Is the Frederick Meme Page a Hit or Miss?

Is the Frederick Meme Page a Hit or Miss?

Susan Rose, Head Editor

Meme culture is an odd thing. It has transformed in many ways throughout the years, going from silly pictures with captions to a single letter with a morphed picture. So many people continue to laugh and look at all of this buzz around the internet, having it become so prominent within different environments, schools being one of those. Many students in different areas have made such meme pages to comedically mock their schools and environment. Even our Frederick High School students have made a so-called Frederick Meme Page.

Why it can be a problem

Though most people enjoy the meme account on Instagram, it has brought many up hurt feelings and can sometimes go a bit too far. One of the most recent example that has caused a small “attack” against the meme account, was from a meme created about the Frederick Football team and their finals placement. ​

Although it was a simple joke attempting to make people laugh and to lighten the mood about the recent loss, it caused many to take offense against the meme. Both the joke and account gained backlash from the football members including some of the students, with the account receiving hurtful comments and death threats against its admins. One of the admins of the page explained, “We were all really shocked by the comments people ended up saying about the post. We ended up deleting it, but then re-uploaded it after some steam blew off.”

Although the student backlash isn’t the only issue, some of the staff have gotten upset about the ordeal as well. As teacher Brandon Coon commented, “Some find it hilarious. Like I’ve been critiqued or roasted a couple of times, and it’s all in good fun. I’ve smiled at it, [but] they’ve never been too harsh with me. [For] others… I remember one of my other English colleagues last year was called out on the meme page and she was furious, she wanted it to be shut down. She lectured her classes about it said that it was inappropriate.” Of course, there are some teachers who do seem to enjoy the page quite well, while others hate the idea of such unprofessionalism and take offense to some of the material posted on the account which is something we do have to think about.

Why it can be positive

Everything has its issues in life, and this meme page isn’t different. Despite these hurt feelings and disastrous events, outlets like the Frederick Meme Page can be a good thing. The account has gained a lot of following, even from other schools with many students and staff completely enjoying the content, looking forward to new posts and laughs. “I also have other colleagues who check it once a week to see what new meme has dropped and they find it insanely funny,” Mr.Coon added on during the interview. “So it’s all a matter of perspective and kind of if you can take a joke or not.”

This page not only has made many peoples days, but it has given an outlet for students at our school to voice their opinions and ideas on events that take place in school. It’s a safe place where these students have been able to express their opinions and really do whatever comes to mind, falling under a safety value where students are able to convey their thoughts or to release frustration at different incidents. Multiple schools have used this form of satire as well, with Skyline High School having a Tumblr meme page since 2011 as well as Mead High School having their own meme page. As one of the page admins put it, “All of these other schools had a meme page, and we didn’t. We all really thought that it would be fun for us to create one.”

It really couldn’t be stopped

Of course, many do want to see this page to be seized, but can it really be stopped? Everything that the Frederick Meme Page does falls under free speech, not violating any specific policy in order for it to be fully shut down. The admins themselves are very aware of this, taking precautions with everything that gets posted in order to avoid such problems. With every post having to be approved by all of the admins, having no post involved in any specific individual, and to having everything ambiguous, such rules were placed to keep everybody along with content safe. As long as the meme page keeps “punching upward” through its use of satire against the people in power, the admins and the Frederick Meme page itself are safe. Although if that were ever reversed leading to the calling out of others in a weaker position, the meme page would just be considered as plain bullying and by then it would be stopped by the administration.

With all the controversy of the page and with many people hating or loving it, asking ourselves what open speech should be and what it shouldn’t, is our best bet for solving such a contradiction. Should we be able to make fun of the people in power, knowing that it might hurt them? Or should we stand by and let the page exist to help others express themselves freely and release that tension created between teachers and students? In the end, such an issue all depends on one’s view, with each person having a different perspective on whether it’s all just a joke or something more serious and unacceptable.