September 30, 2010

"Jumping off the gw bridge sorry."

Suicide, announced on Facebook, after live-streamed internet exposure via secret webcam.

"Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly's room and turned on my Web cam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay."

127 comments:

Gabriel Hanna said...

Jumping off a bridge is not a good way to go; and if you survive you'll wish you hadn't.

Synova said...

Teenagers don't have perspective.

Not that their actions matter, and not that it's possible to get through *anything* and come out the other side.

Lem said...

I want to know what Sully thinks so I can trash it ;)

Joseph said...

"Teenagers don't have perspective."

Agreed. I'd apply that to the victim and the criminals in this case. I'm sure on some level they didn't appreciate just how sick and mean-spirited their little stunt was.

Lucien said...

So, now, arguably, the students accused of invading Mr. Clementi's privacy (both about 18?) will never be able to apply for a job, rent an apartment, or (in some cases)even go on a date,without someone googling them and coming acroos this story.

When the passion of the moment is over, will that be a good thing or a bad thing, no balance?

Matthew said...

This is one of those times when you wish that public flogging was still allowed.

This kind of stupidity (harassing people electronically, and, publicly) when the perpetrators are visibly and horrifically punished.

Yeah,I know; it won't necessarily stop the next asshat, but it should make most of them think twice or three times about pulling a similar stunt.

Gabriel Hanna said...

Mark Twain, in "Life on the Mississippi", describes pranks from his childhood. One killed a kid and the other prank ended up with the victim institutionalized.

Mary Bell murdered two little boys when she was 10, apparently just to see what happened.

Kids are dangerous. Teenagers are old enough to know better.

Matthew said...

whoops! that should have read:

This kind of stupidity (harassing people electronically, and, publicly) WILL PROBABLY ONLY STOP when the perpetrators are visibly and horrifically punished.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

They were exalting the victim's gayness. Filming it ... broadcasting it ... celebrating it ... for all the world to see.

They'll get mega-government jobs. We'll pay them 6-figure salaries and a 7-figure pension.

They're set for life!

GAY = POWER

If you're not gay ... you will be.

You will be.

Synova said...

I think that Althouse has made the point before... You can't really be responsible for what other people do. I believe that I argued in the case of that little girl that hung herself that the purpose seemed to be to try to mess with her mind and hurt her, and may have known before hand that she had emotional problems. This does seem different. The article had a friend saying that the girl is super nice and the guy not a homophobe. Likely enough they didn't set out to hurt the guy who killed himself, they just thought it was funny... particularly if the guy really *wasn't* homophobic. They might not have given a second thought to what that meant. Because kids are stupid.

They ought to get it on the invasion of privacy charge if at all possible. For their own good, actually. I believe that it helps people who *are* sorry if they have their error defined and face punishment.

We haven't yet adjusted to the ubiquitous nature of surveillance in our culture, what it means and what the new rules ought to be. This generation particularly is going on the left-over push toward sexual openness and display and just letting everything hang out there, and technology that makes the consequences something more than a handful of people who might have seen you and some rumors afterward.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"They ought to get it on the invasion of privacy charge if at all possible."

Mr. Clementi's father should take care of this ... like any man would.

After all, if you're not willing to avenge your own fucking children, you 'aint shit in this world.

America's Politico said...

There are two issues here. Obviously, since I am a campaign consultant for Democrats, I keep track of issues.

- Young people take risks as they are not aware of their consequences. Busy parents and teachers do not help. There is enough evidence (see ttp://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/14/teens-take-high-risks-for-a-virtual-audience/).

- People do not understand privacy issues. These were there before 9/11 and these continue to exist in different forms today. As a starting point, see Jonathan Franzen's How to be alone (non-fiction essays). Our society is obsessed with Facebook privacy settings, but we do not provide training to students (in K-12, for example). This is one reason there is a movement on Deleting Digital records (http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8981.html).

N.B.: The weekend polls (I get this in advance) show that there is movement for all candidates that support the President. By Nov., GOP will be getting a heart-attack 24/7.

Moose said...

Had a go round over on McCardle's website regarding "It Gets Better". I was soundly flogged by the "you're a homophobe" crowd bussed in from Sully's site.

Thing is - this kid more than likely had significant underlying issues that caused him to kill himself. These twats that filmed him and published the video were merely the final straw so to speak. Granted, a huge straw, but more than likely not the sole cause.

This whole movement to catagorize all gay suicides as due to bullying or a lack of positive role models, in all probablity, mask the true underlying causes of the depression that caused them to kill themselves.

Unfortunately, to suggest so gets on labeled as a hater. Niiiccce.

write_effort said...

Seems pretty clear that the boy (Ravi) at least was being intentionally malicious. One day, with effort they will both again have bright futures, not so for Tyler.

phil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Synova said...

Fuck off, phil.

You're not making the point you intended.

Jenner said...

What I want to know is why would anyone think this was a funny thing to do to someone (unless being malicious was the true intent)?

That's what bothers me about our culture today. No boundaries, nothing is off limits. No common decency.

Trooper York said...

What a terrible story. You have to feel for this poor kid and his family.

No one should feel that alone.

Lincolntf said...

Very sad. My wife came home looking a little peaked today. I asked her what was wrong and she asked me if I'd seen this story. I had.
She said that she hated the thought that the kids in her classrooms every day are capable of such ignorance/cruelty/stupidity. And then she just cried.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

A sad story, all around.

I was intrigued about how Fox News was playing this story this morning. Hubby and I watched for a while over breakfast, they described this story at least 3 times, each time saying that his roommates filmed him having "sex" or "sexual activity," which led to his suicide.

Hubby and I kept looking at each other, saying, so, he had sex. What 18 year old male is going to be distraught if people find this out about him? They had described the story in a good bit of detail, so it seemed odd that they had left out the gay part. The only time they finally brought it up was the quote that AA used in the post, about "kissing a dude."

