s first video. He’s a career YouTube prankster. And I remembered him making the rounds with this video a few months ago.
So that you don’t have to bother to watch that one all the way through, the storyline there is that he’s walking around the city in standard DudeBro attire and he walks up to some random girl on the street who is minding her business and doing her homework. He sits down next to her and asks for her number and asks him out. She uses the “I’m sorry, I have a boyfriend” defense to ward off his advances and he leaves. Then Coby comes back, with a change of clothes to a nice suit, with his hair styled in a lovely rockstar pompadour, riding in a limo and with an entourage of half a dozen other DudeBros in black “SECURITY” T-shirts. He gets out of the car and is swarmed by a bunch of extras who have his 8×10. He signs several of them and poses for selfies with people. Study girl, seeing all the commotion comes over to investigate and once she sees that he’s a celebrity asks for a selfie herself. He agrees and she kisses him to take the pic. He says he likes her approach and asks if she wants to come to his hotel and hang out. She says sure, so he asks for her number. She gives it to him and he says “but don’t you have a boyfriend?” and she tells him no. BOOM! “I got you! I was just over there in different clothes and you asked for your number and you said no. But now you want me because you know I’m famous. I don’t like gold diggers! Later!”
The lesson: “Bitches be trippin’, yo!” How dare a woman turn down a DudeBro, lying to him about a boyfriend, and then be willing to go out with a celebrity! She must be a gold digger (she ain’t messin with no broke n— go head girl, go head get down!), because you know, it’s not like there’s anyone out there who just doesn’t DudeBros. Everybody loves DudeBros!
Oh, and he made this video
where he teaches you to get hot girls to let you borrow their phone, so you can “call your friend” since your phone died, but you actually call yourself, so now you have their number. It works all the time, because “Bitches be stupid, yo!”
And he also made this video
where he teaches you to get any hot girl on the street to make out with you. All you need is a single $50 bill and two trick double-sided coins and a video camera. Then you go up to random hot girls and offer them a bet. If they can correctly guess heads or tails on the next coin-flip they get the $50, otherwise they owe you a kiss. Since the coins are fixed they never win and you get all the kisses! Cuz you know, “bitches be greedy… and stupid.”
But you know, he wants to help you protect your daughters. There are predators out there. I mean, he’d know… he basically is one. Seriously, in five years, he’s totally going to be walking up to her on the street and trying to shame her into hooking up with him and his fellow DudeBros to avoid being shallow or tricking her into letting him shove his tongue down her throat because she lost a coin flip bet. After all, it’d be a shame if they were so traumatized by a childhood date rape that they were unwilling to hook up with random DudeBros once they are legal.
The thing is, I think the people calling his message “powerful” have their hearts in the right place. Maybe even Coby does… but Coby had his heart in the right place with the Gold Digger video too. Sort of…. I guess.
The problem is, as I said in the beginning, having children apparently damages your brain and makes you forget what it was actually like to be a teenager. If you’re old enough to have a teenaged daughter right now, that means you’re at least in your 30s, if not your 40s or 50s. So if you think back to when you were a teen in the 60s-90s, you’ll remember that you were forced to watch stuff like this too. It’s just that it wasn’t about internet predators. Because you’re fucking old, and there wasn’t an Internet back in the stone age. But the specific message behind the video isn’t really important. It’s essentially a “scared straight” video.
We’ve all seen these. Remember back in health class? We watched these videos that told us the dangers of drugs, alcohol and sex. We learned the horrible terrifying consequences of drugs. If you ever ever ever ever EVER take one hit off a joint, you’ll end up doing heroin within a week and the next thing you know you’re blowing homeless dudes in a back alley for enough chain to buy some baking soda to snort before you turn to a life of crime. Nancy Regan wants you to “Just Say No!” Or maybe you saw the ACTUAL Scared Straight!, where a bunch of convicts with names like Viper, Bloodskull and T-Bone yell at teens to frighten them onto the path of the straight and narrow by telling them if they don’t they’ll end up behind bars with them, which will be just great, because T-Bone totally needs a new bitch and you have a nice tight little ass! Even if you never saw the original Scared Straight, that’s fine because Maury and Sally Jessie did an episode with this same basic plot once a week (sometimes it might be a drill sergeant that was going to sodomize you instead of a convict… because you know, gotta keep things fresh for sweeps week).
You remember those! And afterwards, you and your friends went home to hang out in the basement and share a joint while laughing about it before you went out to try and find some girls and get laid?
See, scared straight videos don’t work. Because teenagers are smart and they know parents are idiots and assholes. In the history of the world, no one was ever scared away from the dangers of drugs, sex or alcohol by one of these videos. Either you made fun of them while getting high, or you didn’t experiment with any of those things because you were a nerd. But even the nerds knew the videos were ridiculous. They just talked about the ridiculousness over Dungeons and Dragons games instead of weed. (By the way, Yes, I know this is a false dichotomy… you can tell by the way I made the saving throw joke before.)
Parents don’t know this is ridiculous. Coby’s cat fishing video has gotten over 13 million hits (and 63,000 likes) in the past two days since he posted it. The story has been picked up by dozens and dozens of news outlets around the country. It has taken the mommy blogging world by storm, and in fact I was only able to find one mommy blogger who was critical of it, and even she didn’t seem to bother to see what Coby’s other DudeBro videos were about. She was more concerned with the ineffectiveness of it.
There’s been tons of psychological research into Just Say No/Scared Straight programs. Best case scenario, they are completely ineffective. Worse case scenario, they actually make the kids much more likely to fall victim to the things you’re trying to scare them away from, possibly up to 30% more likely. There are lots of reasons for this. For one, teenagers are not adults, but they aren’t children either. Logically speaking most 15-year-old boys that you meet on the internet are not secretly 21-year-old BroDude rapists. Certainly more of them are than there should be, but most aren’t. Teens know this. And really, if you play the law of averages, most of the time it probably turns out ok. Obviously, the one time it doesn’t is really bad, and that’s what parents are worried about. But when it doesn’t happen 99% of the time, it calls into question any video like Coby’s that makes it look like there’s a rapist waiting to abduct you around every corner. So the fact that your parents believe there is (because they must since they showed you this video) really reinforces the belief you already have that they’re idiots.
Second, is the underlying message of this video. At the end of the day, no matter what the altruistic intentions were, what these parents actually did was set up their daughters to be catfished by a 21-year-old BroDude and then helped him set them up for a traumatizing rape scenario, berated them for being stupid enough for falling for it, and then posted the whole thing to the internet where a million mommy bloggers reforwarded it as an example of good parenting. In other words, OH MY GOD PARENTS ARE FUCKING ASSHOLES!!! If I were thinking about putting myself in a situation which maybe was raising a red flag, or worse something bad like a rape actually did happen to me, the parents in this video are the last people I’d want to talk to about it, and frankly, I wouldn’t be jazzed about talking to parent who showed me this video either.
Of course, I don’t have kids… so what do I know…