Qu: A Guilty Pleasure

by Dorothy Qu | 4/14/16 5:48pm

During a time in which politics dominates many aspects of our lives, from protests to everyday conversations, it’s nice to take a step back and appreciate the little things in life. And newspapers like The New York Times just don’t cut it.

I have had this realization after coming across the “Trending” section on Facebook. This shows the most popular articles on Facebook, personalized to each used based on factors like location and what you have liked. When people share a post or write out their thoughts to an audience of Facebook friends, they need to feel strongly about their convictions. If the heart of news lays in published work, the soul can be found in the comments. Indeed, comments are the best way to gauge how real people feel about hot topics.

Here are some recent examples of these comments.

One article titled “Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo was quoted in an article as saying that she dislikes being called ‘sweetie’ or ‘honey’” in a business environment” received hundreds of comments. Many of the Facebook users who shared this article were supportive and could relate to feeling patronized and belittled with similar terms in professional settings. However, most were dissatisfied individuals who showed what can politely be described as disdain for Nooyi’s stance.

One post read, “Hey, Sweetie.... Good luck with that, babe! Whether you take an implied pleasantry as an inferred offense is your feminist business, not mine, honey. I don’t work for you, cuddles. Nor do I kowtow to your self-importance.” Another expressed surprise at the mere fact that the CEO of Pepsi was a woman and “all the sodas didn’t taste like sandwiches,” while another expressed support for her, noting how frustrating this could be in a professional setting.

Another popular headline was “Princeton, New Jersey: Photos Surface of Teens Playing Drinking Game With ‘Jews vs. Nazis’ Theme.” The story contains an image of Princeton High School students at a party in which they are organizing cups in the shapes of a swastika and a star of David for a game of beer pong. One student, Jamaica Ponder, uploaded the image in order to inspire administrative intervention.

One user was thrilled about this, reveling in the fact that this story came out of “Ultra Ultral liberal Princeton where they tried to ban the Republican Party.” This commenter also expressed his enjoyment about flaunting his supoprt of Ted Cruz all throughout Princeton, which he calls a “bastion of liberal hipocrisy,” a “circus” that should be renamed “Sandersville.” Another similarly inclined user went on to argue that the game was purposefully offensive, that “That’s the point.” They go on to argue that although Princeton claims to promote tolerance, they only do so when they agree with what the person is saying. They assert that if, “The administrators at this school are not about free speech. They are about ‘non inflamatory culturally sensitive rhetoric.’” These commenters characterize a particular conservative attitude that liberal leaning people and institutions are riddled with hipocrisy and seek to silence any dissenting opinions. They are pushing back against what is often characterized as a wave of excessive political corectness.

These commentators point out a real issue — the “battle” with political correctness in America — and I say fight it! Here are your comrades Where have they been hiding? In the bowels of the internet, but now you can communicate with them through a relatively respectable medium. Prepare your arms and ready yourselves for battle!

I urge readers to explore their own Facebook news feeds and to not shy away from the wonderful comments that come attached to them. Sites like the New York Times, CNN, Fox News, Yahoo, or whatever your news source of choice is, provide far too narrow perspectives. Engaging might often seem futile, but comments sections provide a rich space for engagement. Read these comments to expand your mind and/or tolerance. Get to know the real America.