NOW THAT’S FUNNY
Remember the days when, after some natural disaster, tasteless jokes would emerge slyly amid work colleagues? Your office mate would close the door and confidentially tell you a bad joke about the tornado or the mudslide, and maybe you would laugh and maybe you would grimace, but you had no idea who the boor was that made up that joke.
Now, thanks to Twitter, we know who all the boorish people are.
Cappie Pondexter, a Rutgers alumni and WNBA star playing for the New York Liberty, tweeted a terribly tasteless comment yesterday, and now she has apologized. In her original tweet, she suggested that the Japanese deserved the earthquake/tsunami. She wrote: “what if god was tired of the way they treated their own people in their own country. idk guys he makes no mistakes.” She later added via Twitter “u just never knw! They did pearl harbor so u can’t expect anything less”.
In her apology, she vowed that she did not mean to hurt anybody and didn’t know her words “could be interpreted in the manner which they were.”
I frankly don’t see a large variety of interpretations possible from her words.
This comes on the day after Gilbert Gottfried was fired as the voice of the Aflac duck for tweeting tasteless jokes about the Japanese.
OK, people. Let me explain how Twitter works. Everybody reads it. Everybody.
I think we need to start issuing licenses for tweeting. You need a license to drive a car; maybe you need one before you tweet. Twitter is clearly a dangerous mechanism. To get your license, you would have to correctly answer a few simple questions:
Who reads my tweets?
a) just my friends
How long do tweets stay out there?
a) just a day or two
b) long enough to get me fired
Twitter is a great form of self-expression: is it ok to say whatever I think?
b) only if you want to get fired
Oops! I tweeted the wrong thing. Can I make it all better with a tweet apology?
b) good luck with that
We all have awful thoughts. But in the old days, we had a thing called manners, which prevented us from blurting out these thoughts. Then manners dissolved into candor, which morphed into crassness, and then we invented the internet so that we could all be asinine on a grand scale.
Before you tweet, remember these things: a) you are not that interesting, b) your words can be damaging, most often to yourself, and c) you are not that interesting.
Or, as my mother might have said: If you can’t tweet something nice about someone, don’t tweet anything at all.
Pam Lobley writes the “Now That’s Funny” column. Sign up for her mailing list at www.pamlobley.com.