The Bigger Picture of "Yanny vs. Laurel"

If you have been alive and around the internet during the last week, you have undoubtedly heard of the “Yanny vs. Laurel” controversy that has pervaded every social media outlet. This clip sparked debate and feigned-outrage from teens, adults and even celebrities. While these types of viral media have occurred in the past (á la the great black/blue vs. white/gold dress contention of 2015), it made me think about the power of distraction. Yes, it is funny to listen to the audio on repeat and fake fight about who hears it correctly, but imagine if we engaged with our world as energetically as we interact with Twitterverse clips.

As someone named Laurel, I have heard my name spoken a multitude of times over the past few days while the casual dialogue over “Yanny vs. Laurel” continues into oblivion. I have also actively sat with friends, listened to the audio on repeat and laughed when they call me “Yanny.” However, after the tragic school shooting in Texas on Friday, I must say that I am very ready to return to reality. An event like this certainly puts life as a student in perspective as we live in a world where the White House makes an entire video dedicated to “Yanny vs. Laurel” but only sends thoughts and prayers to young victims in Santa Fe, rather than supporting legislative action against gun violence.   

“Yanny vs. Laurel” was funny and a major eye-roller of a viral sensation, but it contributes to a national misguidance of what is or is not actually “newsworthy.” I hope that in these upcoming weeks we can refocus on what is really important in current events, after having finally come together to agree that it is LAUREL!