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Friday fun update: "Look at what the kids are doing!"
The media have long been suckers for a good panic
Given that this newsletter can be pretty heavy at times, I thought I’d try to lighten it up now and again with some Friday fun fare.
To kick things off, this latest silly, overblown outrage over what the kids have been doing online — they’re apparently really into Osama these days — reminded me that I used to keep a file of ridiculous reports designed to scare the crap out of parents. And anyone else who might be watching. I started collecting them for a talk I’d give to journalism students.
Your kid might be setting fire to those horrible tart candy pellets. Maybe to smoke them, but more likely to protest whatever cheap jerk gave them out at Halloween.
Lock up the pantry. The kids are smoking nutmeg. Looking back, I wonder if nutmeg wasn’t just a gateway to the pumpkin spice epidemic.
In which Oprah launches an urban legend about middle school sex parties. In this clip she also introduces her audience to the term “tossing salad.”
Islam is the light
A toy doll coos, a mom hears a call to jihad. Story at 11.
The Nintendo DS — fun gaming device, or the pedophile’s weapon of choice?
There’s a long history of hysterical people worry about how tech-savvy pedophiles will next target your kids next. This local reporter — STOP THE MUSIC — thinks it might be by texting (or at least an early version of it) during an intense game of Mario Kart.
A reporter asks kids hard-hitting questions like, “How did you feel cutting his head off?”
Teens be angsty! I especially like that this is an “undercover report” — by which I mean a reporter brought a microphone and camera to shows by local bands aspiring to one day open for Fall Out Boy.
“The character known as Pedobear has popped up in the city, and parents need to be on guard.” Needless to say, these local authorities and hard-scrabble reporters slightly misunderstood what Pedobear was about.
A comic book store accidentally sold a kid a comic with some boobs in it. Where’s Moms for Liberty when you need them?
“The urban underground beats of Oakland brought to the mean streets of Bellevue.”
Possibly my all-time favorite. This one hit local news outlets around the country. The claim: Your kids are getting high by huffing poop. Human poop.
It would be a pretty sweet deal for prosecutors. We could all be charged with manufacturing the stuff.
Another all-time classic. Free tip for all you iDrug dealers — make the first download free. That’s how you hook them.
Kids were apparently soaking tampons in vodka, then inserted them into their vaginas and rectums. Also known as “butt chugging.” (Though if you know your local news panic vernacular, butt chugging can also refer other means of ingesting alcohol through the rectum, such as with an enema.) I mean, sure. I guess this could happen. But why not just drink it?
This one also spread all over the country. A sheriff in Tennessee would later claim that if the state finally allowed grocery stores to start selling wine, we’d see an epidemic of this sort of thing. Even though there was precisely one documented incident of this ever happening. And it happened at a fraternity in Tennessee. When it was still illegal to sell wine in grocery stores.
That kid also denied the story, though he also declined to explain why he showed up at an ER with a .45 BAC and a bloody bottom. He also held a press conference in which his attorney assured everyone that his client isn’t gay. Phew!
As far as I know, there has never been another incident. So if y’all are ingesting wine or vodka through your naughty bits, you’re clearly doing it responsibly.
Finally, here’s a pretty good SNL parody of the genre:
What did I miss?