"I Hope There's a Mass-Shooting in Your Safe Space." This was the disturbing headline of a hate-filled, Odyssey article by Laurence Sulner, a student at Hunter College. The article is now called "I Hate Millennials." In his piece, he went on a nonsensical tirade about millennials including triggers, safe spaces, and fashion trends. Despite the fact that he is a millennial himself, he pretends that he is a special snowflake, superior to everyone else and a blind believer that the previous generations were so much better than his own today
After reading his rant, I came to the conclusion that this arrogant little boy needs to be taken down a few notches. First things first, he is a hypocrite. He whines about the popular “hipster” trends that many millennials follow in terms of appearance and interests, but also states that "Pulp Fiction" is his favorite film and that he wants to marry Mia Wallace. "Pulp Fiction" is a cult classic and exemplifies the typical “cool kid” aesthetic that many millennials strive for. He’s angry that many girls recreate Mia Walllace’s look, as if he is the only non-middle aged person allowed to appreciate the film.
Moreover, he acts like he has been personally victimized by the way many millennials dress, from girls with "Pulp Fiction" haircuts to a “guy who looks like Andy Warhol with AIDS and a man-bun.” For one thing, AIDS is a horrible disease that has killed so many people, and should not be turned into a mere joke. It’s not any different than making the comparison to cancer or any other horrific disease. However, he probably used AIDS because the disease is well-known for having killed many members of the LGBTQ+ community, and, of course, a straight white man would find it appropriate to joke about a disease that has harmed queer people. In addition, why is he so concerned by what other people are wearing? Does following certain fashion trends for personal aesthetic mean that these people are less than human? Are other people’s decisions for themselves in terms of appearances mentally and physically harming him? He forgets that people have the right to wear whatever they want and do not have to conform to his bland ideals. It seems like he is just another irrational, overly-sensitive conservative who cannot mind his own business and is offended by other people simply living their lives.
At one point he does make a semi-reasonable point about how some people create the illusion of being “woke,” especially white people who desperately do not want to be seen as racist. He brings up an incident where he said he did not want to live in a low-income housing district and the girl he spoke to immediately accused him of being racist without hearing further explanation. However, he then referred to it as “the projects” and continued to describe low-income housing as “known for prostitution and the works,” therefore disproving his whole point because he indeed did not want to live there for prejudiced reasons based on stereotype. The girl may have been quick in her accusations, but he proved her right in the end.
He constantly brings up how millennials are “triggered” by everything, and it is obvious that he does not understand that the word actually means; I’m not surprised. Being triggered is more than just being offended or hurt by something. The people who are triggered are usually mentally ill and/or have experienced some type of past trauma. I am a feminist, so telling me that women belong in the kitchen offends me. It does not, however trigger me. A rape victim who comes across a Facebook thread that advocates for victim-blaming, and thus experiences despair from memories of her own assault, is triggered. Being careful of what you say in front of certain people in order to not cause them unnecessary distress is not policing your free speech; it’s simply being considerate and a decent person.
As for safe spaces, like many white, cisgender, and heterosexual males, he is upset that he cannot be included in them, despite the fact that the rest of the world is catered to him. What also perplexes me is that he is from a marginalized group; he is Jewish. If he is a part of any exclusively Jewish groups on his campus or online, then technically, he is part of the safe spaces he seems to hate so much. Moreover, he does not actually understand what safe spaces are and why they are important. Safe spaces are communities and places, both online and offline, which do not tolerate bigotry and oppressive views. Safe spaces are where people from marginalized groups can have discussions and voice their opinions without the fear of being judged or silenced because of their identities. An example of a safe space would be the SCORE: Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment offices at Scripps College. This facility is used by clubs like Family, a club for queer students, and Café Con Leche, an organization for Latinx students. Safe spaces value healing and safety over constant argumentation and debate. They function as places where oppressed groups can heal, network, and develop a community. When constantly plagued by various societal prejudices like racism, sexism, transphobia, etc., people of these marginalized identities need little pockets of safety where they can simply breathe without being silenced by bigotry, and therefore be able to comfortably carry out in depth discussions. In a safe space, underrepresented voices can finally speak up and share their perspectives without the fear of being shut down by prejudice. This article from Everyday Feminism goes more in-depth on the importance of safe spaces.
Now, it’s time to finally discuss that dreadful headline that acts as exceedingly disturbing clickbait. What on earth would possess this boy to think that it is OK to write something like this? From Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook, mass shootings are horrific atrocities that continue to plague America. The headline not only trivialize these tragedies, but also threaten the lives of people who use safe spaces, names people of marginalized identities. Plus, for anyone who has survived or lost a loved one to a mass shooting, this type of headline is bound to revive awful memories and anxiety from past trauma. There are certain topics that should not be made light of, and mass shootings are one of them. The headline itself conveys that Sulner is a twisted person who has no common sense, morals, or decency.
Overall, his piece was a load of prejudiced nonsense and generalizations piled into one useless rant. He generalized and entire generation of people, millennials, as being worthless, despite being one himself. He cannot handle criticism, the way other people dress, and he doesn’t want people from oppressed groups to feel comfortable at any given time. He is egotistical, and has an obvious superiority complex that makes him feel like he is better than everyone else his age. It is a bit sad honestly that he is so close-minded, intolerant, and ignorant. The unfortunate reality is that so many people are just like him.
I will conclude with one last irritation brought on by this article. What irks me the most is that this piece was published at all. As an editor-in-chief for the Scripps Odyssey, I know very well how the editing process works. The main guidelines for Odyssey articles are that they not contain harmful gossip or hate speech. The headline alone already breaks these rules. The fact that the article made it past an editor-in-chief, managing editor, and possibly a copy editor is absolutely appalling. Did it not occur to those people that the article’s headline and content are riddled with prejudice and hate speech? The article was taken down which is good, but it is unacceptable that it was allowed to be published in the first place. This is extremely disappointing, but also makes me grateful for the team I work with.