In my short lived ventures around the internet, I found this little gem which provides a positive insight into the use of social networking and technology. A breath of fresh air in a world who is so afraid of that which is new, different, or puts us in a state of vulnerability.
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Yes, it was trending. The #replacemovietitlewithebola was becoming an epidemic (pun intended). Twitter blew up with comments from both sides, and I watched in amazement and awe as both sides Tweeted. I refrained from the posts (Though I thought How to Lose Ebola in Ten Days, How to Tame Your Ebola, and He’s Just Not That Into Ebola, were all pretty good). I was finding myself in a moral dilemma. Was I a bad person?
First off, I personally have issue with people who shame others over this kind of thing. If you have issue with these kinds of distasteful jokes, you should make an occupation of trolling social media combatting such behavior at all times. So before you go defending the horrific injustice of #replacemovietitlewithebola on Twitter, check your ethics first, and spend the rest of your life commenting on ALL the distasteful trends on Twitter. But, if you’re just one of those people who doesn’t like the #replacemovietitlewithebola trend? I see your disdain for the Ebola jokes, and rebuttal with the fat joke, the diabetes joke, and the Helen Keller joke.
People are all upset about the #replacmovietitlewithebola and yet another trend #fatshamingweek is happening right now on Twitter and is more threatening towards an obvious epidemic. Obesity has claimed the lives of 18% of Americans each year and has been found to be one of the more consistent and harder to deal with epidemics in a nation full of fast food and big demands. The cure doesn’t come from a lab. How can you cure a disease that stems from a combination of DNA and the root of human will?
Also, look up how many Diabetic Memes there are online. I even gave you a link for the sake of ease. The most famous one being the Diabeetus Meme, featuring actor Wilford Brimley as Liberty Medical’s spokesperson. But while everyone is having a good laugh over those, Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the nation. Being a type one diabetic myself, these jokes do hit close to home…and some are meant to be hurtful. But, I am not offended by ignorance as often as some think I ought to be. Why should I expect a teenager in a McDonalds laughing about how it “smells like diabetes in here” to know about my disease when she does not have to live with it? What use is that information to her? Why should I cram it down her throat? People joke about things they don’t understand…sometimes because it is merely uncomfortable to not understand.
So these illnesses are not causing mass hysteria. I get that. Maybe they should be. But they are much more common and much more deadly than Ebola has been, and are much more enduring problems, which is even worse. I think just sitting in a food court at a local mall would probably give you a good view of the many people in that area that are willingly hurting themselves just from eating the food they are…either being diabetic or obese. Sure, these diseases kill over a longer term and Ebola is much faster and more intense, but what we must consider is the public view of such issues. They are issues, yes, but what is worse? Someone who dies knowing they are killing themselves willingly-ish or someone who dies by an illness that has mutated to kill and there is no cure? What is our priority? Who we can treat and save…or those who we can’t save?
We may fear what we do not know, but should we fear what we assume we know?
If those aren’t enough, Helen Keller was Deaf and Blind, and eventually learned how TO FREAKING SPEAK having nearly never hearing another human voice in her life! She became a world renown lecturer and political activist. What did you do with your life again? Post something on Twitter? Cool story bro. Tell it again.
Humans use humor as a coping skill to deal with things that are difficult. It actually has played a greater role in helping sustain people through difficult times…even in Nazi Germany Concentration Camps:
In Night, a memoir written by Elie Wiesel about his time in Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps, the author discussed humor in the concentration camps and the macabre forms it took:
In Treblinka, where a day’s food was some stale bread and a cup of rotting soup, one prisoner cautions a fellow inmate against gluttony. “Hey Moshe, don’t overeat. Think of us who will have to carry you.”
The fact that humor persisted in and out of concentration camps during the Nazi era despite potentially harsh repercussions demonstrates the vital role it plays in human resilience and survival.
So we aren’t at war, or held captive, but we are scared. Scared enough that we find a need to cope with something that seems close to home and dangerous. Thankfully, humor and laughter in general,have many physical benefits that can help prevent you from getting sick…which may not save you from Ebola, but can certainly help you build your immune system from more common killers like the flu and other severe infections that have claimed more lives in their time of existence.
Seriously though, can we really be angry that people are being open about a mutual fear and concern? Yes, it may come out as distasteful humor, but the idea of sickness and death is a bit awkward. It will result in a little awkward expression. Immature? Maybe. Helpful to the human psyche? Yes. I find that when approaching touchy subjects, I would much rather approach it through humor, because it is either a choice of humor, or the devastating and difficult truth.
I find it important to remind others that human behavior isn’t meant to be perfect. It is meant to adapt for survival, and those adaptations may or may not be effective. So if making light of things we are afraid of makes us have less hysterical fear and more healthy caution…then why are we being so harsh?
Forgive this post being more subjective than objective, but this seems like an issue of perspective and opinion. Feel free to leave your thoughts below.