Breaking Up on YouTube: The Last Moral Straw?

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Breaking up with your girlfriend on Valentine's Day is bad enough. But one University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill student decided he was feeling very bad: He broke up with his girlfriend on Valentine's Day, via an a cappella group (singing the Dixie Chicks' "I'm Not Ready to Make Nice"), in front of hundreds of people, and then posted a video of the event on YouTube.

The whole thing turns out to have been a hoax. But why is publicly humiliating a woman funny--even if it is fake? Why did a big crowd chant demeaning slurs at her so happily? And, as one letter writer asked in the Daily Tar Heel, "What does it say about our level of activism when roughly 800 more people showed up at the breakup than at the community-wide protest in January of the Iraq war escalation?".

The Tar Heel chose not to cover the story at all. "Regardless of whether the breakup was real or staged . . . it makes UNC students and the press look childish, the former for showing up in droves and the latter for covering the incident so thoroughly," the editorial board wrote.