Art & Culture

This is a public service announcement: we need to stop rewarding bad behavior

What do Momo, Boonk gang and the Lufkin licker have in common?...

Will we as a society, ever question how our obsession with the obscure has caused just to catapult the most inexplicably detrimental and often than not, the nonsensical? Reportedly the urban legend, Momo is in preproduction for a feature film. The Hoax surfaced July 2018, where a number of reports surfaced of a doll like apparition appearing in children’s television and channels on the web commanding viewers to embark on several heinous challenges including (*TW*) self harm and violence against others. This quickly became “a worldwide phenomenon” and crises for children’s protection agencies, charities and criminal investigation’s bureaus intervened with cautionary warning on the triggering effects that this challenge could have on the children’s behavioral developments. Produces of The Ring and The Grudge, Takashige Ichise and Roy Lee have been nominated by Orion Pictures to produce a film based on the character. In addition, director Lilton Stewart III  is set to direct a movie with a similar plot to the original challenge, whereby a group of teens all seemingly disappear upon being told of the Momo tale.

It is relatively simple and rather mindless task to find yourself consumed by the strange and weird on the internet especially when that thing initially brings great joy and relief. We all have an oddball instagram account that we obsess over for their complete idiocy. 

However when you’re, say a comedian amor aspiring artist and competing on a arena dependent on the monetization of engagement through likes and views, it become increasingly  difficult to market yourself as anything other than your talent. Viral stardom, today is currency. When a 15 year old can attend Glastonbury, picked from the crowd to recite lyrics and overnight is offered endorsements and record deals there’s something to be said about the lengths that individuals would got through, talented or otherwise, to reach that same level of success. 

John Robert Hill is a Jacksonville native, who first appeared to our social conscious via Instagram. Hill was an aspiring rapper who reached unimaginable heights and amassed millions of followers. Widely known as Boonk, the aspiring artist turned internet buffoon. Boone would embark on a series of idiotic challenges oft coaxed by his fans and would perform (public) stunts such as going into fast food restaurants and damaging property, serving customers or exposing himself to passersby. Many can not name a Boonk Gang song, but, rest assured, they could describe a video to you. What begin as a harmless practical jokes quickly became a cause for concern as the rappers spectacles became noticeably clear of being fueled by drug abuse. After a video surfaced of Hill passing out during a live recording of his interview on the podcast No Jumper, the rapper was forced into obscurity and yet to be spoken of again… well, positively. This is the same precedence that allows for the spiraling of Daniel Hernandez (Tekashi69) ongoing racketeering and conspiracy to murder charges. Although the rapper had a previous gang afilliance, it wasn’t until FBI began tapping into the artists’ vocal and largely implicating social media accounts.

Recently, a video surfaced of a woman dubbed, the ‘LufkinLicker’ and her partner posts a video of herself licking a tub of ice cream before returning it in the freezer. Internet outrage ensued as it was later revealed that the young woman, who’s name cannot be disclosed, had in fact contracted the flu.  It was alleged that the minor would be facing up too 20 years if imprisonment if found, however upon her indictment, she will no longer serve a sentence but rather attend juvenile delinquents centre and be issued with community service. This practical joke led to a copycat offenders posting their own version of the spectacle.

These are just a few of the many incidents of stupidity that have littered the internet, by people desperately seeking clout. If we’re to be completely honest, if the Jeremy Meeks of society are anything to go by, what incentive really is there for this phenomena to stop?

12 July 2019