Vine, the popular short-form video sharing site has challenged people to fill a six-second clip with the most entertaining content possible. The people have responded … with random acts of violence.
Highlighting a longstanding trend of aggression in society, Vine has become the go-to medium for capturing a particularly brutal form of viral hilarity in “Smack Cam,” a vicious sneak attack that typically results in an unsuspecting person getting hit in the face with an open palm or prop. It sounds innocent enough — a version of the same sort of chicanery youngsters engaged in before the advent of the smartphone, but to watch the videos repeated over and over like a Mobius strip of friendly bullying is like something out of an “A ClockWork Orange” nightmare. Though the act is singular, watching it on infinite loop creates a sensation of ultraviolence, almost as if watching a man whip a horse to death.
The most graphic of the videos showcases a guy smashing a girl across the back of the head with a gallon of orange juice, appearing to knock her unconscious. The creator, 18-year-old Aaron VanDeventer, caught so much controversy over it that he later uploaded a video with the victim, with her attesting that it was all planned and that she was fine. I wonder though how much was really carefully orchestrated mayhem — planned or not, getting thumped in the head with a gallon of orange juice has gotta hurt. And could potentially do a lot worse (see: concussions/brain trauma).
Accessing #SmackCam on Twitter will bring up a bunch of these videos all in the same vein: unsuspecting person gets painfully smashed into alertness (or unconsciousness, as some of the videos end with the person lying motionless on the floor). Hell, one guy attaches a doll’s arm to a drill so he can repeatedly slap his friends face with a wad of shaving cream. Is it funny? Absolutely. Is it safe? Not so much. So for now, we’re all (mostly) having a good time with Smack Cam, but sooner or later someone is really going to get hurt and this particular party won’t seem quite so fun anymore.