Monday, May 2, 2011

Racing for the Stares

--by Robert Langellier

Jimmy Hibsch took this photo, I think
As you may or may not have electricity, Osama bin Laden is officially dead to America.

Let the comedy begin.

If you're not approximately college-aged, with a sense of humor, and good at social media, you're probably hidden from my News Feed. My friends consist mostly of cynical journalism majors who are too smart for their own good, as well as otherwise smartass teenagers. This tragic lack of diversity makes for a pretty homogeneous output of Facebook statuses when anything monumental happens, like the death of a major political figure.

Now, the news sweep that takes place over social media is astonishing and respectable to witness. Within minutes of the news hitting campus, Facebook and Twitter exploded with Osama-related status updates and gifs of Obama kicking doors down. That's really cool. That's definitely one of the prime benefits to social media: the spreading of news. Earlier this year, for example, there was a false rumor of a shooter on Missouri's campus. Had there actually been one, the wildfire of urgent text messages and Tweets very well may have saved more than a few lives. Posting news on the public forum is extremely important in creating a rapidly reacting community.

But that's not what happens when there isn't a shooter on campus. When Osama bin Laden dies, or when anything else happens that doesn't directly affect its users, Facebook becomes a race for Likes and lols. After I heard of his death, I pulled up Facebook, clicked on Most Recent, and watched some really funny jokes steadily get less funny.
  • More like Osama bin dead... right guys
  • Watching Now: How to Secure a 2nd Term in 10 Minutes. Starring: Barack Obama
  • excited to play "god bless the usa" 10x more than i already do this week
  • Did someone die?
  • OMG Michael Jackson is dead! 
  • Obama's speech about Bin Laden will interrupt the end of Celebrity Apprentice. Question the President's word and he will go out and fucking kill Osama Bin Laden just to ruin your stupid show. Obama - 1, Trump - 0 
  • "somehow he finally died."
    "What do you mean? He's an old man with diabetes living in a cave in the desert. The odds are kind of stacked."
    I hate being in the journalism school when world events occur.
  • 10 years at playing hide and go seek? That must be a record.
  • ROYAL WEDDING!!!!!!! <3   
These are not offensive statuses to me because they're insensitive. Most of them are hilarious, actually, on their own. My roommate Dylan got like 40 Likes for that Donald Trump one. They're offensive to me because they're literally all I saw for about 30 straight updates. 

Nobody seemed to take Osama's death seriously, at least not on Facebook and Twitter. It appears that his death had more comedic impact upon my generation than anything else. Constant social media, I think, has made passing chuckles and mouse clicks the ultimate validation of wit, and wit the ultimate validation of intellect. Political and realistic (non)implications of Osama's death aside, it's kind of sad to see someone's death immediately turned into a lolling competition.


  1. You told me at Hoochfest you were going to use my Guster review in this week's post. I'm impressed at how much better you made it.

  2. disagree. all people have ever wanted to do was laugh at Osama's dead ass. now we can? if it bugs you, turn off facebook. that's your right. also i don't like you.


  3. Robert your list is stupid. We use forward slashes all the time. Backslashes are the ones we don't use.

    Forward Slash: /
    Backslash: \

  4. I always space twice before starting a new sentence. It's become an unconscious habit at this point.

    Rob, your list is lame.

  5. I use semicolons quite frequently. Your list is stupid, Robert.


  6. Wait, what are backslashes actually used for, besides code? I can think of nothing.

  7. According to Wikipedia, the backslash was introduced in 1960 for the purpose of use in programming. Also backslash is one word.

  8. Wow robert, you're sort of a fuck up.


  9. I don't understand these comments and I actually read this post.


  10. I actually read this post too. My campus' reaction has mostly made confused. We all of a sudden care about the world? Only as it's fit for another bar crawl....

  11. *made me confused lolololol

  12. Hey Robert. Was the last act of terrorism by Osama Bin Laden blowing up your news feed? lololololololol

  13. ^ I love whoever made this comment.