Sunday, August 6, 2023

The New and Improved Outrage over "likes"

There is a bigger, better, and newer outrage over memes. This is what happens when we have an world of funny / offensive jokes delivered to us daily that one group finds no problem in, and others are greatly offended by. 

Let's look at a very recent example. NASCAR driver Noah Gragson after he "Like"d an offensive meme. The meme in question is here. He was suspended indefinitely from a career he had to work like hell to get into.

Is the mem rude and offensive? Yes. But is it worth an indefinite suspension for Gragson from a job he had to really work to enter?  Look, I'd have to say no. He's a 25 year old kid that has lived a pretty insular life. Maybe talking to him and changing his mind would work better. But our outrage machine would not be content with that - and so the consequences are uped.

Here is the thing about the meme - if you don't understand it (and why should many of us?) it is pretty offensive - if you think about it.

In The Little Mermaid, the song Sebastian the Crab sing's is "Under The Sea". Here they have substituted BLACK man George Floyd's face for the face of Sebastian - the Jamaican Crab - see it's funny because Jamaicans are Black. And here the song "Under the Sea" is reworded to say "Under Da Knee" which is how George Floyd was pinned under a police officer's knee for 8 minutes while he was dying. Which you have to be pretty fucking crazy to laugh about IF you think about it.

The meme is objectively offensive, racist, and makes light of a man's death because he was black.

It is also something that, in the olden days, would be a rude, offensive and private cartoon or joke we didn't know about. I have been around straight guys on construction sites, college kids at work, and gay guys at a bar. In every case, someone at sometime has made an offensive joke and we laughed. Because it was private and we thought it was funny. Thousands of these over my 64 years. And I have both heard and said those jokes that would offend people (including myself just a few years later).

But there is no "private" now. A private funny that maybe Noah liked because he didn't think about it or on quick glance thought it was funny. Even if he actually got it, and liked the meme - he would not have liked it if he knew it would get him suspended. 

If you are political or self-aware or thinking 100% of the time how your social media is seen, you would never "like" this. But we humans aren't like that or we would be paralyzed. We glance through the feeds of your friends and we might hit like without thinking. Then he gets the wrath of the offended.

But really, is this the best use of our shaming time and energy - or does it just make us feel like we are "doing something" because we are offended and will tell everyone everyone what a horrible man Gragson is?

Today! Today there is a real need to change our system so that working people can do better. Republicans may think that money is wasted on inner city poor. Democrats may not understand why the poor just don't move out of rural backwaters. But both sets of people actually want to make life better for everyone.

Instead this type of crap separates us.

A stupid meme allows us to act out anger theatrically and blame knuckleheads on the other side. And I need to say, that horrible meme is really a stupid cartoon - designed with all the subtly of the kid in high school that carved penises into desks. An offensive hateful cartoon, but one most of us would never have seen.

But then someone found it and used this to show that Noah Gragson was a racist dick head. But is he? I don't think liking a stupid cartoon makes you a racist. It makes you a human that makes mistakes. I don't know Noah Gragson, but I am sure there is a better way to handle this. Anywhere from "what the hell dude?" to "Noah, go make this right." But one where we are all given the benefit of the doubt.

There are some cartoons from liberals that might make me laugh, but then someone says, do you really think that old west cowboys drank Bud Light? And aren't the comments offensive to beer drinkers, Bud Light and MAGA people (they aren't really throwing away Bud Light to drink horse piss).

But the internet lets us sit behind screens and selectively get outraged and then use that outrage to viciously attack others. And that is not healthy.

And yes, I do understand how completely a "self-own" this is.

No comments:

Post a Comment

While some rural-dependent brands dump LGBT and CEI - there is Campbells Spoon

 I totally get how John Deere and Tractor Supply felt the need to publicly repudiate their DEI and LGBT support positions; they are, after a...