In Chapter 3, Silberstein cites Charlotte Linde's theories on storytelling: storytelling "'create[s] group membership for [the speaker] and solidarity for [a] group.' Stories, by their nature, locate our very personal experiences within larger cultural norms and expectations" (61). Recently, we saw reflections of this in Ferguson, MO, and in the social media memes that sprung from that event. Coverage of the shooting of Michael Brown presented him in two lights: a promising college-bound student or a crime-committing thug. As a result, people took to Facebook and Twitter to tell their own stories and show their own contrasting depictions of self-identity with the #iftheygunnedmedown posts. Here are two examples:
By using rhetoric and personal stories, these two examples of #iftheygunnedmedown clearly urge audiences to sympathize with Michael Brown and doubt the role of the media in reporting his shooting. These images also tie in to Silberstein's "assumptions" about identity--she says, "Identities are neither singular nor stable; that is, people have multiple identities, including, for example, being family members, professionals, religious (non)believers, (non)citizens. And these identities are not necessarily stable. Individuals can be seen as competent professionals at one moment and lose that identity in the next...Identities are displayed, and thereby (re)constructed through interactions with others" (61). The #iftheygunnedmedown meme complicates identity for viewers because they display two different conceptions of identity simultaneously, and viewers are inclined to identify with the people in the memes because they are depciting personal identities and evoking a group identity. This subversive tactic helps problematize media coverage of the Michael Brown shooting.
These memes create a group identity and solidarity, contributing to a larger skepticism of both the media and the police. In the future, perhaps more people will turn to social media like Facebook and/or Twitter for "real" news that is "free" from media bias.