I suppose that they didn't want to make it a "gay" story- they wanted to focus on the privacy issue and bullying instead. Still, it was odd. Seems like, if there is any story here (and I'm with those who say that we can't know what thing or things really pushed him over the edge), it's all about the sexuality.

- Lyssa

phil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Synova said...

I don't necessarily agree, Lyssa.

I think that young men are terribly self-conscious and there are any number of heterosexual fumbles that an 18 year old might find intolerable if made public.

Synova said...

Ah, nuts. I wanted to keep that one.

murgatroyd666 said...

If it's any consolation ... when Ravi gets around to serving his prison term, he might just learn to enjoy the activity that he was disparaging. But I kind of hope he doesn't enjoy it.

lucid said...

even thought the kids who did this probably did not anticipate the result, what they did was unspeakably and intentionally cruel. they knew that what they wee doing would grievously harm another person for no good reason. they should go to jail and should be sued to hell by the parents of the boy who died.

Tertium Quid said...

Is college all it's cracked up to be? Living in a co-ed dorm with people determined to break most of the rules they were taught at a time when loneliness and rejection are hardest to take- Is college really healthy? (Yes, I went to college for four years far from home and liked it, but I didn't realize how risky it was.)

MadisonMan said...

Dreadful for the parents. And for that child to feel so alone, as Trooper says. Ugh.

I don't see this as a gay issue. I see this as horrendous mortifying invasion of privacy.

write_effort said...

I doubt there is a jury in America that would find Ravi guilty of anything that would mean actual prison time. Right now many people are incensed, but in a courtroom with an 18-19 year old "boy" and his family in full view, and testimony about how a teenage brain works, etc. I don't think so. Have you ever been on a criminal case jury? No way.

mark2121 said...

I do not care what you think or how you got to thinking, A young man was humilated, by his I guess "friend" His being gay, does not and is not the issue, What is, the line that was crossed, I would not my personal moments shared the way his where, I trouble to think anyone reading this would either, Gay or straight. His "buddies" should rot for a few years in PRISON and have it shown on utube everyday. Chowline brings on a new meaning.

Dead Julius said...

Why the hell do we have young college students sharing dorm rooms? I mean... c'mon... is a minimal amount of privacy too much to ask for? These are adults, after all, not 12-year-olds at summer camp.

And yeah... now the stupid evil spycam-broadcasting bastard and his accomplice Molly will have this hanging over them for the rest of their lives. Good reason, too, since their actions led to the death of a person. I know some of you think their hands should be washed of the moral responsibility because, eh, the jumper had at least some desire for homosexual exploration; but no, they deserve to live with the consequences. Maybe in the long run it'll make them into better people.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Lucien: So, now, arguably, the students accused of invading Mr. Clementi's privacy (both about 18?) will never be able to apply for a job, rent an apartment, or (in some cases)even go on a date,without someone googling them and coming acroos this story.

It's almost like three people committed suicide, not just one.

Joe said...

Correlation is not causation. When someone commits suicide, there is a tendency to tie all proximate events to the suicide, though they may not even be related.

Just using this case as a hypothetical, what if the young man had tried out for the university orchestra and was rejected?

What if his parents were homophobic and the issue wasn't so much the video, but that his parents found out?

Dead Julius said...

It's almost like three people committed suicide, not just one.

Dude, there's every difference in the world between having a bad rep on Google and being dead.

They can always change their names if it gets too much for them.

Meade said...

"The very psychological dynamics that lead repressed homosexuals to be viciously homophobic or that entice sexually tempted preachers to inveigh against immorality are the very dynamics that lead vodka-drinking fundamentalists to steer planes into buildings. It is not designed to achieve anything, construct anything, argue anything. It is a violent acting out of internal conflict." - Andrew Sullivan 2001

Fr Martin Fox said...

I'm heartbroken.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Synova: They might not have given a second thought to what that meant. Because kids are stupid.

But they aren't kids, they are adults; and they are also evil. They were given the opportunity to make a decision and they chose their own personal gratification over the well being of someone else. This decision will define them forever, and that's a good thing. It's important for people to know they can't be trusted.

Also, I can't help thinking about their parents, who are probably like lots of Americans, never educating their children about the responsibilities of being an adult.

TosaGuy said...

"Young people take risks as they are not aware of their consequences"

Explains their vote for Obama.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Dead Julius: Dude, there's every difference in the world between having a bad rep on Google and being dead.

Dude, you need to be duding yourself.

I didn't say they were the same. You're the one taking an extreme stance, saying there is nothing in common with them at all.

Seven Machos said...

I can't be held responsible.
She was touching her face.
I won't be held responsible.
She fell in love in the first place.

For the life of me,
I cannot remember
what made us think that we were wise
and we'd never compromise.
For the life of me,
I cannot believe
we'd ever die for these sins.
We were merely freshmen.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I want to know what Sully thinks so I can trash it ;)

I'm not sure that Sully would have much to add, since he landed in the water a bit further south.

Oh, wait. Different Sully.

PatCA said...

Terrible, terrible.

These are kids in their first year away from home: scared and lonely is their permanent state. The boy who killed himself, yes, lost all perspective, and the kids who filmed him lost it too. Kids, by definition, don't have perspective; perspective is earned through experience.

I've said it before, but most of them are too young to have all this freedom all at once. They're not ready.

TMink said...

Poor guy. God bless him and his family. What a tragedy.

Trey

sunsong said...

This is painfully sad. His parents must live without him now. This brings, again, to the forefront the stupidity of wanting to harm others.

Seven Machos said...

I am sad that this thread is devolving into bleats about how 18-year-old adults as a whole are not able to live semi-autonomously, or that two-person dorms are...really, really bad or something. Are you people really making such sweeping statements?

chr1 said...

