In the time of Twitter, Facebook, and social media in general, it is only natural that certain elements and behaviors will be formed or normalized specifically around them. Shade, tea, memes, those are all things we’re used to seeing, and keep us entertained in the cold nights of winter. Or not quite, global warming and all. Anyway, our generation is accustomed to being a bit sly, maybe snake-y, maybe enjoying to stir the pot, and all of that is good and well when it just pure fun.
But what happens when we are met with a more serious topic? Say, a celebrity’s politically insensitive statement from a few years ago surfacing? Well, sadly, it is handled in the exact same way personal drama between high schoolers would. Screenshots go viral, out of context quotes are everywhere, people are blacklisted and lose all kinds of repute they have among fanbases. The question is, does this benefit either party? When a famous individual has said something that is truly problematic, whether that is racist, sexist, homophobic or anything else, does “@koreanmenruinedme” or “@castiel4life” directing sheer hate at them and screaming “__ IS CANCELLED” actually teach a lesson? To me, it seems that it simply offers the chance to write criticism off as “haters”, ignoring the real point of any controversy caused.
In cases when a person visible to the public eye has faltered by openly speaking about something they are ignorant about, then yes, it is important we bring it to their attention and attempt to educate them (key word: educate, not scream at), so that a lesson is actually learnt, if possible of course. I am in no way excusing pure hate rhetoric, where there is really no hope for polite conversation, but when it comes to simply iffy statements or badly thought-out jokes, then there is no real reason to not make an effort to get the point across without resorting to “shade” and overused GIFs, which only improves the chances of amends being made.
FYI, calmer and more logical reactions to problematic tweets or videos also mean fewer instances of false conclusions. Many a celebrity have had their names tarnished on social media, or their talents discredited simply because of a quote taken entirely out of context with no explanation. Taking five minutes out of your busy schedule to do a little research online and verifying the source of the object of your mutuals’ hatred, as well as its credibility, only helps you pass your own judgement without being affected by the fact that an opinion is simply widely accepted.
So, next time your favorite actor or singer suddenly has a #___isoverparty hashtag, don’t immediately lose hope, or destroy the shrine you have in your wardrobe dedicated to them. Just take a deep breath, and see what the fuss is about. Things aren’t as always as tragic as Twitter wants to make them seem.