There’s a kid from West Seneca, N.Y. named Giovanna Plowman who, earlier this month, ate a used tampon, recorded the action, and uploaded the video online. She’s, like, 15. Her video was pulled from YouTube for obvious reasons, but it found a second life on that bastardized child of YouTube—LiveLeak—and now it’s gone super-viral. I haven’t watched it, and you shouldn’t either. No one in the office was able to watch it actually, which is saying something, because we all saw Goatse when we were in middle school.
Nevertheless, Plowman is now incredibly famous among teenagers. She has 236,000 Facebook subscribers, and every status update she posts garners thousands of likes. Her Twitter feed has over 30,000 followers. She constantly retweets kids who say stuff like “im so proud of you, the way you stood up for yourself infront of some people on here. I'm your #1 fan, love you giovanna! :)” and, “It's always been my dream for @hollagiovanna to follow me. OhEmGee follow me ! :).” She has a legion of followers called “Giovannaitors” and they act in much the same way Chris Brown’s Team Breezy acts—by spending most of their time yelling down “haters.”
Yesterday, Plowman announced that she was “Facebook married” to Dino Bruscia, who is from Hamburg, New York and is famous for eating ice cream that was covered in his own poop. The marriage made national news, blew up every blog on the Internet, and garnered Bruscia thousands more Twitter followers and Facebook fans.
ALL OF THE ABOVE IS TRUE. Nothing has been exaggerated. And if there’s a point to any of it, it’s probably what Plowman said on her Facebook page yesterday: “The money offers keep rolling in! The tv proudcers keep calling me. News reporters keep trying to put me on there front page. Im getting paid to do promotions. So all of you bumb ass losers who hate on me. Well when im hollywood living the dream walking down the red carpet hope you all enjoy living in your appartments and mothers basements ♥ im only climbing to the top and no one can stop me!” [Sic.]
This is it, bros. This was the moment. This is when I realized that my notions of what made you famous and popular— which I thought I still shared with teens because I’m close to that age—were actually backward and misplaced. I know nothing about kids anymore. There has been a generational shift. And something is fucked. Because even if the majority of the Facebook likes that Plowman has garnered are from kids going on the page so they can shit on her (and not shit in the “Bruscia” sense; shit in the “insult you” sense), she still matters to kids. Miley Cyrus tweeted about her and garnered 25,000 RTs. She has people non-ironically calling themselves “Giovannaitors.” She’s doing the same thing that Rebecca Black was able to do a couple of years ago—create something awful and gain massive (and for Black, lasting) popularity out of it. Only, you know, it's worse... because she ate a tampon.
Last night, I re-watched one of the best episodes in South Park history, "You're Getting Old." The plot follows Stan, who's fallen into a deep depression (mirroring the funk that Matt Stone and Trey Parker may have been in at the time), which has causes him to retreat into himself, turn away from his friends, and hate all the music and movies he used to enjoy. What spurs this is Stan getting a CD of the new hot music movement, "Tween Wave." All the kids love it, but adults—and Stan—just hear people shitting on a record.
Soon Stan sees everything in his life as literal shit, and the show cleverly makes the case that this is what life is like when cynicism ruins you. You can't enjoy anything because you're too busy trying to figure out what's wrong with everything. And South Park is totally correct on this count.
But let's not forget that by the end of "You're Getting Old," the adults still hear Tween Wave as a guy sitting on a toilet after a night of 15 beers and Taco Bell. And Randy is once again shown as a buffoon for trying to prove that he's hip and cool and understands something that he isn't supposed to get.
Because maybe everything that we think matters at 15 is actually shit.
I'm not a teenager, and the glee that vast numbers of kids are taking in either siding with Bruscia and Plowman, or spending hours writing out long messages to bash them, totally baffles me. I genuinely don't understand how the two kids have hundreds of thousands of followers, and how a cottage industry has sprung up among teenagers over obssessing about things that are deliberately un-enjoyable. My time to care about this stuff has long past, and this makes me feel old.
But at least I don't have to care about people who have been covered in literal shit. And that's a nice redeeming prize.
(Now WHERE THE FUCK ARE THESE GUYS' PARENTS?)