This past weekend was the Superbowl and everyone was preparing for controversies galore. There were whispers that Beyoncé was going to show up for the half-time show and make some kind of political statement during Lady Gaga’s performance. Or Lady Gaga, a Hillary Supporter, was going to use her Halftime performance to spread some kind of political message. People were expecting that the Superbowl commercials were going to be political and there would be this war between different companies as they took up arms against each other each trying to get people to buy their products. But honestly all these rumors about how controversial the Superbowl was going to be really didn’t add up to anything big. In my opinion, everything seemed to go right and the overall message from America the Beautiful, the National Anthem, the Halftime Show, and the Superbowl commercials all added up to a patriotic and unifying message. Beyoncé didn’t show up and Lady Gaga didn’t use her drones to spell out #Resist. Everything was fine. I actually think most of the Superbowl commercials had messages of diversity, women empowerment, togetherness, and patriotism. I don’t think any of that is that controversial, but of course this is 2017 and the internet exists so people had to find SOMETHING to complain about.
I found this Buzzfeed article about how Lady Gaga’s Halftime performance WAS political and his evidence includes things like Lady Gaga’s choice of songs (specifically “America the Beautiful”and “Born This Way”) and the fact she went out into the crowd and hugged a fan symbolizing the Statue of Liberty. Then there were a series of Tweets sent out after the Patriots saying that Tom Brady winning the Superbowl was “racist” because he’s a white man (who supports the 45th President) and the Superbowl was held in February which is Black History Month. Then during and after the Superbowl, people took to social media to complain about how certain Superbowl commercials WERE offensive. Apparently things like Coke showing a commercial where people sing America the Beautiful in multiple languages is offense to people both in 2017 and in 2014 when they first originally aired the commercial. People also got offended by the 84 Lumber commercial that aired half of its commercial during the Superbowl with the other half being online. The part that showed during the Superbowl featured a Mexican Mother and Daughter going on a journey to find a better life. They eventually get to what is assumed the American-Mexican border where they find a border wall. There’s a touching moment where the Daughter shows her mother an American flag she made out of bit of fabric and stuff she gathered on their journey. They discover a gate that made in the wall, and they come through presumably to live in America. (Check it out here).
Now depending on how you feel about Immigration, Illegal Immigration, the border wall, etc. I can see how you might find the commercial offensive or somehow advocating for stuff that goes against your political beliefs. But the Coke commercial? Or the other commercials that advocating for togetherness and embracing America’s diversity? Are you kidding me? Then me have people saying Tom Brady is a racist because he won a football game during Black History Month, seriously? This honestly hurts my head and my heart. Why can’t we just have a single event without controversy? Why do we have to get so offended by everything?
We live in a world of safe spaces and people demanding they live in these offensive-free zones which seems to be at war with the idea of free speech. Just last week, UC Berkeley cancelled an event where Milo Yiannopoulos (a senior editor for Breitbart News) was supposed to speak. There were protests and event violence against police officers. Conservatives seem to claim that it’s the Liberals that are always getting offended by everything and that Millennials are these “special snowflakes” that always take offense. But Conservatives are just as likely to get offended by things. I’ve already talked about certain Superbowl commercials that apparently offended Conservatives and supporters of our 45th President. Let’s not forget about when December comes around and people become offended by things like saying “Happy Holidays” and Starbucks’ cups. Then there’s all the people who lost their minds when people sat or knelt during the National Anthem. Conservatives/Republicans were all up in arms over these things that had little to no affect on their actual lives, but I saw thousands of Tweets and Facebook posts about it. That’s not even touching on our current “Republican” President who has the thinnest skin I’ve even seen from a President. Talk about his hair or his tiny hands and prepare for a Twitter war that will be covered by the media for at least 48 hours.
Now I want to state that a lot of this offense is coming from a very loud minority on both sides of the political spectrum that seems to identify with the far left or the far right. The people in the middle of the political spectrum seem to be the ones confused why everyone is getting offended by everything. I’m sitting here wondering why we can’t just get together and enjoy something like a football game without trying to nitpick and try to find faults in things like musical performances or commercials. I believe that there are people out there who try to seek out things to get offended by and they aren’t happy being content with the way things are. Things don’t have to send us into a Twitter feud with one another. We can actually get along. Or there’s this thing called “reading something on the internet, disagreeing with it, and then move on from it.” It’s a crazy idea that some people probably find controversial (of course).
Now personally I don’t get offended by a lot of things. I’m not going to say I’m never offended by things but that’s not true, but for the most part I don’t get offended. When I see something I disagree with, it’s easy for me to move on. Maybe I roll my eyes or sigh a little bit, but then I move on with my life. On to better things! Some people seem to lack the ability to read something or hear something and ignore it. One moment they are having a pleasant day and then they see an advertisement for a sugary beverage sang in different languages and they decide to boycott that company. Or a gay, British guy comes to their campus and they decide the best thing to do is set things on fire and throw rocks at police officers. Neither of those things seem reasonable to me. And I’m really trying to understand their perspective, but honestly I don’t get it. Plus that lifestyle sounds super stressful. I’m all for putting your money where your mouth is so if you want to go around boycotting every corporation on the planet and if you want to stop watching anything Hollywood produces because it goes against your political beliefs, then it is your right to do so. I just don’t really get it.
I think instead we should just take a deep breathe and learn to not let stuff hurt us so personally. Not everything needs to start a Twitter war or cause friendships to unravel on Facebook. Sometimes we are faced with things that challenge our beliefs and we get to choose how to respond. We can either 1) throw some kind of tantrum that makes us look childish, 2) ignore it completely, or 3) take the opportunity to explain your view and actually take something from the conversation. Maybe option three will lead to you better understanding your position and the other person’s position leading to a more meaningful connection with the person. You can learn some new things and your perspective on your life can be opened just a little bit.
Yeah you’re right. We should just rant and rave on social media. That will change people’s opinions! #Sarcasm
Reminder: Keep all discussion civil and on topic. I do not want to shut down free speech but I will if the speech is hateful and/or not-constructive. Thank you.