Monday, June 16, 2008

Some painfully bad news quotes

Hmm, who can give the most stupidly over-the-top quotation in a news article?

From 6 months ago, we have, in the article Websites linked to series of young suicides, the following contenders:

British Labour MP Madeleine Moon worrying that Internet memorial sites for suicide victims are dangerous to our youth:
"What is concerning is that you're getting internet bereavement walls. That's not going to help anyone," she said.

"What people need is not to go into a virtual world of the internet to deal with emotional problems... They need to stay very much in this real world and talk to real people."

People: the Internet is part of reality. Deal with it.

From the same article, I do feel a bit that the unnamed police officer who got quoted was being pushed into providing something, anything, that fed the reporter's narrative. This was offered up as a reason to believe that, yes, the mere existence of a memorial to a dead friend on the Internet (as opposed to, say on a wall, at a grave, or any of the gazillion other ways that people's deaths have been memorialised since, well, ever) could be seen as a way in which the Internet encourages youth suicide:
"They may think it's cool to have a memorial website," an officer told The Times.

"It may even be a way of achieving prestige among their peer group."


But it's hard to top Russian state officials, whose "Concept for a State Policy in the Area of Spiritual and Moral Education of the Children of the Russian Federation and Protection of Their Morals" is awe-inspiringly bad. Nevermind the hysterical claim of Stanislav Govorukhin that "Today we have a lost generation of wandering morons whose parents’ moral vision was robbed by perestroika", it's in talking about goth and emo that things just get plain weird:
The drafters of the concept took a particular negative stance in regard to the Goth and emo youth subcultures, which are characterized by black clothing, piercings and a depressed outlook on reality. They authors compared the danger those subcultures hold for society to the dangers of skinheads, soccer hooligans, National Bolsheviks and even anti-fascists. Emo youths, according to the concept, “are subject to suicidal tendencies” and Goth children cultivate bisexuality. “The cost of the sexual services of an underage boy prostitute with Goth attributes is lower than for students in military schools but higher than for usual gay prostitutes,” the authors say, demonstrating their knowledge of life.

I suppose an anti-Western cultural backlash was inevitable (thank you so much, George W. Bush), but this kind of xenophobic outrage against "Western" concepts like emo and goth is downright scary.

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