I live tweeted the #SuperBowl. I live tweeted the #StateoftheUnion. Heck, I live tweeted our #DPColumnistMeeting last weekend.
For the most part, live tweeting is great. Twitter provides an easily accessible way to enter into a dialogue, to allow someone like me to pitch my two cents to my followers — all 53 of them — the exact moment an event happens. I have a platform to showcase my quick and witty comebacks to people besides my roommates. #Winning.
The tweets also track common sentiment. According to Nolan Feeney of Time magazine, Beyonce’s performance generated 5.5 million tweets during the Super Bowl, making her “more important on Twitter than the Super Bowl itself” and therefore “the real world champion.” In this respect, Twitter and other instantaneous online reports have a finger on the pulse of public belief and reveal what is truly important to the people.
Consequentially, I found many of the tweets and other multimedia feedback concerning the Oscars this last Sunday upsetting. A disproportionate amount of the public response centered on negative aspects of the evening, which was supposed to be a celebration of the movie industry and a recognition of individuals’ work both in front of and behind the camera.
What does the fact that we cannot enjoy such a show but rather must criticize it ruthlessly and endlessly say about our culture? #NothingGood.
“What was the most offensive or most amusing joke you’ve heard in the Oscars broadcast? Tweet us w/ #NYTOscars; we’ll feature replies,” tweeted The New York Times.
Are offensive jokes now the center of attention for news stories on The New York Times?
One response from a man named Todd Morgan reads: “[T]he most offensive joke? The Les Mis cast posing as live musical theatre.”
What good comes from ripping into the Les Miserables cast performance? Such constant criticism shows insensitivity and devaluation of people for the sake of a laugh — or, in this case, a coveted retweet from The New York Times.
Mia Farrow tweeted, “You can tell who’s doing coke #oscars.” Michael Ian Black said, “Anne Hathaway forgot to thank whoever replaced her bones with al dente spaghetti.” And Cassandra Barry wrote, “Renee Zellweger forgot to Botox the one part of her face that actually needs it: Her mouth. Let that sour pucker relax, RZ.”
The satirical news outlet The Onion takes the cake for the most tasteless tweet of the evening, referring to nine-year-old “Beasts of the Southern Wild” star Quvenzhane Wallis in a failed joke: “Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhane Wallis is kind of a c**t, right? #Oscars2013.”
I must have missed the memo when calling a nine-year-old the c-word became remotely all right. The fact that this even appeared on Twitter — though The Onion did remove it after an hour and has issued a formal apology — shows the lack of filter between a person’s instantaneous reaction and his broadcast of it.
It also illuminates the bigger problem: are these types of comments really what people are thinking when they watch shows and performances? Are we really that cruelly harsh?
Granted, not all of the feedback from Sunday night revolved around biting negativity. According to TVLine, the Oscars actually drew 40.3 million viewers, its largest audience since 2010, and polls show that overall people enjoyed the show.
Virtual response may also represent the extreme because it is easy to hide behind a keyboard. It is easy to troll online (as we Daily Pennsylvanian columnists know) and say whatever one wants to say. Sarcasm and side comments are a viable and oft-used form of humor. However, none of that removes personal responsibility for what one puts forth.
With the increase in popularity of live tweeting and the desire to be the most retweeted, liked and commented upon in other avenues of social media, the line between appropriate and inappropriate blurs. Good-natured and caustic intermingle. And taking it two — or in the case of The Onion, two hundred — steps too far speaks more to what type of society we live in than the nature of whatever we are critiquing.
Morgan Jones is a College junior from Colorado Springs, Co. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or send her a tweet @morganjo_. “Nuggets of Wisdom” usually appears every Thursday.
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