Topical Jokes, a ‘Blur’ between Social Media and Reality?

12 Feb

untitledOn the eve of the death of Whitney Houston when millions, if not thousands have already tweeted and facebook-ed about her death, I ask if it’s too early to be making jokes?

Society has become slightly twisted in its attachments to celebrities; some classify them as important parts of their life, as idols they follow, tweet, facebook or message. Essentially idols of worship. Others choose to enjoy particular celebrities by celebrating their work in buying or promoting it (in my opinion a far healthier approach). A minority however, simply focus upon the celebrities they detest and devote around 10% of their day to (directly or indirectly) chastising them through social mediums and informal conversation.

Online gaming, chat rooms, skyping, facebook chatting, tweeting and even e-mailing have all contributed to the movement of indirect face-to-face conversation through a computer screen. From this, people are learning less and less about the values of communication and nine times out of ten I notice how uncomfortable a person can start to feel after 30 seconds of direct eye contact during an actual face-to-face conversation. Body language becomes harder to translate, voice intonation is not as strong, therefore emotions become harder to determine and behaviour becomes harder to measure in terms of social acceptability. For example, uttering swear words in a moment of impatience down the microphone during a computer game against an online opponent may seem socially acceptable in that circumstance but doing it face-to-face whether you know that person or not, is not as acceptable, if acceptable at all. The lines between the two can often get blurred and it is here where an unhealthy foundation has been formed which makes elements of the above appears to be the social norm. imagesCANPDKKC

In revisiting  the issue concerning Whitney Houston’s death, it is usual to see topical jokes being circulated by text messages and through social mediums, as the funniest of jokes can often be topical as  they are applicable to most.  Death is also applicable to most, as most if not all have been affected by it. If this is the case and in light of how you felt when such instances did occur, is it not therefore, even slightly insensitive to broadcast such derogatory and disrespectful things irrespective of whether that persons family shall see it or not?

Some, who I have presented this argument to have agreed that death is a horrible thing but they also counter this by stating that:

a) they don’t know the celebrity that has died therefore they have no attachment to them,

 b) they are not hurting anyone and,

 c) if people can post about how much they will miss that chosen celebrity (i.e through ‘RIP’ posts) even though they do not know them then they too can post something of the opposite nature.

Granted, we are all capable of having our own opinions, we are all capable of expressing these too however since when did it become okay to be socially insensitive?

untitled.pngaaaaSocial mediums have shaped a barrier between individuals and celebrities, a barrier which allows insults, abuse and accusations to be hurled without consequence. This barrier in turn has numbed the majority of society to the effects of such hostility and these sequentially have resulted in such actions being implemented into everyday life. While certain celebrities and even non-celebrities have chosen to bring court cases against such behaviour and won, instances of this still occur.

Why then, is it not enough to just say ‘I just didn’t like that person really’?

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