Tragic though it is (and it is), I think I can hear something lurching toward the Rutgers campus tonight:

It's the equality juggernaut, that growing beast made of the stuff of vastly increased State power, self-interest, ideals and political idealism, social justice, sentiment, and moralism.

It will pause just outside of town, lowering its maw to suck up all the shock and sadness, anger and youthful righteousness into its belly.

A few hours later it will spew forth upon the rest of the nation streams of rationale for all those campus harassment codes, anti-bullying legislation, hate crime legislation, LGBT security that reeks bitter at the general unfairness of life.

It pacifies those who stand near it.

My condolences to his family and friends.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Dead Julius:

I know some of you think their hands should be washed of the moral responsibility because, eh, the jumper had at least some desire for homosexual exploration;

I didn't find any comments like this, but there are two deleted ones.

Maybe you shouldn't be so quick to attribute motives to "some" people.

John Lynch said...

The reason I'm so hard on suicides, as I was in the other thread, is that I think heaping scorn on this behavior will discourage anyone from imitating it. Focusing attention on people who kill themselves gives other people in bad situations the idea that it's OK, or at least people will notice.

That being said, I have far more sympathy for this young man than for the other (attempted) suicide that fell on a car. At least the other one was alive.

I don't have much of an impulse to berate this soul, so I'll heap scorn on his roommate.

What a shithead. Really, what is it about teenagers that makes them such jerks? Not all of them, but enough to make life hell for anyone who doesn't fit in.

Why do that?

Gabriel Hanna said...

@PatCA:

The boy who killed himself, yes, lost all perspective, and the kids who filmed him lost it too. Kids, by definition, don't have perspective; perspective is earned through experience.

No, they aren't kids. They are adults, though young, and in our grandfathers' time they'd have had a full-time career, been married with kids on the way. "Kids" their age have commanded Roman legions.

Adolescence seems to go longer and longer. This can't be healthy.

edutcher said...

Whether the kid who committed suicide was homosexual or not (this could happen with a heterosexual making out), these two should have the book thrown at them.

Second degree murder or (in)voluntary manslaughter, I don't know. The Professor will.

CrankyProfessor said...

I'm teaching Dante this semester. Betrayal is CONSIDERABLY worse than Sodomy in his scheme of things.

Alex said...

So was being outed a real reason to co-mitt suicide? And if he was so scared of being outed, why would he make out in the dorm room of all places? Something doesn't smell right here.

CrankyProfessor said...

Oh - and in Dante's scheme of things Suicide is slightly less bad than Sodomy:


suicide: 2nd round of 7th circle (violent against self)
sodomy: 3rd round of 7th circle (violent against God ["unnatural sex"])
betrayal: the PIT OF HELL, down there close to Satan.

El Pollo Real said...

Meade wrote: It is not designed to achieve anything, construct anything, argue anything. It is a violent acting out of internal conflict.

How true. Sullivan's logic can be applied to expalin a lot of bizarre, destructive lashing out, including some of his own.

k said...

I don't even know what to say after reading these comments. I'm the mom of a teenage suicide. He was just shy of 16, and I'll be damned, I will be GOD-damned if I can figure out what I could have done, not done, done sooner, done later, or done anything to have stopped him.

Thanks.

David said...

This Ravi guy and his female accomplice have a lot of atoning to do. Perhaps the legal system--where paid advocates will try to help them avoid responsibility--is not the best path to accountability.

Most stunning to me is the lack (so far) of any regret or apology by either of the people who invaded this poor young man's life. Probably they didn't expect that he would kill himself, but their actions were horrid no matter what the outcome.

Darcy said...

Horrible tragedy.

I'm not giving the "kids" who treated the young man who killed himself so viciously and cruelly a pass. Does anyone really think they didn't know how much pain they were causing that young man?

I would like to think that their consciences are pretty hard to live with right now, but then, do people with a conscience do such things?

J Lee said...

Remember the scene in M*A*S*H (the movie, but the same scene also turned up in the TV show) where Radar slips a microphone into Hot Lips' tent so that the PA can be turned on and the entire camp can listen in on her and Frank canoodling? Funny scene(s), but this case is the dark side of that same gag, updated to involve the unthinking use of current technology to humiliate someone.

We've now got audio added to the video and the signal is sent out around the world, via wireless camera transmission and the World Wide Web. It's only the ending, where Clementi (who presumably had hidden his sexual preference from family members before going to Rutgers) throws the pranksters a horrific curve by using some of the same Internet tools to make sure his suicide note could be as widely distributed as the original embarrassing video.

The gag in M*A*S*H probably would have lost some of its laugh value if Frank or Margaret had killed themselves in the next scene (even though M*A*S*H's theme song was "Suicide is Painless"). But the point is people watching it identified (and laughed along) with Hawkeye, Trapper and Radar because the dark side of a situation like that never came up, and that's no doubt what the mindset of Ravi and Wei was when they did pretty much the same thing to her roommate -- getting a laugh out of humiliating someone via electronic eavesdropping seemed like a good idea, because they never considered the worst possible scenario, and stuff like this was always good for a laugh in TV and the movies.

In hindsight they both look like monsters, but we've been on the side of the buggers in the past, laughing at the victims of this same situation, and quite often in society today, people don't understand that what works in the scripted world of TV and the movies can play out far differently when real people are involved.

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Burgess said...

So far, according to the prosecutor, the only actual crimes the two committed were invasion of privacy and distribution of materials gained through that invasion. He's looking into hate-crime enhancements.

FOX News was reporting that a 10-y/o killed himself a few days ago because he was being bullied and called a fag, somewhere out in the SW.

Bullying can be harsh, but coming up with a law that 1) defines bullying without running roughshod over numerous constitutionally guaranteed rights, and 2) actually levies proportional punishment isn't a minor effort. (Though I'm sure some in congress with think it is easy and forget about 1 & 2.)

