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Monday, April 20, 2015

Social Media Lessons by Michael Buble

Students, and all of us, really, have to be careful in using social media. Pop singer Michael Buble recently created a stir when he posted an Instagram photo of a woman's derriere on his account. He later apologized, but said he intended no offense. No surprise that there has been some intense reaction. I have posted before on social issues such as race, twice, and homosexuality, twice. I have also posted about social media. There are so many educational lessons here related to sexism and social media combined, that I had to break them down in a pie chart (above).

Many are saying people shouldn't go out in public with their gluteal folds peaking from underneath their shorts. If they do, then all bets are off. Hopefully we all have friends who will give us grief about what we are wearing... or we at least have mirrors where we live.

The biggest question, in my mind, is this really something a sensitive person would do? It might be a little mean, a little... un-Christian. (Though in fairness, it is a little-known fact that the original Christians had wonderful senses of humor. In the recently recovered Biblical book "Antics of the Apostles," we learned that St. Bartholomew was teased mercilessly for his flatulence problem. He was often referred to by the other apostles as "Fart-olomew.") So as a society, we must ask, "are we overly sensitive?" Or is it just a fact of life that everyone throughout time has made fun of other people? He who has not commented on another person's appearance should cast the first Instagram.

Public shaming
There seems to be quite a bit of consternation that this person was put out there with no consent and could be ashamed. This hits close to home for me as I recently found a photo of me on a professor's account that was pretty embarrassing:

Me, innocently shopping for vitamins...
Anyways, it could be worse. At least this woman has anonymity. Until she goes on Oprah. Celebrities themselves are routinely skewered in the media as though they have no feelings.

Michael Buble was simply doing what throngs of people do at Wal-Mart. His sin, apparently was being Michael Buble and not being anonymous. Of course if HE is taking all of the Wal-Mart photos we have several different issues.

I am not sure I really buy that this is sexist. I might buy that it is a little rude. If this were a guy in the photo no one would care and more likely, most people would be grossed out. Let's face it, there IS a sub-population of really chauvinistic people - they're called men.

So wait, his wife took this photo? So if he was really having her take photos that he would hashtag as #myshorts, #babygotback, #hungryshorts, isn't that weird? Isn't it even stranger that he is so locked in to those hashtags? If this was not rude humor then was it kinky. Eww... who are you?

Okay students of the liberal arts, you know the drill. Michael Buble is not all good and not all bad. So those who are writing him off for this are ridiculous. Those who are championing him might be blinded by his celebrity. It was a "light-hearted" post, as he said, and maybe it offended some and maybe it didn't. Period.

Fast Food
Which brings us to this issue: Why does Michael Buble go out for fast food. Really? You're Michael Buble!

Calling Michael Buble
If I ever want to find Michael I will definitely wear my short-shorts and go to What-a-Burger.

Okay, his apology was the worst. He tried to make us think he was attracted to this bottom, but his post -- with the hashtag #onlyinmiami -- seems disingenuous. Here is how I would write the apology:

"Sorry I offended some with my photo. I thought it was funny that I could see this woman's butt cheeks. I am not in third grade. Neither are you, but I bet you would have done this too. That's life. So, let me sing my sweet songs, eat fast food, and hang out with my wife. This was nothing more. And it's nothing less."