Let People Enjoy Things!

Over the past few weeks, a couple notable moments have taken place. Chronologically, they are: 4/20, Earth Day, and Taylor Swift’s release of a new song featuring Brendon Urie. You may be wondering, what do these three things have in common? I’ll tell you. For each of these, trolls online have run their mouth in an attempt to ruin it for everyone.

 

Whether you smoke weed or not, 4/20 is a day people who smoke weed often celebrate. The history behind 4/20 is kind of hazy, but allegedly, it became weed day because in 1971, five teenagers would meet after school at 4:20 to smoke weed. I’m not here to shame you because you smoke or because you don’t smoke, because in all honesty, that’s your business (though my inner HAWC member is begging me to add that if you do choose to smoke, please do so safely). So let’s paint the scene: it’s Saturday morning, April 20, 2019. One of my best friends from home, Ashley, is visiting me in Seattle. I wake up, see that Ashley and Alexandra are both already awake, either on their phone or reading. I decide to check my phone as I wake up. I open Twitter. What do I see? Tweets saying, “How about you celebrate 420 by calling your mom and telling her you love her you freaking drug addicts.” Tweets shaming people who smoke weed and demonizing them. Fortunately, many people used the day to talk about those who have been incarcerated for marijuana possession―I would like to make it very, very clear that this is a good thing and we absolutely should be having conversations about people who were arrested for marijuana possession, and they should be released. What I didn’t see was anyone expressing how excited they were to get super high that day. I didn’t see anyone bragging about smoking weed.

 

We’re all adults. We can (or should be able to) admit that choosing to smoke weed or choosing not to smoke weed doesn’t make you “cooler” than anyone else. Want to know what definitely doesn’t make you cooler than anyone else? Going out of your way to shame someone for doing something that doesn’t impact your life in any way, shape, or form. What do you gain from putting down someone who smokes? Are you happy? Are you satisfied? (How long can you stand the heat?) I hope you feel so cool for making sure everyone knows you don’t smoke weed. I respect you so much more for making it perfectly clear that you would never smoke the devil’s lettuce. You’re so brave. Thank you for sharing your story. (Do you see how dumb that sounds?)

 

Flash forward two days. Monday, April 22, 2019. Earth Day. People post pictures on all social media platforms expressing how much they love the earth, how much they appreciate the beauty of the earth, and how grateful they are to live on the earth. I marvel at each photo, sharing the affection and awe. Again, I go on Twitter. Tweets saying, “Posting a photo of yourself with a serene background for Earth Day doesn’t make you any less guilty of destroying the planet with the rest of us.” Posts reminding us the planet is dying. News flash: we know. We think about it every day. Those of us appreciating the earth are more than likely the ones making changes in our lives to save it. The earth is hurting. We know. Why does that mean we can’t stop and appreciate the beauty of our planet? Why does that mean we can’t take some time to reflect on all that Earth has done and provided for us? Why does that mean we can’t cherish our memories on planet Earth? This is another situation where a hateful attitude does literally nothing. It does nobody any good. It ruins the mood of those trying to celebrate our home. Furthermore, we know that posting pictures on Earth Day doesn’t make us any less responsible for killing the earth. We know that we all play a role in the death of the earth. Does that mean we can’t take a day to show a little extra appreciation? If you’re really that pissed about it, get off social media for the day. Or don’t post about Earth Day. In short, just keep your mouth shut. Let those of us who want to appreciate the earth on Earth Day do so, and keep your needless hate to yourself.

Full disclosure: I’ve loved Taylor Swift for as long as I can remember. I really don’t understand why people hate her. Maybe someday I’ll write an article about that, but for now, let’s talk about her new song, “ME!” featuring Brendon Urie. The song released on April 26, 2019 at 12 AM EST (9 PM Seattle time). It features lyrics like, “I promise that you’ll never find another like me,” “I’m the only one of me, / baby that’s the fun of me,” “you’re the only one of you, / baby that’s the fun of you,” and “you can’t spell awesome without me.” Cheesy? Yes. But the song is about loving yourself, accepting that you are a unique human being who cannot be replaced, and acknowledging that the people around you are equally unique. Now, no matter what Swift does, she gets backlash for it. After being called a snake one too many times during her feud with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, Swift accepted the name and used it as a sort of mascot for her reputation album and tour. In fact, the video for “ME!” starts with a snake slithering along the ground, and right as the snake prepares to strike, it explodes and turns into butterflies―a visual representation of Swift’s growth and transformation.

 

Swift, knowing she is widely hated (for no real reason), disabled her Instagram comments a long time ago. I can’t blame her―I would do the same if I got hate for everything I do. Urie, on the other hand, is widely loved and an icon in the alternative rock/emo world. I’ll admit, when Swift posted a picture advertising the video, I was curious. I made my way to Urie’s page and scrolled through some of the comments. What I saw was disappointing, but not surprising. A few comments that caught my eye: “Song is absolutely trash, Brendon’s vocals are sooo much better than Taylor’s,” “What the f--k are you doing making songs with trash?” “This sh-t was ass. Waste of my g-ddamn time, try a different profession,” and “You sold out man.” Working with Swift immediately earned Urie hate from his own fans, people who claim to love him and respect him and his work. The solution is quite simple: if you don’t like the song, don’t listen to it. If you don’t like Taylor Swift, grow up.

 

The list of examples I could give about how some people online for some reason can’t let the rest of us just enjoy things is long. Too long. Social media can be a great place to share ideas and make connections, but it is undoubtedly also a toxic place--and we all know this. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t know how to stay quiet when you don’t like something, just get off the internet. You’re not doing anyone (including yourself!) any good by being so negative and hateful. Just keep it to yourself. Let people enjoy things. I promise it won’t hurt you.