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Inappropriate Memes

Decent Essays
Recently, the world-renowned Harvard University was in the news. However, they made headlines not for a ground-breaking study as they often have, but rather for kicking ten incoming students out. These ten students were kicked out for posting inappropriate memes in a Facebook group chat. For the uninitiated, a meme is a funny picture posted online. Memes have various formats, and there were several different “types” of memes shared through this group chat. These memes contained various tasteless themes such as anti-Semitism, pedophilia, and racism, among others. These memes were offensive enough to result in the university revoking the students’ offers of admission. While these students are likely bright enough to attend another…show more content…
One example of this is the meme posted in the group chat that says, “when the mexican [sic] kid hangs himself in the school bathroom” and has a picture of the words “piñata time.” This is very clearly inappropriate and offensive on a few different levels, relying on the shock value of the suicide joke and the national stereotype of Mexicans using piñatas. But the fatal flaw of this meme is the lack of any attempt at humor besides shock humor, which is extremely difficult to pull off and usually only works if it’s used in conjunction with another more standard joke. I believe that offensive humor isn’t inherently wrong or inappropriate, as long as it’s actually humorous. To provide an example of offensive humor that still manages to be funny, I point to the movie Blazing Saddles, which is widely regarded as one of the funniest comedies ever, despite numerous racial jokes. It manages to pull this off successfully by making sure that in addition to the shock humor, there’s more traditional jokes. The lack of this in the memes in the group chat is their fatal flaw. Many people feel that controversial topics, such as racism or anti-Semitism, should be regarded as off-limits when it comes to humor. These people argue that any joke about these topics is inappropriate and always should be punished, or, at the very least, condemned, and to a certain extent, I agree with
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