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Sunday, June 13, 2021

The internet’s resident troll has struck again, this time in our very own Turlington Plaza. If you’re lucky, you’ve never heard of him. If you have, you probably wish you had not. Instagram user Supreme Patty posted a video on Saturday of him smoking a bong in front of Marston Library as a UPD patrol car rolls in the background. Although the video may have you believe the 20-year-old Daytona Beach, Florida, native was smoking weed, UF Public Safety tweeted “it was oregano...” 

Wow. Did we get punk’d? Oregano or marijuana — it makes no difference when it comes to where these types of videos land on the annoyance spectrum.

Throwing popcorn in an empty theater, spilling wine all over a restaurant booth, getting tattooed in a Dollar Tree, Supreme Patty’s video content fits into the genre of “making working people’s day on the job a lot more difficult.” But he is not the exclusive contributor to this subgroup of troll videos (think: Jake Paul). There are plenty of people posting videos of themselves jumping on counters at McDonald’s, licking ice cream and returning it to the shelves and other plain debauchery that honestly has us believing the human race is reverting backwards.  

Whether you call it clout-catching, trolling or pranking, these types of videos reveal some people will do almost anything to get internet-famous. The increase in social media use may be part of the rise of these troll videos. With more content available, the more awful the video has to be to break the mainstream and make it to the popular page. Jumping into the Walmart bouncy ball container won’t cut it anymore. Now, it seems for troll videos to make it big with likes and shares, the additional element of the public must be present in the insane act. The problem with videos like Supreme Patty's or Jake Paul's is they rely on the reactions of those who work in or use the area. 

The shock value comes from these crazy actions being done in places where people are going about their days, like restaurants, grocery stores, movie theaters or other public areas. When in public, the stunt becomes more risky and the possibility of a random person’s reaction in the background adds to the video’s appeal. An online audience is one thing. But subjecting passersby to a stunt gives the performer an added layer of spectacle, even though what they are doing is disturbing the peace.

Annoying random people is not the only criteria for these videos. There is also the threat of getting in trouble and still managing to keep one's cool. Usually, there is a mask of calm on the faces of these pranksters. They never seem afraid to get caught. If anything, they seem pumped up to cause some mayhem and excited to get a reaction from the subject of their videos. 

And it’s not to say all crazy videos of people doing stupid stunts are harmful. You want to jump off a roof and clip the edge of the pool? Go ahead. Funnel a Whiteclaw even though it’s all foam? More power to you. As long as it's not making a mess in a public place where someone who isn’t you will have to clean up, go crazy. 

Of course, watching a “Jackass” stunt releases some sort of endorphins that makes us feel happy for not feeling the same pain as Steve-O or Johnny Knoxville. 

Daredevil type acts existed way before social media. But now the problem seems to be people are subjecting the innocent to their craziness and workers to their mess. The Jackass-esque prankster has evolved into something far worse.

We hope this video trend ends as quickly as it started. Although the internet pranksters will have you believe public stupidity is funny enough to be liked or shared, we have faith the majority of the population is smart enough to see just how dumb these stunts are.

The Alligator Editorial Board includes the Opinions Editor Jackie De Freitas, Editor-in-Chief Mark Stine and managing editors Hannah Beatty and Lindsey Breneman.


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