It's rare these days that you encounter some truly repugnant shit, something that everyone can universally agree upon as being categorically not okay. But then again, it's rare that you get a video of an Australian boy band going around a mall pretending to masturbate in front of a baby. Which, for reasons that we really shouldn't have to go into here, crosses pretty much every societal line of decorum (and probably legality) you can think of.
In order to understand why this video even exists, you need to know a little bit about the Janoskians. Their name stands for Just Another Name Of Silly Kids In Another Nation. They got their start posting Jackass-style videos on YouTube of them doing the sort of dumb shit that juvenile teenage boys do when they're home alone, but they also make kinda shitty four-on-the-floor house-pop that seems halfway between One Direction and a boy band Lonely Island.
The really insane thing about Janoskians is teenage girls love them. They inspire the same sort of rabid fandom as One Direction, The Wanted, and Justin Bieber, which is really weird because instead of being adorable it seems like their idea of a fun date would be to burn someone's house down. Anyways, these guys are signed to Sony, have appeared on Ellen and the Australian version of The Today Show, and you can't swing a dead cat around Tumblr without finding some sort of ode to their adorableness. Here are a few gifs of them being cute before we talk about how they're terrible people again.
If you're all like "OH WAIT AHHHHH WHAT THE FUCK" after that last one, that's from the YouTube video at the top of this page, which is, again, a video of them pretending to masturbate in pubilc. Over and over again.
The main problem with these videos (besides everything) is that there's really not much difference between sneaking up behind someone and pretending to masturbate and actually masturbating. It's about as funny as holding a gun to a child's head, making them cry and shit their pants, and then going LOL, IT'S ONLY A REPLICA. One scene in particular has one of them pretending to MASTURBATE IN FRONT OF A BABY while shouting “Your baby’s sexy, don’t let it grow up.” Which is just completely ugh.
It's becomes a serious situation, however, when their platform allows them to broadcast this all over the internet. And did they repent for having put out such a horrifically terrible video? Nah, they're teenage boys:
There's a serious difference between this—which is, lest we forget, a video of teenage boys sexually harassing people in a mall somewhere—and something truly transgressive that a closed-minded person actually wouldn't understand. Contrast this video with Otmar Bauer's avant-garde short film "Zeigt," otherwise known as "Vomit Action." In the piece, the artist sits at a table and very drinks some sort of corrosive liquid to induce vomting. He then throws up for three minutes straight, eating his own vomit and smearing it all over his body as well as a small canvas. The film culminates with Bauer covering his penis in vomit, urinating on the table, lying down in his own mess of bodily fluids while gleefully licking them up. It's a difficult work to watch, but it has a point, which is to attack what he perceived to be the bourgeois art practice and its subsequent reception by doing the most extreme thing he could think of. It was a calculated, discursive act, completely on the other end of the spectrum from a bunch of bored dumbass kids pretending to jack off in public and then trying to justify it by saying "We wanted to see people's reactions."
The group eventually took to their Facebook page to apologize, but the apology reads like their publicist hacked into their account in order to keep their clients from being burned at the stake by a bunch of justifiably angry advocacy groups:
The worst part about these sorts of apologies are that they're not actually accepting responsibility for behaving like a bunch of little shits, instead tacitly placing the blame on those they offended for being too uptight and not ready for their edgy, edgy brand of boy band comedy. Maybe one day famous teenage boys will learn to not act like shitheads, but until then we've always got the news that Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber are now probably hooking up.