The teenage girl fight in Lakeland, Florida is pretty disturbing. Basically six girls pummeled one of their erstwhile friends and fellow cheerleader after being insulted by some (possibly forged) myspace postings of the victim. “Demarcus” even said she did it, according to audio of the video. In the wake of this event, facile explanations focusing on myspace and youtube have ignored the larger cultural factors involved including the rise of lower class standards among society as a whole.
There are probably even fewer fights among white suburbanites than there were 20 or 40 years ago. I don’t think myspace or camcorders are to blame of this and other fights. What’s changed, I think, is any sense of fair play and proportionality.
In the past, fights were one-on-one, no weapons, and there was some sense of a “fair fight.” I know this from personal experience and my dad’s numerous tales of growing up in an Irish neighborhood in NYC in the 60s. The tribal ways of our new neighbors and lowest classes are spreading, particularly among the young, with their high regard for superfluous achievements like “keeping it real,” i.e., ghetto authenticity. Imagine how much more disturbing a video of the sucker-punching brutes in the Jena Six case would be, if it were extant.
I also think we need to look at some individual factors as far as these girls and this neighborhood is concerned. Lakeland has some trashy areas, where blue collar people close to the earth aren’t afraid to throw down.
And, frankly, these particular girls all look sorta funny . . . . like “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome” funny. I’m not joking. This is a disease associated with violence and poor impulse control. Notice the wide set eyes, dull expressions, thin upper lips, and small chins on all but the first girl Take a look:
Of course, this had to happen in Florida. We are the home of all things weird. Our only rival might be Clear Lake, Texas, home to nutty astronaut Lisa Nowak and the would-be cheerleader-killing mom, Wanda Holloway.