Jason (the commenter) said...

Alex: And if he was so scared of being outed, why would he make out in the dorm room of all places? Something doesn't smell right here.

Try thinking about shame and self-revulsion.

Lem said...

OF ALL THE METHODS OF SUICIDE at our disposal (and there are many), falling from a great height is the most dramatic. It's also the most narcissistic, as it is only after one thing: drawing attention to oneself. Why not kill yourself at home, the rational and irritated public wonders. Why not swallow pills at a late hour of the night when the whole city is sleeping, then lie in your own bed and quietly die just before dawn? Why this grand declaration of your despair? Because with jumpers, it is not the death that is important, but rather that the fall is witnessed and reported. This has to be true, as no one has ever heard of a person driving to the country and jumping to their death from a tall pine tree where only bears and beavers might see them. No! This has never happened.

got the link wrong before.. jumping off my chair sorry.

Alex said...

Aren't we living in an "out and proud" culture? Why would he be ashamed? Maybe New Jersey is still homophobia land.

Dead Julius said...

I nearly committed suicide when I was in my teens. I was pretty consistently depressed and suicidal from about 15 to at least 18.

I can see now that my reason for considering suicide was that I felt emotionally outcast and rejected by everyone around me. My feelings reflected the bitter truth of the world around me, a world that my parents refused to acknowledge because it was too difficult for them to do so.

I'm sure that if I had, in fact, killed myself, my parents would wonder for the rest of their lives what they could have done, not done, done sooner, done later, or done anything to have stopped me.

write_effort said...

God, there are a few Ravi's on this site right now. No empathy and stupid on top of it. And, a lot older than 18.

Darcy said...

That rationalization doesn't work for me, J Lee.

Sure, there are gags we laugh at that could conceivably have a dark outcome. But I think there is a line that we all recognize. That line is intentional cruelty, and there is not a doubt in my mind that these two didn't know they were being horribly cruel.

I think decent people with a shred of conscience should understand the difference between the over the top, possibly intentional cruelty found in movie "gags" and the real life consequences such gags would cause.

Pogo said...

People can be such unholy bastards to each other.

John Coffey: "Mostly I'm tired of people being ugly to each other. I'm tired of all the pain I feel and hear in the world everyday. There's too much of it. It's like pieces of glass in my head all the time. Can you understand?

For k who wrote, "I will be GOD-damned if I can figure out what I could have done"
My heart goes out to you. Such a terrible wound. I pray your burden is lightened over time. Bless you.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Alex: Aren't we living in an "out and proud" culture? Why would he be ashamed?

It's nice to hear someone so supportive of gays that this incident makes no sense to them. The feelings this student had are why people decided to come out of the closet in the first place. I wish he had made the choice we did. Death is not the only answer anymore.

traditionalguy said...

Human souls are fragile when faced with public rejection and condemnation. Many Senior Bank Officers are also taking a suicide way out everyday . The depression spirit must be defeated by a hope in their minds. The victims were often raised on a conditional family love that was withdrawn for failing to meet standards. May God have mercy on all these people whose lives are being shaken these days.

David said...

"I wish he had made the choice we did. Death is not the only answer anymore."

No, but sadly it was for Mr. Clementi.

If only . . . .

Darcy said...

Oh, gosh, I'd missed k's post, Pogo. Thanks for mentioning it.

I'm so sorry, k. I'd like to co-sign Pogo's heartfelt thoughts, if I may.

Bless you.

Eric said...

I don't see this as a gay issue. I see this as horrendous mortifying invasion of privacy.

You would really have to delve into the dead man's state of mind to know. It may be he had problems not associated with his sexuality that put him on the edge. It may be he was mortally terrified of being outed and that alone was enough, which I would think makes it a "gay issue".

I'm kind of curious about his out-ness. He told his roommates he wanted the room until midnight, so it wasn't any secret what was going on. Presumably he wasn't that afraid of having people know as the roommates would have seen the other guy enter or leave.

J Lee said...

Darcy --

My point was less rationalization than trying to discern why Ravi and Wei would have thought this was funny in the first place. Like the teens who try to emulate the stunts they see on something like "Jackass" without considering the consequences, the idea of secretly broadcasting something embarrassing about someone else has been a comedy staple for the better part of four decades, with never an attempt to actually play out the scenario from the victim's point of view. That's what they no doubt saw when he and/or she came up with the stunt.

In the M*A*S*H example I gave, Hot Lips is furious, humiliated and (in the movie) near tears after her tryst with Frank is secretly broadcast, and goes in to see Henry Blake to complain ... and he doesn't give a damn. Then couple of scenes later everything's OK as if nothing happened. That's what the two were probably thinking Clementi would do; be horrified and embarrassed possibly to the point of tears, but then he'd get over it 2-3 scenes later.

As they have now learned and will carry with them for the rest of their lives, you can't write the script for real life where you come out the scampish, witty, cutting edge heroes of your own screenplay all the time when you don't control the personalities and emotions of all the characters.

AJ Lynch said...

K:
My condolences also. Your loss is unimaginable to me. I hope time can somehow lessen your anguish and pain.

Synova said...

Julius... I was depressed and sometimes seriously depressed on and off from 15 to 25 or so. Never suicidal, thankfully.

People want to insist that teenagers are depressed *about* something and trying to explain that living in hormonal soup is seen as not caring about the teen's unique and unprecedented problems. Maybe it's true that young people dealing with homosexual feelings or identity issues have it worse, but isn't "identity issues" practically the definition of adolescent?

Everyone wants to think they are special... and I figure that's sort of the problem. It doesn't help the feeling of isolation to think that no one else feels the way you feel.

And then people work it out... come "out"... or whatever happens and they start to feel better... but how do you ever know if it wasn't just getting over that physiological rough spot?

