by Adam Klepp
As humans, it’s in our nature to make fun of the things we are scared of. We feel the need to ease the stress of potentially tragic events, and humor is the way we do this. But the Ebola jokes need to stop.
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve seen the vines with the guy who sneezes and then his friend has on a Hazmat suit, with a caption “Ebola got me like”. You’ve seen the “Sexy Ebola Patient” Halloween costume. You may have even heard of the ridiculous woman who made a homemade Hazmat suit, and then wore it to the airport. Search #Ebola on twitter. For every one post that provides good and helpful information, there are three posts with jokes about the fatal disease.
Many students at Seaholm are cracking jokes about Ebola as well, when about 3,500 people have died in West Africa, and that number is only going up. West Africans who have died from Ebola are being left on the side of the road to rot away. Mothers are losing their children. Children are losing their mothers. How insensitive can we be?
We make these so-called jokes just to get favorites, likes, or double-taps. And we are doing this all in a month centered around raising awareness for breast cancer. If someone made a breast cancer joke on Twitter, or purchased a “Sexy Chemo Patient” Halloween costume, can you even begin to imagine what people would think? It’s unacceptable to joke about cancer, and it shouldn’t be acceptable to make jokes about a different deadly disease.
More recently, social media is now making fun of a doctor who risked his life by going to try and save West Africans. His name is Dr. Craig Spencer, and instead of being famous for his heroic act, he is famous for a hashtag, #Ebowla. Dr. Craig Spencer went bowling, then went to the hospital where he was diagnosed with Ebola. So the internet came up with #Ebowla.
This prompted tweets by the best and brightest of individuals, like @laurenreeves, who said “the most tragic part of the NYC Ebola case is that I was on a plane for 6 hours without Wi-Fi and everyone beat me to the jokes”. Even better, we have @elizabethnacca1 who so eloquently wrote “Just got home from treating Ebola patients. Think I’ll take 3 subways and go bowling#Dr.Dumb”. This is a man who signed up voluntarily to work with Doctors Without Borders, who go help strangers in the world’s most dangerous health zones. He may deserve a bit more credit than to be called Dr. Dumb.
The Ebola jokes need to stop. They never were funny, and never will be funny.