Saturday, October 24, 2015

Brown University students apologize to Malia Obama...

Ordinarily, this story wouldn't interest me that much, but I couldn't help but notice the snarky overtones of an article I read about Malia Obama's recent visit to Brown University.  Evidently, Malia was photographed at a college party where she played a couple of rounds of Beer Pong-- or, at least she gave the appearance of playing.  From what I understand, the photos that were published showed her looking on, not actually participating.  Others in attendance supposedly took photos of her and posted them on social media, where they quickly went viral.

Here's the quote that gave me pause when I read about this incident this morning...

We often do not think about our tweets and Snapchats reaching anyone besides our friends and followers, and certainly not news outlets with wide circulation like Buzzfeed. Many Brown students were surprised and embarrassed to see themselves cited in the articles, as other Brown students posted them on Facebook with disappointed captions that criticized their peers for not simply leaving the 17-year-old alone on her college visit.

Really?  Students at Brown University don't know that stuff they post on Facebook can go viral?  If that's really true, then common sense must not be a prerequisite for studying at Brown.  I'm sure more than one of them counted on the photos going viral and actually promoted them so they would.  The rest of them may have simply been excited to be at a party with her and posted without thinking.  It happens.

I don't necessarily condone Malia Obama's choices in this matter, but she only did what countless other teens before her have done.  It wasn't her choice to grow up in the White House at a time in history when everyone has cameras and cell phones and social media accounts.  And really, when it comes down to it, what she did isn't a huge deal, aside from the fact that she's under 21.  I'm kind of surprised Secret Service didn't put a stop to her Beer Pong shenanigans, but I will admit to not knowing all that their duties entail.

I have read a lot of unsympathetic comments directed at Malia.  I don't disagree that she was wrong to do what she allegedly did.  However, what she might have done is very normal under the circumstances.  It's a rite of passage for many people.  I did it.  I'm glad no on was around to take pictures of me while I was experimenting as a kid.  Malia Obama is also in the unique position of having everything she does scrutinized by the press.  She didn't choose to grow up in the White House.

The students at Brown University, I hope, are smart enough to know that actions have consequences. I don't buy that they didn't know that taking pictures of Malia's partying wasn't going to be news.  On the other hand, Malia should have known, too.  The fact that she had that lapse in judgment goes to show that she's probably much more normal than people realize.  Anyway, I don't care that Malia might have consumed alcohol underage and played Beer Pong with college kids.  I think Brown University's "apology" was kind of lame, though.

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