Life often sucks. Life often sucks *really much*. People with really really sucky lives, who are abused or tormented, endure it beyond all reason.

I'm the last person to make light of depression. But I'm honest enough to say that while I often *felt* like my life sucked when I was a teenager, it didn't. The mental and emotional breakdowns had to have some other source.

Darcy said...

Thanks for the reply, J Lee. Your perspective on this tragedy is very charitable to Ravi and Wei. Perhaps you're right, I don't know. I'm a little too tired to process all of this further for tonight, but thanks for your thoughts.

JAL said...

k, I am so sorry to read of your loss.

And yes ... in many cases there is no magic spell that is missed. No magic wand would work.

Meade said...

This might be useful to someone.

David said...

Interesting link, Meade.

One of my kids was horribly bullied in the 6th grade. The school did its best, as did my wife and I. It made my child miserable, and it made me miserable. It just did not abate.

The root cause was one totally rotten kid who unfortunately had the ability to lead the others. The kid's parents were clueless. The kid turned into a major asshole in adult life as well.

My wife and I had two assets. First, we knew what was going on. Second, we were determined to do something about it, and believed we could.

We finally, with our child's consent, moved him to another school. Most people advising us said not to do this, but it was the right move in this case. There was no bullying in the new school.

The only positive for our child was to learn that youthful horrors are unlikely to be endless. He needed this knowledge sooner than he should have, as one family disaster (some of his own making) after another battered him. But he persevered and is now a splendid adult.

It sounds like Mr. Clementi's parents never got the chance to help him in his times of crisis. Sad.

rcocean said...

J. Lee is right about M*A*S*H. I always hated those two A-holes Trapper and Hawkeye. There's a another scene where they show up at Tokyo and tell a middle-aged nurse to cook them a steak and kiss their dicks because they're "hot shot" surgeons aka "the pros from Dover". I can just imagine all the smug Yuppies laughing at that scene.

Gad those two were arrogant pricks - they were awful -as was the movie.

jimspice said...

I'm wondering if Ann deleted any comments. There seems to be a few of the usual suspects that are noticeably absent.

sunsong said...

Eva Cassidy - I can only be me

jamboree said...

They'll put anyone in that thing won't they? I wouldn't vote for any of them.

Revenant said...


The gag in M*A*S*H probably would have lost some of its laugh value if Frank or Margaret had killed themselves in the next scene (even though M*A*S*H's theme song was "Suicide is Painless").


Maybe. On the other hand, the next scene (if I recall correctly) is Frank being carted off to an insane asylum. It WAS a black comedy, after all.

Methadras said...

Gabriel Hanna said...

Jumping off a bridge is not a good way to go; and if you survive you'll wish you hadn't.


Have you seen the documentary on jumpers from the Golden Gate Bridge? Fascinating.

Titus said...

I was bullied terribly in high school. It was a different time. It was the late 80's no computers.

I never spoke with my parents about it because I was more concerned about them and how they would be perceived in the community.

My parents had to attend a special "parent-teacher conference" regarding me being a fag.

I couldn't attend Phy Ed because I was too much of a distraction because I wasn't like the other boys.

So, the remedy was in order to meet the Phy Ed requirement attend with the girls or attend with the "mentally challenged" kids. I chose the "mentally challenged" kids. That was fun-not.

My entire family had to go to a shrink to prove that I was a freak. That was equally fun as my father who was a construction worker and former jock star had to attend.

I was depressed but I knew there was a world out of my small town and small school because I was involved with an activity called Drum and Bugle Corps in which I was accepted and not a freak.

I was smart though, believe it or not, and was able to get accepted to good schools and move beyond all this crap.

I can't imagine what it is like in this new technology world for those like me.

Because of my experience and hearing of other experiences I would never do the facebook/social interaction shit.

I feel really bad for this kid from New Jersey.


On a side note I saw the movie about the Facebook guy online tonight and recommend it to everyone. It was really amazing and touched me. It says quite a bit about where we are as a society today regarding our social interactions via the web. Definitely the best movie I saw this year and I have seen many movies including the Dragon Girl.

And I love Althouse, natch.

Ciao.

jamboree said...

This happened to a female roommate of mine in college - het sex. Under slightly different circumstances due to time - it was a videotape and played to an enormous crowd, but not put online. She handled it with amazing strength and dignity.

I admired her because I knew full well that I would have been more like this kid had it happened to me - only I wouldn't have had the balls (ahem) to kill myself. I just would have suffered, and suffered, and suffered.

Gene said...

I saw a news story that quoted the vice chairwoman of a New Jersey gay rights group as saying that "authorities might be able to pursue the case as a hate crime under state law if they are able to establish that the defendants acted because they believed Clementi was gay."

I don't understand this. Of course they knew he was gay (at least they did after they made the first video). Up till then they might not have known one way or the other. It makes a difference? Isn't what they did bad enough?

Suppose Clementi was African-American. Would it have been a hate crime if they knew he was black in advance but not a hate crime if they had never noticed that?

I doubt the two kids who did this hated Clementi. They were just playing that they thought was a an extremely clever practical joke. What they should be prosecuted for is doing something callous and cruel to someone they probably didn't hate at all.

If you thoughtlessly do something incredibly cruel to someone whom you don't hate, have you still committed a hate crime?

William said...

They posted some pictures of the kid on the news. He looked sensitive and vulnerable with a million exposed nerve endings. He was even shown playing the violin for God's sake. He looked like the kind of nice kid that any adult feels immediately protective of....They had head shots of the other two kids. They also look like nice kids, and I feel protective of them. Their act was, perhaps, more heedless and stupid than calculatedly malicious....Suicide was an overreaction. Charging these two kids with a major felony is also an overraction......Just recently Althouse had a post, where she criticized a suicide. It was, she claimed, a self indulgent and hostile act. Fair enough. If we canonize this martyr, we will more likely encourage suicides than discourage bullies.

