As a cocksure leader rather than a cock-dubious follower, I have always managed to buck the trends. (I have also managed to tuck the bends, at least back in my seafaring days when a little man-on-man action with a tattooed first mate by the name of Queequeg wasn't so frowned upon, but that's another story for another time.) When I was little and other kids shrieked Transformers to the heavens, I opted instead to study bird life in the back yard. Robots in disguise, my foot; Jesse from my soccer team, guess who just saw a Buff-Breasted Sandpiper? Later, when everyone was 'bout it 'bout it over some newfangled form of urban music known as "the hip-hop," I boldly stood up at assembly and said, "Nay, peers, this criminal music is nothing but a passing trend." And I was right. In high school, when girls were suddenly the hot commodity, to be chased and sexed up (if you were lucky), I'd have none of it. Have fun, I told my friends. I'll be watching cartoons in my parents' basement, softly weeping myself to sleep.
It was this same who-is-that-handsome-drifter-by-the-train-tracks-with-the-wind-in-his-hair-and-a-cigarette-in-his-lips-my-god-I-wish-I-could-change-him-but-I'd-be-a-fool-to-even-try attitude that made me initially resist myspace.com. For those of you still unfamiliar with myspace, here is a picture of a telescope. If the telescope were real, you would be able to gaze through it into the future and see a fantastic thing called "the Internet." It was invented by a former vice president whose name was Al Gore. He was very wooden. Can you see it? Don't be scared, clueless reader from the distant past; besides all the kiddie porn and recipes for bombs you can find there, the Internet is pretty harmless. It's really just a vast network of information that can be accessed from anywhere in the world -- well, anywhere the U.S. hasn't bombed into non-existence. Plus, the Internet allows you to communicate openly with anyone. It's like the world's biggest library and telephone service combined into one. A libraphone.
Within this Internet was a young visionary named Tom who decided to let people essentially create trading cards of themselves, then collect and trade those self-profiles with friends in a howling orgy of networking. Only in this scenario, soccer-team Jesse doesn't get to screw you out of all your Ken Griffey Jr. cards. In this scenario, you're the one who's in control.
Now Tom's a billionaire who sold his invention to a mogul named Rupert, and myspace is a real phenomenon. According to an article I either read or made up, something like ten hundred and fifty million gazillion new people join myspace every thirty seconds. Now even I'm on it! And if What's So Funny's down with a trend, you know that shit's the bomb. (Yes, I still occasionally use "bomb.") I currently have over 120 friends, and this time, Mother, not one of them is imaginary, so put that in your drive-me-to-therapy-three-times-a-week-just-because-I-drew-one-picture-of-a-guy-in-a-noose pipe and smoke it. Myspace is great. Not only can I keep in touch with friends and well-wishers, but I can also track down ex-girlfriends and threaten them. Boy, do they get nervous. With myspace, everybody wins.
Except Colorado teenagers, of course.
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At Littleton High School, junior Bryan Lopez got all blog up in that ass when he wrote satirical commentary about his high school -- knocking the condition of the building, taking a few jabs at the staff -- and posted it on his myspace page. Lopez had made sure that no one could access his screed without a code, but someone with the code apparently copied the questionable text onto his own myspace page, whereupon it became public. A concerned parent saw Lopez's work, bitched to the school, and Lopez was suspended for fifteen days -- until the American Civil Liberties Union intervened, speaking softly and carrying a you're-all-fucking-crazy-there's-a-thing-called-the-First-Amendment stick, and the school reversed its decision.
It's not likely that Evergreen High School will do the same. A student there was promptly suspended after someone saw that Johnny McGunsalot had posted a photograph of himself with a gat on his myspace page. And not only was Johnny suspended, but he was arrested and charged with three misdemeanor counts for being a juvenile in possession of a handgun. I wonder if he'll send out e-vites to the trial?
Then, at Overland High School, upstart Sean Allen recorded his teacher ranting about Bush, narced him out and birthed a shitstorm. But what should appear on Allen's myspace page? Little Sean doing standup comedy, waxing controversial on candy bars, fat chicks and killing Jehovah's Witnesses. Free speech just became a tricky two-way street, didn't it?
What Sean didn't realize was that, like everything, myspace has its benefits and its drawbacks. On the one hand, you can write whatever you want to -- but on the other hand, it's not private like a diary: People read it. On that first hand, you can stalk and threaten ex-girlfriends on myspace -- but on that other hand, you can't openly carry firearms. My advice is to approach this double-edged sword with common sense and caution. And also, if someone requests that he be added as a friend to your page, don't wait like two weeks to respond. That's just fucking rude. It's selfish and it's rude. Becky.