On Facebook Monday, I admit to playing the role of Grumpy Old Man.
“This will have to be the most unbelievable story on the Internet today,” I said about this BuzzFeed story. “I read a story the other day about the difficultly college grads face finding jobs, so why not make it even harder for yourself by tweeting stuff like this? Wow.”
The BuzzFeed story reported about the racist and misogynistic tweets posted by some University of Illinois students who were unhappy about their classes not being canceled Monday due to cold weather.
The grumpy old man in me likes to think I would never say such things in a tweet about anyone. But I shudder to think what the 21-year-old me might have said on Twitter if it had been available in 1987.
As it was, I found enough trouble by mouthing off in the cartoons I drew back then for the college newspaper. (And I’ll have more to say Wednesday about the relatively new digital archive I found that includes my old college cartoons.)
For me, cartoons became a way of using as few words as possible to provoke my friends and everyone else at Morningside College. It’s not a big leap from there to mouthing off on Twitter. I’m glad the temptation didn’t exist.
Because of that, I’m taking a Mulligan on my first reaction to the BuzzFeed link. The students were well within their rights to be upset and to say so. But many of them went too far in the tweets they posted and some will look back at those comments someday with regret. And maybe a few of them will even learn from their mistakes.
It’s all just a part of growing up.