Seven Machos said...

I had sex with a really loud girl once in college. The girl next door to her room was annoyed and put a big picture from a magazine of a crying baby on the door of the room of the girl I had sex with.

Everybody knew what it was about yet this girl kept that picture up for a month.

The more I think about this, the more I think that, despite the awfulness of it all, the kid who committed suicide needed to be stronger. We are not a fragile nation. Ultimately, the lesson to be learned here is that tomorrow is bright, and what surely seems like the end of the world never, ever is unless you choose the end of the world willfully.

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rocketeer67 said...

I was depressed but I knew there was a world out of my small town and small school because I was involved with an activity called Drum and Bugle Corps in which I was accepted and not a freak.

Madison Scouts, Titus? I'm a PR alum myself. What years did you march?

Pogo said...

It can be difficult for some to imagine the state of mind of a suicide, how overwhelmed, how consumed by the seeming enormity of what faces them. Worse, that time as a teenager is marked by a brain oftentimes quite mad. At some point, all roads lead to death, or it appears so.


It's a very hard world, and there are some too fragile for it, lacking resilience and the long view.
How do you teach those skills?
Does making youth and adolescence ever softer help, or does it harm?

I do not know.

Fred4Pres said...

I am very sorry to his family. I am glad the roomate is being prosecuted.

MadisonMan said...

It may be he was mortally terrified of being outed and that alone was enough, which I would think makes it a "gay issue".

The irony is that now he's the poster child for Gays Bullied to Death. So if he wasn't outed in life, he's permanently that Gay Kid who jumped in death.

I think that's why I would prefer this be treated as an invasion of privacy issue.

However it's treated, the kid is still dead. I can't imagine the agony of the parents. I wonder if they'll ever be able to listen to a violin solo again.

LoafingOaf said...

Likely enough they didn't set out to hurt the guy who killed himself, they just thought it was funny...

Of course they set out to hurt him. They thought it was funny because they thought humiliating him at his new dorm on his new campus was funny. So, they thought violating his privacy in order to hurt him was funny.


They didn't intend to hurt him as much as they did. But, hey, that's no excuse. When you victimize someone, there may be more harm that results from that than you foresaw. You are still responsible for harm to victims who have something fragile about them that you didn't know about.

But I think they could foresee more harm than just a brief moment of humilation. The victim here apparently just arrived on this campus, trying to adjust to a new roommate, new dorm neighbors, a new campus community, make new friends, etc. That's an exciting time for a young person, but it's also stressful. And then he finds he has this roommate from hell, setting up hidden cameras to put his private sex life on the internet, and "out" his sexual orientation in the meanest way possible, by holding it up for ridicule on the internet.

I'm glad they're throwing the book at those two.

LoafingOaf said...

So, now, arguably, the students accused of invading Mr. Clementi's privacy (both about 18?) will never be able to apply for a job, rent an apartment, or (in some cases)even go on a date,without someone googling them and coming acroos this story.

And they deserve that.

They probably won't get much in the way of prison time. Especially not the female, who will probably blame it all on the guy. But, they'e gonna have criminal records, and what they did will follow them around forever.

Hey, when you're gonna do something you know is wrong and bad, sometimes it's a good idea to think beforehand about how you'd feel if that wound up on the front page of the paper the next day.

jr565 said...

Hey, who's that guy who made the documentary Outrage which outs gay republicans? If he outs a republican who doesn't wish to be outed, and that republican in turn kills himself because of the shame of being outed can the documentary filmmaker be charged with a hate crime?

Also, in this case is there gay animus involved to warrant hate crime charges? If the defendant filmed his roommate having sex with a woman and the embarrassment of it caused his roommate to similarly kill himself, would he be charged with a hate crime? Why should he be charged with more because the person he set out to embarrass was gay as opposed to straight?

jr565 said...

When I was in college all my roomates (we lived in a suite) were looking for ways to embarrass everyone living in the suite. If they were getting it on in one of the rooms they'd try to listen in, if they were knocked out drunk they'd put shaving crream on their face and then take a picture. They never posted on facebook, but it was probably more a matter of Facebook not existing as opposed to some moral qualms. Even if secrets weren't broadcast writ large, they told some of their friends who told some of their friends etc. So you'd see someone at a party, and they'd give you a look and you'd know they knew SOMETHING.
Then there is the whole Facebook privacy thing. People have this idea that they can maintain privacy on a public chat board. Yes, there are means to block peoples access, but many people don't bother to actually set those, but then get outraged when people read their innermost secrets, or in this case broadcast it on their page.
The social network is a double edged sword.

J Lee said...

Maybe. On the other hand, the next scene (if I recall correctly) is Frank being carted off to an insane asylum. It WAS a black comedy, after all.

9/30/10 11:50 PM


No question it was (and having Frank go nuts off-screen was also how they got him out of the TV show). But that's the advantage of being able to build your own fantasy world -- the audience already had been conditioned to think that Frank and Margaret deserved to be humiliated in front of the whole camp, so secretly broadcasting them having sex was a laugh riot. And "Major Burns has gone at least temporarily insane," softens the blow a little more than "Major Burns just deliberately walked into his tent and hanged himself" as the way to eliminate a character.

Ravi only saw the laugh factor in humiliating Clementi, because for whatever reason, he (and possibly Wei) saw Clementi as a weak and flawed human being who in some way deserved it. What he and she never saw coming was in real life, what the 'weak and flawed' human being does may not still allow you to feel clever and socially superior in the aftermath.

seattleWa said...

Are we jumping to conclusions?

Is there anything besides the timing of the two events? Maybe Mr. Clementi was rejected by his boyfriend.

...and what about his boyfriend? Why is he not a bigger part of this story?

