Social Media: The Serious and the Sidesplitting


Posters and flyers can be found all over the St. Norbert College campus for the Cassandra Voss Center’s “Delight in the Fight” events, which are a great venue for SNC students to attend, listen and talk about serious topics. The CVC’s theme for the year is “disarming injustice with humor and joy.” This theme has allowed SNC students to hear from a wide range of speakers and comedians, as well as engage in conversations that might not always be so easy to have.

The program “You Tweeted WHAT?!: Race, Gender & Comedians in the Digital Age” on Nov. 11 brought speakers Dr. Beck Krefting and Dr. Micia Mosely (via Skype) to campus.

Dr. Krefting teaches Gender Studies and directs Media and Film Studies at Skidmore College in New York and has written the award-winning book “All Joking Aside: American Humor and Its Discontents.”

Dr. Mosely writes and performs stand-up and lectures at U.C. Berkeley and UMass Boston, along with working with groups like the National Equity Project.

Both speakers came to SNC in order to talk about both comedy in social media and the way humor works when it comes to the topics of race and gender. One of the major points they made was about the media and the question, as Dr. Mosely put it, of “Who controls your image?”

Krefting and Mosely talked a lot about this control and how a comedian, or anyone for that matter, who puts themselves out there for anyone to access. In doing this, this comedian places themselves at the mercy of all people, not just the audience to whom their content is directed.

Some comedy is only meant to be for certain audiences, and, both women agreed, it is important to look at “what or who is the punch line.” People from the wrong audience might be laughing for the wrong reasons, which can offend others quickly. Not everyone is a comedian, but the two speakers made it clear that these rules and ideas apply to everyone.

When asked if she agreed with this idea, Maddie Wenc ’19 replied, “Yes. If the joke targets someone and that person isn’t laughing along, then it’s not funny. I never really thought about it the way she talked about it, how you shouldn’t make the joke if you aren’t a victim of the joke.”

After the speakers had finished making their points, there was time for questions. One question mentioned the work of comedian and actor Louis C.K., who is known to use racial slurs in order to combat racism. Neither Krefting nor Mosely addressed the work of this comedian directly, but Mosely regarded rude terms in general with the words “Don’t be lazy; you can do it [combat racism] without [racial slurs].” Krefting agreed.

The Casssandra Voss Center will present more programs next semester, as well. For more information about the CVC and its events, visit


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