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To Meme or Not to Meme. People should be wary of making light of serious issues with memes.

Rachael Tan, News Editor

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Ok, we’ve all seen or at least heard about those United Airlines memes. On top of that, you’ve also probably seen the ones about Kendall Jenner and her Pepsi commercial, as well as Sean Spicer and his “Even Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons” quote. As funny as they are, I’ve come across people who can’t recall the actual incident that caused this onslaught of internet ridicule, and it’s become concerning.

Don’t get me wrong; not everyone who shares these memes are unknowledgeable in their origins, nor are they ignorant or awful for talking about them. In fact, I think the mass dispersion of information through popular culture can be quite helpful, allowing news to reach and pique the interest of certain audiences that would have overlooked it otherwise. However, it’s things like memes that can become a double-edged sword, simplifying multi-faceted situations for the sake of easy communication and thereby leaving its receivers in the dark about what truly happened. It’s one international game of telephone, and things can get twisted fast. For all we know, if some people understood the whole situation, they might take the meme another way and react differently instead of accepting the view and passing it along to others.

Speaking of reactions, many memes concerning recent events revolve around controversial issues, and the intention of the meme can come from a variety of perspectives, whether others agree with it or not. Terrorist memes are not going to sit well with Muslims, and 9/11 memes aren’t going to do the same with victims of that tragedy. When you show a meme you find funny to someone else, there’s always a chance they aren’t going to see it in the same light you did, and we need to be aware of that possibility. The fact that it’s possible for you to talk about a meme that the very next day you may despise proves all the more to educate yourself of the matter before doing anything about it.

At the end of the day, making light of any tragedy or news story should always be pondered on before taking action. Especially with the meme culture we have created today, it is easy to forget that. The best thing we can do to prevent ignorance is educate ourselves on the whole case matter before spreading and making matters worse.

See Jai Sanghani’s graphic perspective on this issue.


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