Gen Z’s inappropriate reactions to tragedy


Lydia Sommer

Generation Z reaction to tragic events

Lydia Sommer, PV Only Editor

A fish with music is not generally regarded as funny, but for Gen Z, odd jokes like such is what humors them.

Known as being the internet-crazed, self-reliant, and critical generation, Gen Z has a peculiar sense of humor. They laugh at nearly everything or they try to twist everything into a joke. Having witnessed their fair share of tragic events, Gen Z appears to be unfazed by them. If anything, their reactions consist of bizarre jokes as they cope through humor. The teenagers of this generation have experienced an international range of appalling affairs. 

The recent event of Queen Elizabeth II’s death exposed the absurd humor of Gen Z in the worst way. Social media captured all of the jokes and hateful comments toward the Queen and her family by connecting past events of the royal family to present situations.

One platform in particular, TikTok, capitalizes through heavy promotion of popular posts about current events and humor. Because of the constant usage of social media, not even minutes after the Queen had passed, there was a commotion on TikTok. Humorous videos were created exposing the triumphs and defeats of the royal family, joking about death, and reminiscing about the memes of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

PV junior Josie Case is an avid TikTok user and witnessed the posts. “I have seen a lot of TikToks about the Queen’s death,” said Case. “I saw videos talking about how the Queen had lived through world wars, but she died ‘because of the University of Iowa’s football defense””. Thus, the jokes go beyond only criticizing one individual, because they bring another group down as well.

While Gen Z had their laughs, other generations are offended by the jokes, claiming that the teenagers of this decade have no sense of respect.

However rancid the remarks are, the humor of Gen Z shows not only their ability to make light of bad situations but also the importance of their strength as one.

The expression of humor can be elaborate and involved, as Case discussed. “I enjoy the humor of Gen Z. Humor makes me feel whole like when I feel like a crabby patty it makes me happy”, explained Case. “It puts a smile on my face. I think this generation uses humor to cope a lot, since everyone has personal problems, and humor helps bring a smile to our faces”. The hilarity helps to surpass the worries and doubts teenagers are having.

Many teenagers are more anxious now than ever before. Society is constantly changing, and it creates tension and stress. Due to a longstanding shortage of mental health support, many of today’s teenagers are unsure how to cope with their emotions. This has led to a surge in internet usage, as teens utilize it as a coping mechanism. 

The accessibility of social media right at one’s fingertips allows for an easy escape into a comical world. Therefore, it is simple to connect with others.

Claire Saklar, a senior at PV, explained why the sense of unity social platforms provide is so valuable.“I think the way Gen Z can come together is both great and dangerous”, she said. “Our generation either takes things way too seriously or not serious enough”. In the past few years, teenagers overcame COVID-19, thoughts about WW3, getting drafted, and many other dreadful events, which were all warped into jokes.

While Gen Z’s reactions may be seen as inappropriate, their quips help them cope and connect with others experiencing the same struggles. The seriousness of situations is minimized and has also allowed for de-stigmatizing previously uncomfortable and controversial topics.

The solemnity of the world is just a facade Gen Z is breaking down one laugh at a time.