When I have time to pay attention to what is happening out there in the cold, cruel world, I find that it is getting colder and crueler. As this is a holiday weekend, I do have the time, and a story I ran across is making my blood boil, but not because of what you might think.
A story I found in the Huffington Post describes the recent suicide of a 19 year old woman, a college student in Wisconsin by the name of Alyssa Funke. In the piece, the online bullying the young lady experienced is said to have driven her to suicide.
It is tragic what happened to that girl, but unfortunately her story is part of the human condition. I don’t want to seem callous, but there is nothing unique here. You would think Alyssa’s venture into porn, her exploitation by a loser, and her ultimate death would be the thing prompting the frustration and anger mentioned in the opening to this commentary. But since the news is full of such stories, I am saddened, but not ready to storm the barricades over her particular case.
What really makes does me mad is the response of the people who are party to the news story hosted by HuffPo. The “hand wringing” (and might I add “hand washing”) of these stakeholders is purely disgusting.
The messages coming from this report are incredible. “Ahhh, the poor girl was bullied and it led to her death,” seems to be the main thought.
However, these so-called adults are missing a lot. In the past cultures used to have what is known as “shame”. This tended to reign in aberrant behavior like prostitution, having sex outside of marriage, porn, etc.
Now there is no shame, that is until after a person kills herself as a result. This poor girl experiences shame as a result of her choices, kills herself, and it is the students at her former high school who mock her who are at fault?
What would have been better for Alyssa would have been if our culture still valued sexual morality and communicated to this young lady while she was still alive that a venture into porn was a road to disaster and to be frowned upon. Furthermore, it would have been better if she was told that if she did go down that reprehensible road, she would pay a price.
In the aftermath of her suicide, what would have also been better is for her former high school administrators to have made it clear to its current students that this young lady’s behavior, and theirs, was unacceptable and that they would be disciplined.
What was the high school’s response to learning of their students’ cyberbullying? A local reporter notes that the school’s has said (to paraphrase),”Why, we haven’t had any complaints of bullying, and oh, by the way, the girl is not a student here anymore.”
In addition to the neglect from the high school, the police have also proved worthless. They have issued a statement which said that they see no criminal behavior in the students’ actions. “Nothing to see here, folks, move along.”
Running for the high weeds is a common practice in America today. It is not only the high school which is tossing out the mantra of “we have no responsibility here and have nothing to do with it.” More than likely, in our lawsuit infected culture, their response is motivated by fear of legal action, perhaps by the family.
Then we have the public comments of Alyssa’s family. The parents have stated to the press that they believe it is the taunting on social media that drove Alyssa to suicide. The family should be given a pass at this time and any comments made by them put into context. They are grieving.
Even so, they are tossed out there in the HuffPo report as the typical sacrificial lamb. Of course, all parents bear some responsibility for how their kids are raised. Alyssa’s parents are shown by the report to be petty criminals, and the reporter states that Alyssa has had more of her share of a tough upbringing in her life.
However, it was a bit unseemly to hear once again a “subject matter expert” state that, yes, if you uncovered some of the family background, you would probably see some dysfunction there.
Guess what? If you look into all of our family backgrounds, you will see some dysfunction there. But not all of us are choosing to make porn movies or commit suicide when, surprise, surprise, our face and bodies are displayed all over the Internet and we are attacked because of it.
Apparently, Alyssa was shocked that her film was located by the high schoolers and she was singled out, since it was posted with a bunch of others. But, the naivete of the average young person should not catch us unawares.Unfortunately, there is no one it seems who cares very much about teaching girls like Alyssa the difference between right and wrong and educating them in what to expect when they tangle with evil.
The HuffPo story notes the contrast between Alyssa’s end and that of Miriam Weeks, a Duke university student who instead became a celebrity and did the talk show circuit because of her notoriety as a new porn star.
Miriam tells her interviewer that she’s just trying to make money and become empowered. Oh, she also nobly states that she is advocating rights for sex workers and trying to “break barriers”.
So not only is the porn industry NOT chastised by our culture and its purveyor of “truth”-the media. Porn is now glorified and seen as another way to make a buck and become successful. Why else was Miriam given air time?
The only person that actually comes out of the HuffPo report sounding halfway responsible is the same woman who made the remark about Alyssa’s dysfunctional family playing a role in her demise. This woman, Joyce Friedman, is involved in a non-profit organization trying to rescue people from the sex industry.
When she watches the tape, her experience tells her Alyssa is being manipulated by her porn producer like a pimp manipulates a prostitute. Friedman tells the reporter that girls like Alyssa just don’t “get” the consequences of becoming involved in the porn industry on their futures.
Stories like those of Alyssa confirm to me that our culture has gone to hell in a hand basket. This conclusion on my part is not novel. Pop stars and priests are singing this tune, also.
A song currently in the top ten of the American Top 40 describes what happens to an evil culture that is suddenly caught and stopped in time for all to see. Its lyrics tell of the end of Pompeii.
“I was left to my own devices
Many days fell away with nothing to show
And the walls kept tumbling down
In the city that we love
Great clouds roll over the hills
Bringing darkness from above
But if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
Nothing changed at all?
And if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
You’ve been here before?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?
We were caught up and lost in all of our vices
In your pose as the dust settled around us
Oh where do we begin?
The rubble or our sins?
Oh oh where do we begin?
The rubble or our sins?”
Pompeii is where we are heading. One day we will look around and then look up like a kid with their hand caught in a cookie jar. Like the old sitcom character Urkel, we will say,”Did ‘I’ do that?”. But it won’t be funny. We will have to face our own rubble and our own sin, and our God.
That our children are so confused is our fault. This deceit can also be put at the feet of an evil being, Satan, who no one believes in anymore, unless they happen to subscribe to a certain theology. In fact, I probably just lost some people reading this last sentence because they think I’m a crackpot. Indeed, they probably stopped reading when I referred to God in the last paragraph.
Fine. Let’s just see who is right in the end.
God help us to wake up and do something before we are turned to stone without recourse. That is why I admire Joyce Friedman and forgive her for her perfunctory statement about dysfunction in families. At least she is doing something to try and stem the evil tidal wave wiping us away.
At least Friedman recognizes evil when she sees it. Most of us either are ignoring it or participating in it ourselves and are deceived into believing we are not doing anything wrong.
This is what we are communicating to our children. Is it any wonder Alyssa and others like her got involved in the porn industry.
We may not be able have a lot of influence, but we like Joyce can do something. We have to get off our butts and get involved in trying to turn our culture around.
It’s time to stop being cowards and turn around and fight this culture. There will be a price to pay and we all will have to determine what we are willing to pony up.
It seems, however, that we are faced with either allowing our nation to become another Sodom and Gomorrah, or with putting on our battle face and going to war. Neither choice is an easy one, but why not opt for the right option.