If you are on Instagram and keep up with any Goshen College meme activity, you’ve probably heard of the infamous new account, the Black Squirrel. This account, with its slightly aggressive, albeit well-designed content, is obviously hoping to be like The Onion (if you haven’t heard of The Onion, I’m sure you are more than capable of using Google), and it pokes fun at Goshen College culture by posting fake news stories on subjects like Becky launching a new line of GC-themed hard seltzers or negative reviews of the new menu at the Fraker.Coincidentally, their account name is abbreviated as “B.S.”
Now listen, I respect meme creators’ right to remain anonymous — just not from me. You would think that whoever these people are, they would have already asked me to help come up with content. After all, I WAS Funnies editor for two semesters in a row (unsure if I already mentioned that, so just a reminder). These mysterious faux journalists think they can out-funny me?
So, in an effort to put them in their place, I have been hyper-analyzing their content, looking for clues, no matter how small, that might reveal their identity. The following data points are the fruit of my investigation so far.
Conclusion #1: There are two editors, and they are probably first-years.
We know there are two creators because they conveniently tell us so in their first post. Easy money. I’m taking a guess on the first-year bit, but I think it is a safe bet, because historically most meme accounts are started by first-years who have the easiest access to unifying college experiences that are perfect for meme content, like living in the dorms. First-years also probably have a lighter course load and have more time to spend on side projects, like making a fake news account.
Conclusion #2: They are good at digital design and have dabbled in journalism, but their egos are greater than their skills.
They know their way around digital design software — that much is clear. Their design work is sharp and consistent, and they do a good job copying The Onion’s style. They also have a feel for journalistic writing, but it’s not good enough! In their second post they capitalized biology, a rookie mistake. According to AP style, department names should only be capitalized if the full title of the department is used! In their fifth post, they wrote “first year” instead of “first-year:” that hyphen is critical! They also used single quotes in some of their headlines and double quotes in others. Not very consistent! I’ve highlighted these three examples, but there are more if you look with a critical eye. This leads me to believe they are very much like I was as a first-year: talented at writing due to being a high-performing honors student in high school, but still very new to the scene.
Conclusion #3: They are probably straight white Mennonite men.
See the “egos greater than their skills” bit above. Listen, we all know that straight white men have more audacity and confidence than the rest of us, and on this campus there are few people who think they rule the world more than a straight white Mennonite male. I say this with much love and affection, but also…it’s true. This and the fact that instead of coming up with really clever content, a lot of their humor is pure shock value. They are writing about topics that have historically been considered taboo at GC, such as alcohol, drugs and genitalia. Someone would have to know enough about Mennonite culture and history, and feel comfortable with their social status to publish these kinds of things, and who else but a straight white Mennonite man?
Conclusion #4: They aren’t athletes and are probably involved with music.
They really roasted the men’s basketball team, and they also know who Brian Mast is — enough said. If they are athletes, I think they would be in either cross-country or track, based on who was liking the early posts. However, my guess is that they are more likely “cross-country/track adjacent,” meaning they have friends who are in those circles but aren’t directly involved themselves.
I know this is a lot to take in. I have spent countless hours coming to these conclusions, and feel as if I am close to cracking this puzzle. If you know anything about the identities of the Black Squirrel, please don’t hesitate to contact me. And if you ARE the Black Squirrel, I would like to remind you of our Instagram correspondence from a few weeks ago…I am not someone whose bad side you would like to be on, especially considering I may soon be in a position to publicly expose you.