Student debates cause needless harm

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COURTESY PHOTO / MARK HUTCHENS

I have seen the memes. I have read the opinions pieces. The Flat Hat and “Swampy Memes for Twampy Teens” are apparently at war. I was in class for three hours; then I went to check my Facebook feed, and suddenly ‘Swampy Memes’ was blowing up.

Is this what war looks like? Passive aggressive memes? I do not know. I am an American studies major. I know about jazz music and movies, not about military strategy. But, as the outsider looking in, this all-out battle between two publication group is like calling Fortnite a realistic military simulation. Is there lore in Fortnite? Yes, but the lore is dumb, and nobody cares. We just like the pretty colors and silly dances.

To the people who are getting really upset about ‘Swampy Memes’ and the posts, sometimes — hear me out here — things just aren’t that deep. And to those on ‘Swampy Memes’ acting like The Flat Hat is literally going to destroy humor, it isn’t that deep. Sometimes jokes really are just jokes. Sometimes it’s okay to poke some harmless fun at campus institutions because sometimes campus institutions are very dorky.

I’ve made my fair share of memes about campus housing and the stresses of life, but there’s a difference between making a joke and calling out an institution in rage. I’ve learned the difference, and I think you guys need to learn that, too.

I’m going to let you all in on a secret here: every single person who goes to the College of William and Mary is a dweeb, and that’s okay. We know our place in the world, and we make a lot of jokes about it. It’s important to take a step back and find the humor in what you do. Finding your flaws and addressing them is part of humility. At times, you do need someone else to call out the flaws for you.

But right now, this isn’t harmless fun. Some members of each group are calling for the disestablishment of the other one. As the future Editor-in-Chief of the Botetourt Squat, I’ve had to learn a lot about the fine line between poking fun and bullying. The reason why so many people are upset by The Flat Hat’s opinions pieces is that they directly criticize the hobby and creative outlet of students on campus, calling them “unfunny” and “lame.” The most recent letter-to-the-editor talking about certain unfunny individuals was clearly targeting one meme maker; I don’t know if there rules against targeting in The Flat Hat, but I know in the Botetourt Squat we are not allowed to make fun of individual students or else we can be accused of harassment. Right now, many on ‘Swampy Memes’ feel like they are being targeted by The Flat Hat.

As a response, ‘Swampy Memes’ has seen a lot of posts directly criticizing the content and quality of The Flat Hat, which is targeting specific students on their hobby and creative outlet. Do you see the issue here?

We are trying to out-shove each other in lockers, calling each other the losers. But we’re all at the College together; we’re all geeks here. I feel like an exasperated mom who just got off from a 10-hour shift only to come home to my two teenage sons trying to literally eat each other for something somebody said. Knock it off, you two.

Now if you excuse me, I’m going to edit another picture of Gibby hitting Spencer with a stop sign.

Email Hallie Feinman at

hjfeinman@email.wm.edu.