It is my observation that rejection causes many more suicides than humiliation. I believe we have all suffered the "how-can-I-go-on-without-him/her" thought.

wv: hermi - why do random syllable associations seem so appropriate to so many of these discussions??

Suburbanbanshee said...

Re: Fox News, I think they're going from the perspective of "almost every freshman in college runs around with almost every freshman in college during the first month, and often they're not picky about which sex they experiment with". College students are incredibly needy.

So no, I don't think this is necessarily or even likely to be about homosexuality. I think it's a function of severe embarrassment.

I also think the violinist should have taken a sledgehammer to his roommate's computer and destroyed all his clothes, and then pulled the fire alarm. But maybe that's just me.

dbp said...

I largely share the view of J Lee.

Had there been no suicide, then this would have been a harmless and soon forgotten college prank.

Now it is an irreversible tragedy for the guy who killed himself, all the people who loved and cared for him and the pranksters who are now widely known and hated.

It is highly probable that neither Dharun Ravi, nor Molly Wei had any idea that Tyler Clementi would react as he did. Mr. Clementi would have to be retarded to not realize the pain he was sending in the direction of Mr. Ravi and Ms. Wei--not to mention, loved-ones who did him no wrong. What Tyler Clementi did was far more vicious than the prank itself.

I think there is a wrong headed tendency to forgive the suicide victim, forgetting that he is also the one who decided on that course of action through his own free will.

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
junyo said...

"The more I think about this, the more I think that, despite the awfulness of it all, the kid who committed suicide needed to be stronger."

Exactly. Ravi did something cruel; young men tend to do that. And on the grand scale of 'cruel shit that has been done to people in the universe', this barely registers. Its not torture, it's not physical pain, it didn't leave a scar. The proper response is to ignore him or kick his ass, not kill yourself.

somefeller said...

Ravi only saw the laugh factor in humiliating Clementi, because for whatever reason, he (and possibly Wei) saw Clementi as a weak and flawed human being who in some way deserved it.

I think this is a key point. Ravi and Wei didn't just go after Clementi because he was gay, they went after him because they (particularly Ravi, I suspect) thought Clementi was a weak kid they could get away with bullying. This wasn't just an example of some college friends razzing each other in a good-natured way. (I can remember me and my college friends busting each other's balls for various misadventures on many occasions, but this doesn't sound like that at all.) This was intentional cruelty towards someone thought of as a weak person who could be easily abused.

Yeah, I know I'm jumping to a lot conclusions, but I'm pretty confident this is the case. If what Ravi and Wei is illegal (I'll leave that for the local DA to figure out), I hope they throw the book at them. Also, by chance there's another case like this going on in Texas, in this case involving a middle school kid. Let your kids know that you love them, and teach them how to defend (verbally as well as physically - bullies don't respond well to being punched in the face) themselves against the enemies they might run across in life.

lemondog said...

See the 'attractive people' vs the musical dork.

Being attractive, they did it because they were dominant and he was vulnerable target who could do little to protect himself or retaliate. If he was formidable they would not have dared.

Had they imagined the outcome, I doubt that they would have proceeded.

As ethnic minorities, was there a subconscious revenge motive for slights suffered, either real or perceived, growing up?

A zillion years ago when I was in high school I recall hearing about a girl who was beaten up, dumped in a bathtub and smeared with lipstick and nail polish. I assume she encroached on someone's boyfriend.

A modern version of The Scarlet Letter

If there had been youtube or facebook, it would have been videotape and presented for all to see.

Except for the technology, things haven't change.

Anne B. said...

Somefeller said:

``Ravi and Wei didn't just go after Clementi because he was gay, they went after him because they (particularly Ravi, I suspect) thought Clementi was a weak kid they could get away with bullying. .. This was intentional cruelty towards someone thought of as a weak person who could be easily abused.''

I agree. I don't think the "gay" bit is even relevant: think of Lori Drew, who pretended to be a teenage boy on Facebook so she could embarrass and humiliate a neighbor girl, who also committed suicide. (And what ever happened to Lori, I wonder?)

This wasn't a dumb stunt or a lashing out in a moment of anger. This was cold, deliberately planned cruelty, and I don't care if Ravi and Wei are from minority backgrounds or watched too much TV as kids - they should pay for this.

downtownlad said...

Straight people will never understand what it is like to be gay. You basically have the entire Republican party establishment and many Democrats campaigning for gays to be second class citizens (can't serve in the military, can't get married, etc.) , a substantial number of Republicans actually want gays to be branded as criminals (e.g. the Texas and Montana Republican party platforms which call for gay sex to be punishable by mandatory jail time). Pretty much every Republican in the country, and many conservative Democrats) are adamantly opposed to having school systems even mention that it is wrong to bully students because they are gay.

In other words, almost every Republican in this country, and many conservative Democrats WHOLEHEARTEDLY SUPPORT bullying gay youths.

Almost many elected Republican in this country think schools should ban gay students from bringing a gay date to the prom (and if you don't believe me - Please name one republican politician, who does not live in the Northeast or West Coast, who support this).

Heck - you even have the Michigan Attorney General supporting his assistant attorney general who is on a personal vandetta against a college president, because the college president happens to be gay. He refuses to fire the guy, despite the fact that he is STALKING the student. He's not on voluntary PAID leave only because of media scrutiny. He refuses to fire the guy and not one Republican politician is condemning this.

And let's not even start with the parents. I would really like to know what the parents thought about gay people. Clementi sounds Italian to me. That means Catholic. If the parents were practicing, then they thought all gay people were "intrinsically evil". Why isn't the media looking into that?

So these kids are brought up with authority telling them that they are disgusting faggots. Why are we surprised when some of them commit suicide at a rate 5 times greater than straight people.

Lucien said...

Given the efforts made to educate children to treat all sexual orientations equally, perhaps we should consider the possibility that sometimes it works, so that there may be some 18 year old kids who think broadcasting a room-mate's gay sex is no different than broadcasting a room-mate's straight sex.

