So you may have heard (probably not) about the duck (yes, the duck) that just passed away at Ohio State. He was found floating in the lake, and the news of his death quickly went viral.
The duck was a feature of the campus for a decade, differentiated from others ducks by a unique feather arrangement on his head that was deemed an “afro.” Hence where we get, “afroduck,” which is what the creature was affectionately called.
Before getting too much further into this, it might be worth mentioning that the “Afroduck” that died this week probably wasn’t even the original one that was much beloved by the campus. The original duck, alone with the entire lake’s native duck population, were relocated to a farm — never to be returned — when the area was under construction a few years ago.
BUT ANYWAY, so here we are, a duck has died and people are beyond upset.
We have a vigil set up near the lake:
Items left near Mirror Lake in honor of Afroduck. pic.twitter.com/BbreaAc85s
— Alex (@AlexMarieOSU) January 27, 2016
A snapstory tribute:
— Caitlin Essig (@caitlinessig) January 27, 2016
And a memorial video:
— ❌irror Lake Ju❌p (@mirrorlakejump) January 27, 2016
It’s all anyone is talking about on Wednesday. I had multiple conversations with people in my building and in classes about Afroduck. It’s right off the presses, totally hot, news.
Eventually, there even arises a Facebook group set up to discuss the death and plan a remembrance ceremony around Mirror Lake.
And this is where things start to get interesting, because not everyone is happy about the attention “Afroduck” is getting. These folks are angry that people seemed to be exerting more energy to recognize a duck than they did to recognize Austin Singletary, an Ohio State student who drowned in the lake during our university’s annual “Mirror Lake jump.”
People began posting angry comments on the page,
And article was widely circulated in OSU circles that accused Ohio State students of caring more about the duck than human life,
And some students even tried to connect the disparity of the recognition to Austin’s race (he was African American):
And so a story that was already DOMINATING the public discourse on social media exploded again, with people arguing and debating and fighting from all angles.
To recap the fighting:
Some folks are claiming that people are giving the deceased duck attention that they should have given the deceased student.
Opponents of that argument say that the “Afroduck” movement is humorous, and people’s attraction to positive inside jokes is to be expected, and okay.
Others still, as seen above, have suggested that Austin would have received more attention if he was white (which I think is nonsense, personally).
All in all, a day of productivity gone following this brouhaha.
I think it might finally be dying down, but we’ll see how things play out tomorrow and if this scheduled “memorial” actually happens or not.