Joking about suicide is never humorous

Published 9:59 am Thursday, December 26, 2013

Column: A Happy Medium, by Erin Murtaugh

Merry day-after-Christmas, readers! Hopefully you enjoyed your gifts so much that you aren’t rushing off to return them today.

Having worked in retail, I know the dread of the day after Christmas. It’s almost as bad as the whole holiday shopping season packed into one day.

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The other day, I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed and noticed a good amount of my friends had shared a link with the title “Justin Bieber’s ‘beached whale’ comment leads to teen girl’s suicide.”

The link lead to a website called National Report, a site dedicated to satirical news stories. If you don’t know what satire is, here is a definition straight from Merriam-Webster: a way of using humor to show that someone or something is foolish, weak, bad, etc.; humor that shows the weaknesses or bad qualities of a person, government, society, etc.

The site even has a disclaimer on it which is as follows: “National Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways.”

The people that had shared this link were making comments about how Bieber should lose his career and how terrible of a person he is. Now, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but there is one problem. The people sharing this link didn’t even check their sources. I bet some of them didn’t even read the story. I wonder if they just saw the headline and became disgusted over it.

The only reason I am disgusted by the story is the fact that it is making up someone’s suicide. That is not something to joke around about — ever.

The humorous part is that so many people got hung up over the fact that this story was real. Wake up and smell the satire, people. In an age where we are so Internet savvy, we also need to become more aware of where our information is coming from.


Albert Lea resident Erin Murtaugh is a senior at Albert Lea High School.