Is It Just Me or Do We Need to Stop Keeping Up With the Kardashians?
Yesterday Snapchat shares fell 8%, wiping out $1.3 billion, because of a Kardashian tweet. Kylie Jenner tweeted out “sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me... ugh this is so sad.” The spicy tweet got 60,000 retweets and 315,000 likes which is just a couple more than my average tweet receives.
Now the catalyst and gotcha headline was all about Jenner’s tweet but in reality the backlash stems from the redesign of the app. The backlash was so severe, a change.org petition was even formed to try and change it back. The petition, “Remove the new Snapchat Update” received 1.2 million supporters. Currently, the “Pass Common Sense Gun Control” petition has 204,000 to lend a little perspective. To quote the great poet of our age, Kylie Jenner, “Ugh... this is so sad.” Awe inspiring, isn’t she? At a time when our nation has struggled with the loss of 17 children from a school shooting, this is what captivates our attention.
Every time something tragic happens, we change our Facebook photos and ask for likes and shares to show support. Virtue signaling, they call it. But we lack focus and follow through. Before anything meaningful can be accomplished, our attention sways to the next big thing and we move on as if the shooting never even happened. I guess we are as resilient as we are fickle.
I don’t claim to have all the answers and I’ve tried to avoid talking about the shooting because of my lack of solutions, but somehow a Kylie Jenner tweet inspired me to make a statement. So, Miss Jenner, I apologize for mocking your short attention span and vapid content you share with your 24 million cult like followers, who will follow you off the Snapchat cliff like lemmings. For I do believe something can be done. Something more attainable and realistic than getting our do-nothing Congress to work, or even show up for work. As we have grown more disconnected from one another, I think we as a nation have lost our soul. We need to be nice to one another, especially the weird ones that so often get made fun of and picked on.
I thought we would have learned our lesson from Columbine, or Virginia Tech or the countless other shootings. They keep happening and we are quick to pick a team on the issue: pro-gun or anti-gun. The media is so quick to divide us into easy to comprehend labels, exploiting our tribal instincts. I believe it’s more complicated than that. I believe the structure of our society is making certain individuals sick. Maybe it affects all of us and most of us just bottle it up inside. The fact is that life can be hard, and confusing, but being mean to the weird kid is a luxury we can no longer afford. We are all just trying to make it through the day. Sometimes we forget that a smile on the outside can be a mask for the problems we are ashamed of or don’t know how to talk about.
We have stigmatized mental illness and it is taking lives. We see those lives turn into statistics on CNN who struggles to contain their excitement as they coach impressionable children into becoming political talking points to further their agenda. Most believe that agenda is take away our guns but sadly I believe their agenda is simply to get ratings. Hence the sportscaster style “BREAKING NEWS” they use for nearly every story. They aren’t concerned with solutions or consoling children in a crisis that will haunt them the rest of their lives. They rather get juicy details about their dead classmates. I thought we were better than this.
We see the lives that are lost when a gunman loses his mind and commits these atrocious acts, but what we don’t so easily see are the lives that are quietly affected by mental illness. Just last year we lost Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Chester Bennington of Linkin Park to suicide. 1 in 6 Americans take a psychiatric drug according to the Scientific American. Most of these are antidepressants. Some of us just need a little help to balance out but 17 percent? Maybe there is something endemic to our current culture that is causing all these mental illnesses. Definitely, there is a problem with not being able to talk about our mental health without risk of shame or possibly even being locked up.
We all are looking for an easy solution or a scapegoat because no one wants to believe there could be a greater problem with our society and how we spend our lives. It’s not the guns. It’s not the video games. Canada has the same media America has, and they don’t have the same issues with violence. It’s a mental health crisis and maybe being nicer to one another would help. It won’t solve the problem but it will at least make it a little easier on those of us who are struggling. Let’s face it: we all have our bad days and a little niceness can go a long way to help us keep it together. To quote Frank from the film God Bless America, “Why have a society if we can’t act civilized.”