Assuming the readership of this blog skews to an older demographic, that perspective might not be the first that comes to mind for a lot of us.

LarsPorsena said...

How come Paris Hilton didn't jump after the she was filmed?

sonicfrog said...

From my perspective, remembering what it was like in college, coming to grips with the finality of being and accepting that I'm gay, trying to sort out my feelings, trying to hide the truth and basically leading a double life, I can empathize with what Tyler might have suddenly had to face because of the two unthinking acquaintances.

What the two did was horrible. That said, the room-mate and co-conspirator should be prosecuted for whatever invasion of privacy laws they broke.

Concerning the suicide and aftermath? I think it’s a waste of time and money to press any hate crime charges against the two. Kids, especially those in college, do stupid things without thinking ahead to the possible consequences. There doesn’t seem to be any real malice involved. They, or more likely Rutgers, will get sued by the parents. But, more than that, these two are going to have to carry with them for the rest of their lives that their unthinking actions cause another human being to take his own life. That is a pain that to me would be unbearable. That is a pain for which there is no relief.

somefeller said...

But, more than that, these two are going to have to carry with them for the rest of their lives that their unthinking actions cause another human being to take his own life. That is a pain that to me would be unbearable. That is a pain for which there is no relief.

You're assuming those two would care about that sort of thing. Unless I see some evidence to support that possibility, I see no reason to make that assumption and all the more reason to throw the book at them.

somefeller said...

PS to Sonicfrog - I'm not suggesting that you are stating that the DA should go easy on Ravi and Wei. I am suggesting that we shouldn't assume contrition or remorse unless evidence of that is provided.

Anne B. said...

``Kids, especially those in college, do stupid things without thinking ahead to the possible consequences. There doesn’t seem to be any real malice involved.''

I disagree. That webcam didn't set itself up and then spontaneously disgorge its contents onto Youtube. It had to be planned, every step of the way. Setting up the camera - recording - (and oh yes, alerting the buddies that something was going on in the room that was being recorded) - putting it on Youtube and spreading the word that it was out there to be watched.

At any step along the way, Ravi and Wei could have hesitated, thought about what they were doing, and stopped. They chose not to. Let them pay for it now.

write_effort said...

There's a lynch mob forming over this on some sites. We're not even sure what the role of Molly Wei is, yet many posters are wishing the worst for her. This has hit a nerve, most likely because we've all known bullies in our lives, whether we were their victims or not.

Alex said...

Really Ravi/Wei are not criminally liable here. But the Clementi family should sue them for wrongful death in civil court.

Seven Machos said...

Re: Paris Hilton. I have always believed that her video was a planned career move.

LarsPorsena said...

@Seven:
Re: Paris Hilton. I have always believed that her video was a planned career move.

Only one problem with that theory; to 'plan' you have to have a brain.

Seven Machos said...

Lars -- Hilton is a lot of bad things, including, to judge from the video, a pretty crappy lay, but you can't call someone who built a business empire like she has built stupid.

Paris Hilton is a glorious, industrious capitalist.

sonicfrog said...

PS to Sonicfrog - I'm not suggesting that you are stating that the DA should go easy on Ravi and Wei. I am suggesting that we shouldn't assume contrition or remorse unless evidence of that is provided.

Yet you also provide no evidence that they aren't feeling remorse. What ever happened to the presumption of innocence.

Yes, they set up the web cam to secretly film the room-mate, and yes they should be charge according to what ever laws apply to that. What I have a problem with is the idea of charging them with murder or even involuntary manslaughter.

sonicfrog said...

Let's put it this way.

I knew a guy in HS who tried to kill himself because his girlfriend broke up with him and cheated on him. Thankfully, he failed in his attempt. But, if he would have succeeded, should she have been charged with murder, because her actions led to the suicide?

PS. He shot himself in the stomach. If you decide to off yourself (please don't) don't do it that way. If you fail, the recovery is quite painful.

Joe said...

Where is the evidence that the videocam was a causative factor in the suicide and not just a proximate event?

For all we know, the kid was skipping class and lost a scholarship and combined with an existing depression, he killed himself.

Marshal said...

"Ravi only saw the laugh factor in humiliating Clementi, because for whatever reason, he (and possibly Wei) saw Clementi as a weak and flawed human being who in some way deserved it."

Are we sure this is true? I haven't seen any comments by the 'outers' at all. When I first heard the story my first thought was that they were trying to get a voyeuristic peep show and were surprised by a show not to their taste. Obviously both the peeking and the distribution were wrong, but did they really 'target' the roommate? Their message seems to indicate surprise. This isn't conclusive obviously but is there any evidence the above charge is true?

SteveOrr said...

George Will's daughter said being gay is no more a big deal than being left-handed.

Not trying to score cheap points on the gay marriage debate. Just highlighting the danger in assuming youngsters are angels. Homophobia is still very real. My generation is only more polite about it when talking to pollsters.

Not to suggest politeness hurts. But it's not the ultimate answer to the problem.

Anne B. said...

``I haven't seen any comments by the 'outers' at all.''

Betcha their lawyers have told them not to open their traps without permission.

Lars said...

I see a lot of commenters blurring any distinction between outing someone as gay and surreptitiously creating a permanent and widely broadcast sexually explicit video with the potential of being watched by anyone the subject has ever met & ever will meet.

The first is something all gay people have to be strong enough to deal with--and after all, outings can sometimes happen inadvertently & without malice. The second strikes me as a extraordinarily horrible thing for anyone--but especially for a teen--to consider.

Seven Machos said...

SteveOrr -- Do left-handed people engage in a lot of unprotected anal sex with multiple partners where blood and semen get slushed around in assholes?

There are sound social reasons why lesbianism is more accepted everywhere than male homosexuality.