Warning: May contain Offensive Material!
When there is a topic that needs to be talked about, where do you go? To the ‘Public Sphere’ – an area, such as a coffee house, for discussion about controversial issues, news or debates. The idea of a Public Sphere gives people the opportunity to converse in a social setting, face-to-face about topics discussed in media, this has changed to due to the introduction of the internet.
The internet allows for anyone in the world to gather at specific websites such as Tumblr, Facebook and Reddit, to give an opinion on any information that they so choose. The Public Sphere has become a much less face-to-face interaction but a bigger, more social one, thus changing the need for mediation with-in the “Public Sphere”. The websites mentioned have all mediated themselves in some way, usually by having rules – restricting adult content to certain forums or not allowing any at all, placing certain content into categories and allowing certain people to post or the introduction of Moderators to patrol forums to enforce the rules. There are certain aspects of the internet that can’t be mediated as they are produced by users, yet no one can justify owning the content, I am talking about Memes – a short picture, phrase or a combination that spreads around the internet.
The above picture, to me anyway, is nothing more than a turtle eating a strawberry with the written words “OH MY GOD, I LOVE STRAWBERRIES!!” as to represent the feelings of the turtle as to show both the cuteness of the turtle in something so absurd but also to express the similar feel that a human can. It is something anyone can relate to by enjoying/liking something very much.
In contrast to the comedic aspect of personifying a turtle’s affection eating a strawberry, there are other memes that bring controversy, such as:
The above meme, and many others, bring controversy to any place that it is posted. One can be disgusted by looking at a failing attempt at humour on the touchy subject of rape. To produce a picture like this, but to also include the line “It’s not rape. If she really didn’t want to, she’d have said something”, to express the idea if women can not voice her objection, then it is not rape.
When it comes to this meme it brings up the controversy and debate of rape and women oppression against the freedom of speech on the internet. What is considered humour? Can every area of the internet be mediated? Do controversial memes hurt anyone? Are memes used to point fun at sensitive issues or to bring them up and get people to talk?
When there is no claim to creation but a reason for the creation in the first place, it would be easier to just avoid what is portrayed but then conversation and understanding would not ever happen.