If you look at internet chatter whenever stories like this crop up, the chatter tends to fall into two camps. One side says that anyone bothered by this innocent “OK” symbol is a gullible fool who can’t be bothered to know their meme. The people who flash this symbol are just having fun. They are just playing a silly game.
The other side says that it doesn’t matter if this initially started as a 4chan prank. Symbols have always had multiple meanings. Symbols can change over time too. If you flash a hand gesture knowing that people will think you’re sending a racist message, then you might as well be sending a racist message. Especially if you’re on camera.
(Also, I don’t get the point of playing the circle game on camera. The whole point of the game is to punch or hit the person who looks at your hand when its below your waist. Without the punishment, the game is pointless, right? How is it fun?)
I’m on the second side. I can see there being lots of young people back in 2015 who didn’t know that the OK symbol had multiple meanings. But I just can’t see that being the case today. If you flash the symbol today on national TV, you’re either repping your white supremacy set or you’re being an edgelord troll. IMHO, neither one of these behaviors are befitting of a cadet.
My general feeling is that it’s time to let this thing go. The more people complain about the OK sign, the more people are going to do it, and no, not to rep white supremacy but yes, to be an edgelord troll. Make something taboo, and it’s a guarantee that young people will do it. There are WAY bigger fish to fry, politically, socially, than this hand gesture. Making a big deal over it just wastes time and energy.
When I see people doing this, to me it means “I heard someone thinks this symbol means something offensive, and I think it’s funny to offend people, and you can’t prove that I’m saying what it allegedly says, and you can’t punish all of us.”
They suck and they’re terrible, but they’re right. It’s trolling, the best thing to do is not feed it.
Would you be in favor of punishing people who troll like this?
I can think of all kinds of free speech that would be “trollish” and thus inappropriate for a nationally broadcast football game. Like grabbing one’s crotch while shooting the bird at the American flag. I would expect a cadet who did something like to be punished. And I wouldn’t expect a whole bunch of people to be all, “Let’s ignore him, folks!”
I don’t know about expelled, but some form of punishment or sanction seems quite likely. You (general you) may call it trolling and “wrong but not illegal,” but the military takes a dim view on that sort of thing, to the point that trolling on national television actually could be an offense under the UCMJ if it’s deemed “conduct that could bring discredit upon the armed forces.”
The problem isn’t the people doing it. The problem is the outrage culture and ridiculousness that pervades our society where people are constantly looking for reasons to be offended so that they can be the savior and do-gooder to show how righteous they are by their outrage afterward. How easily people are manipulated by the media. It’s sad. Likely just a kid doing what kids do, playing a game whereby he now owes a punch to millions of people by being a goofball and having fun, and people want so badly to be trolled so they can get offended that it’s now a deal. 4chan proved how ridiculous people are in their reaction to things and for some reason people want to keep proving it over and over again. It wasn’t likely even trolling, you all just want to be trolled to have something to be offended at in order to be “better than”. I don’t think he should be punished, I think those that are reaching so far that they can be offended should be if they could be.
Grabbing your crotch and shooting the bird are well established as sexually offensive signals. It’s easy to prove the intent and it should definitely be punished.
I don’t think these cadets are showing solidarity with white supremacy. If they did, they should be punished. I do think they are saying “we are being funny by trolling a meaningless gesture that upsets others, and you can’t prove what it means”. The intent is very deniable here. OK has meant OK for 200 years, and it hasn’t stopped meaning that.
I’m strongly skeptical that their intent is pure, and they seem mighty smug to me, but I don’t think anyone can prove their intent thoroughly enough to justify a punishment.
I would be in favor of punishing intent that I can demonstrate. I can say that if I were not the fair-minded, kindhearted, and law-abiding person that I am, I would cheerfully punch each one of these dickholes in the face for being close enough to my definition of trolling. But I also think this is one of those things that could go away if we stop giving it oxygen.
You have no responsibility for possibly reading in intent that may not be there? I know it’s hard to understand that a bunch of young males might play the circle game, but you automatically assume the worst and label someone a racist. You don’t own your own response to such feeling and resultant accusations without knowing intent, the person, anything but what the media told you? Odd notion of personal responsibility, there. I love how the offended person is now seen as right today, full stop, no questions asked. Your feelings, no matter what you impugn to another, are correct and valid and must be pandered to. Now we must have someone punished because you got in your feelings without facts.