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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Lily Gouin
Lily Gouin
Assistant Sports Editor

Hi! My name is Lily Gouin I am in my third year here at NMU. I am from Appleton, WI majoring in communications and double minoring in multimedia journalism and public relations. In my free time, I like...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Staff Column: For What It’s Worth

I was very productive on the snow day last week. I spent the entire day lying on my couch eating pretzels and watching YouTube videos.

I discovered a lot of great things, though: The Dramatic Gopher, Bill O’Reilly freakouts, some guy doing reenactments of famous scenes from famous movies. There were some not so great things as well: A horde of guinea pigs stampeding through some guy’s house, six minutes of a really crazy man ranting about Miley Cyrus and a few videos of bad drivers.

But one thing I wasn’t expecting to find, especially on the top viewed list, was a video that was over three minutes long and featured several teenage girls beating another teenage girl.

I’m sure by now that most people have heard of these teenagers, coined “The Vicious Eight.” For those of you who haven’t, here’s the short-short version: Six teenage girls lured a 16-year-old over to one of their homes and beat her so badly that her parents weren’t able to recognize her. Two teenage boys acted as lookouts outside the house. Apparently, the girl who was beaten had said some nasty things about a few of the other girls on her MySpace page. In retaliation, the girls decided to videotape the beating and put it on YouTube.

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I’ve always loved YouTube, and I’m not the only one. The site is ranked as the 12th most viewed Internet domain in the United States, according to Hitwise.org.

Among the videos viewed are movie trailers, the amateur work of film students nationwide, music videos and average people performing song covers. I can watch some of my favorite comedians, or take a look at some YouTube hits, like “Charlie Bit My Finger.” YouTube has a little bit of everything. And the one thing that unifies all of these videos, is that they are all for entertainment.

However, watching girls beat the crap out of each other isn’t entertaining so much as it is demoralizing.

It’s hard to define what exactly YouTube is. For some, it’s purely an entertainment Web site. For others, it’s a confessional of sorts. It’s a place where people can put their thoughts on anything out there for the world to see. What it shouldn’t be is a place where dumb kids can get their revenge.

Thankfully, YouTube has removed the video. But before it did, the video collected more than 600,000 views, only serving to give those eight teenagers exactly what they wanted.

The whole nation knows about them now. There’s been a frenzy of responses on YouTube, most of them outraged. But those girls don’t seem to understand that they did something wrong. As they were being jailed, one of the girls asked if she’d still be able to make it to cheerleading practice the next day.

And while this particular fight has garnered national attention, YouTube is already home to hundreds of videos of fighting. Just visit the site and search for “guys fighting,” or “girls fighting.” Hundreds of videos will appear. Why are these allowed on YouTube? The Web site has already removed the video of the “Vicious Eight” but what makes that one any different than all the other videos of people beating each other? The site should remove any videos that feature such senseless violence.

The great thing about YouTube is its ability to connect people around the world. I can watch a video of the Tibetan Monks marching for their freedom, a video which features some violence, but still needs to be seen. What I don’t think is needed are videos of people beating each other up, just to beat each other up.

YouTube should start monitoring those types of videos. It should return to its original purpose: Allowing people to get their voices heard by anyone who cares to listen.

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