Maverick Pulse

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Stop Taking the Bait

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There is a constant battle in our world, left versus right, liberal versus conservative, change versus tradition. No matter if you keep up with politics or not, people talk about these kinds of things a lot. Gender dysphoria is a good example of this, and simply supporting or discouraging them blends into politics. It’s a large part of us as people and the values we hold dear.

Keeping tabs on politics or news isn’t uncommon, too. In fact, I support it. Being aware of your surroundings helps you see more, and getting more of the picture. It helps us be more educated.

However, you have to be aware of the story behind the story, and rather than taking things at face value, you have to think about it. For example, ‘Right Wing Watch’ created an article on ‘Honkler,’ a version of Pepe the Frog wearing a clown outfit.

They titled it, “White Nationalists Adopt Clowns as Their Next Racist Symbol (Yes, Seriously).” To put this lightly, they took the bait. Honkler does not represent 4Chan, the people who originally started it, but rather something to have people make fun of. Honkler is dressed up as a clown because he’s making fun of people for being clowns.

People who use 4Chan, and those like them, rely on satire for a lot of things. They may have some radical views against your own, but they always express them with a grain of salt.

For example, the main version of Honkler is ‘peepoNice,’ an emote used on Twitch (a website used to stream video games or such). He is the same as the Honkler in every sense, except his paper his shorter. Look at it for a second, and I’m sure you’ll get what they’re trying to make fun of (It actually says ‘nice,’ by the way. That’s where the name comes from).

However, people ‘taking the bait’ happens in other areas of the internet, too. For example, I stumbled across a petition created by Maria Ruiz, titled ‘Stop Normalizing White Supremacy.’ It was a petition trying to ban Pewdiepie from YouTube because he made politically incorrect jokes. This petition has gained a lot of traction since, but my point about it still stands.

Pewdiepie is a channel that falls under humor. Even if says things that can be categorized as dark or harsh, they are still jokes. You can argue that it normalizes it, as Ruiz titled her petition, but that also means we’re normalizing being overly sensitive over simple topics. We’re the people who give words power, we give them meaning. Instead of giving them so much meaning that we have to limit ourselves from using them, we have to realize that these are words.

From this, we have to learn that as much as change is good, we shouldn’t be so progressive that we lose the ability to know what satire is. Humor is a big part of entertainment, and who we are. Treading so lightly over a way that some use as coping mechanisms, or ways to brighten up our days, only limits this. Satire is important, and we should recognize it when it happens.

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