On Monday, CNN’s Kelly Wallace published one of the most unintentionally funny things I have ever seen in the form of a list of 28 supposed “acronyms” teens are using to secretly sext when their parents aren’t around.
It ranks right up there with CNN’s poll asking random people whether Flight 370 was taken by aliens or Piers Morgan’s screaming match with Alex Jones as the most CNN thing ever, a competition that will eventually end with Wolf Blitzer debating Al Sharpton about bath salts while being sucked into a black hole. (And just when he crosses the event horizon, he’s making this face for all of eternity.)
If nothing else, it’s a reminder that the weird people who thought D&D was devil-worship in the 1980s didn’t actually just fade into the shadows of history. They’re still around and apparently employed by CNN.
Behold the handiwork of Kelly Wallace:
Wallace apparently forgot JOMW, “Jenkem on my weiner.”
I personally don’t routinely GNOC or KOTL with any TEENZ, so I guess it’s possible that I’ve just fallen out of style since I turned 20 and exited the rude world of teen networking forever. Maybe teens today really do use these acronyms, right as they’re TWD from the 1174′, high on DOC with a CITT (corpse in the trunk).
Or, more likely, CNN is passing off vague folksy bullshit as a secret cereal box decoder ring that translates the inscrutable underground teen sexting scene. Unless Wallace pulled a Never Been Kissed and infiltrated a local high school, I’m calling bullshit. She cites “sources” like Netlingo.com, which proudly explains that teens are using terms like LMIRL (“let’s meet in real life”), MOOS (“member of the opposite sex) and Q2C (“quick to cum”) in horny pursuit of their sinful desires. Wallace also links to Cool Mom Tech’s “99 acronyms and phrases that every parent should know,” which includes gems like MEGO (“my eyes are glazing over”) and the extremely dubious VCDA (“vaya con dios, amigo”). Sprinkled among these pages are blatantly obvious terms like WTF as well as complete misinterpretations like “zerg,” a relatively obscure reference to a PC strategy game that came out in 1998.
I have no doubt that many of these are terms that have really been used by people at some point in internet history. But lists like these aren’t helpful guides to parents (full disclosure: I’m relatively sure I don’t have kids). They’re moral panic porn for parents who would rather use an apocryphal checklist to comb through their children’s private lives than talk to them like genuine people. If you don’t know what WTF LOL means then I seriously doubt you are savvy enough to parse your teenager’s phone for encoded sexts, and if you can’t tell if your teen is troubled without consulting freaking CNN then you really aren’t paying enough attention.
Your kids are probably on SnapChat or some newfangled teledildonic sex app anyways.
Then there’s the whole issue of pathologizing natural teenage sexual behavior or presenting it as some kind of moral crisis, which are probably among the many reasons teenagers feel alienated from adults in the first place. There’s no evidence teen sexting is some kind of big fucking deal. PC World called it “hysteria” in 2009. Police and social conservatives around the country haven’t disappointed, culminating this summer in a disgusting scenario in which Prince William County, Virginia prosecutors threatened a 17-year-old boy with what amounts to sexual torture for sexting his 15-year-old girlfriend. Evidently they told him to confess to felony child pornography charges or they’d force him into an artificially induced erection to obtain photographic proof it was the same penis in question.
CNN could be either willfully ignorant or purposefully spreading nonsense. Maybe this is even TIME-style trolling. Applying Occam’s Razor though leads me to suspect that CNN really is just this out of touch and clueless, which is just really, really funny.