Community: Our beloved distraction
Published: Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 20:11
I love Community. It is by far my preferred means of communication—if you can't figure something out on your own you can ask the vast unknowns of the Wellesley Internet underworld. It's an excellent source of distraction for the easily stressed. I love Professor Flick's adorable pictures of his cat, even though I only know what he looks like thanks to Shania Liu '11's graphics. Our thread on how we support our LGBTQ siblings also gives me the warm-fuzzies.
I love it when I have nothing better to do, but also when I have so much to do that I don't know where to start. The excessive spamming helps you to actually know what's going on around campus, even if you are stuck in your room for an entire weekend reading "The Leviathan." (Not that that ever happened to me personally, of course.) At the same time it's a social time bomb—it usually turns into a leviathan itself when people say really offensive things before adding disclaimers.
There is a highly scientific formula that can be used to describe how Community threads go viral.
(1) Somebody somewhere has to be offended, and let's face it, this is Wellesley: everything is offensive to somebody.
(2) After the initial offensive statement and the statement of offense, everyone chooses sides and it starts to get ugly.
(3) Other students, who aren't as invested in the argument, become offended by those doing the flaming. They then proceed with the respect-thy-fellow-woman argument. In the next ten minutes somebody will get a personal e-mail about the Community thread that they commented on and then proceed to wreak havoc. It seems like there are about a hundred people who post to Community: ten people who claim that they never post to Community (but still comment on every major thread) and then the rest of us, who watch and giggle quietly.
It's a recipe for disaster, which is served with a light sprinkling of homemade ‘lolcats' or that kid from High School Musical wearing a construction worker's hat. At the end of it all Flick will tell us what he thinks, very respectfully, but still choosing a side. Eventually the flames die down and fizzle out, typically when something even more offensive (gasp!) has occurred in another thread.
There have been some epic Community scandals. The most epic was courtesy of the ill-fated Jeremy Pham, our former resident troll. JPham's case was exceptional for several reasons, the first being that everyone was very obviously (and viciously) against him. This scandal bypassed the usual one-through-three steps of people getting offended that others were offended. It also largely eliminated the love-thy-fellow-human-being argument. As a result the number of lolcats and other graphics practically tripled and the supporting train-wreck witnesses doubled. The second exceptional factor of the JPham debacle was that it broke into the "real" world. Community is supposed to be like Las Vegas: what happens there stays there.
Some of my other personal favorites include men as well, because unsurprisingly we seem to have issues when it comes to the opposite sex. That time a first-year's male friends were accused of trashing a bathroom was awful, but also highly entertaining— mainly because it allowed us to make fun of ourselves and generate amusing "Wellesley for Young Ladies of Quality" comments. The recently created "Brospotter," which features the mythical Y chromosome, was also featured in a Community discussion.
Community can also sprout threads of cuteness when we need it to the most. We may shudder at your argument that you are not racist because you have a black friend, or get upset at how you display your views on abortion on the back of your truck, but we usually all calm down long enough to look at the kitties. The cute thread, hotpeople thread, funny thread and of course the Harry Potter Community takeovers will be missed. Where else would a shirtless picture of Putin be appreciated if not on Wellesley Community's hot-people thread?
Students seem to be getting touchier as the days go by, hinting that the final encounter will be disastrous. As a self-proclaimed Community connoisseur I would have to pinpoint the Wellesley financial crisis as the topic of the ultimate and likely penultimate Community blow-ups. It's quite frequently the source of our angst, in an all-roadslead- to-Rome kind of way. Fewer dining halls, white privilege, somebody threw up on the Senate bus; it all ties back to Wellesley not having money. If one thread containing such comments appears, a host of other threads will simultaneously explode into full-fledged flame wars about race, gender and socioeconomic status. Whatever the topic, I think we can all be fairly certain that it will start off with an innocent question, followed by somebody saying, "I'm offended."