Thursday, November 6, 2014

Whitman Black & White: “YOLO” detracts from MCPS pedestrian safety campaign

They came overnight. Attaching themselves to neat blue boxes like barnacles to a whale, posters of somber, tire-marked faces have populated the halls. Part of a new campaign by MCPS to raise awareness for pedestrian alertness and safety, these intensely emotional posters are meant to shock students into realizing the dangers of distracted walking. But one thing detracts from this meaningful campaign: YOLO.
The #YOLOwalksafe campaign uses the popularly hashtagged acronym, short for You Only Live Once, juxtaposed with gloomy photographs to create “an ominous warning of the dangers on the road,” according to the campaign’s website. Unfortunately, this counter-intuitive use of a hip phrase falls flat.
YOLO is nearly always used as an excuse to act brash or recklessly. You only have one life, so why waste it being lame, right? An exception is the Lonely Island song “You Only Live Once,” which used the phrase ironically as a statement to act carefully. In other words, a satirical group thought it would be hilarious to use YOLO in this opposite way. This doesn’t bode well for #YOLOwalksafe...

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