Culture, Hurricane

Satirical Facebook “events” help ease tensions during Hurricane Irma

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With the news of an impending hurricane coming straight to South Florida from Sept. 9 to Sept. 14, news also arose that within those days, over 4,000 people would take to the streets of Coral Gables, lower their center of mass, fly their arms behind their torsos and channel their inner “shinobi.” All in the hope to escape the destruction of Hurricane Irma, just as the legendary Naruto might.

This will happen only if one were to trust UM sophomore Cassius Torres’ Facebook event, “Naruto run away from Irma.”

Torres never expected the event to reach over 15,000 “interested” people, and he was pleasantly surprised to see all those people “distract themselves from the impending doom.”

Seeing that he now had a large audience, Torres used the opportunity to remind the “attendees” to take precautions to stay safe during the storm.

“Hello everyone,” Torres said in a post on the event page. “As the storm approaches, I just hope everyone is taking precautions and staying safe. If anyone actually wants to do this after the hurricane I am 100% down.”

Torres’ event was far from the only satirical hurricane event to gain notoriety. Once it was announced that Hurricane Irma was to hit South Florida, numerous satirical events have popped up on Facebook. Each one offering a unique solution to combating the effects of the storm, and in some cases, the storm itself.

Among the popular events is “Asking Irma to send noodz so she’ll become uninterested,” created by UM finance and economics student Tram Nguyen.

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Her page attracted over 2,000 viewers. Nguyen, who runs an Instagram meme page (@tram_posts_memes), was “very happy with the overwhelming response” she received from the community. Like Torres, she made the page to “distract [everyone] from all the scary news.”

Other UM students took the satirical concept even further and used the Irma events to poke fun at aspects of the university.

“Force Hurricane Irma to use CaneLink so she won’t come to UM,” created by microbiology and immunology major Alexander LaBarbera, is just one example.

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“CaneLink has become a meme of its own on campus,” said LaBarbera. “It was an easy target.” CaneLink, the university’s online student service, is often lauded by students for its “clunky and non-user-friendly interface,” LaBarbera said.

Other UM-related Facebook events included, “Make Irma wait for a Hurry ‘Cane shuttle until she gives up and storms away” and “Revoking Irma’s financial aid so she can’t afford to come to UM.”

These events are becoming so popular because of the increasing cultural relevance of comedy as a coping mechanism, along with a dash of self-deprecating humor we normally see on social media sites like Twitter.

However, LaBarbera thinks it is much simpler, “Who doesn’t love a good-ol-fashioned-meme?”

September 23, 2017


Jason Donnelly

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