I’m going back a month for this one, because it took place during one of my boredom and laziness inspired blog hiatuses, but it speaks to an overall attitude from people that I’m starting to have a problem with. Since I’m using Benedict Cumberbatch as an excuse for cheap page views, let’s call this “The Case of #WhenDoesJustineLand.”
Here’s what happened for the most part, and I don’t want to use the girls name because that’s kind of the point I’m trying to get at. In a nutshell:
1. Anonymous PR rep with 100 Twitter followers tweets an offensive joke before getting a flight to South Africa.
2. One of those anonymous followers wrote for either Gawker or Buzzfeed and retweeted it. A few more followed.
3. Buzzfeed apparently decided this tweet from an anonymous PR rep was YOLO worthy and pushed it as a news piece, up to and including going through her Twitter account looking for other tweets and even going through her Instagram account
4. The created a national incident full of meme’s, think pieces, people threatening her and trying to get her fired, plus whenever you Googled her name you saw her FLIGHT INFORMATION on when her plane landed.
5. Her plane lands and she deletes all of her social media profiles, and our harvest is complete:
More and more, we seem to get off on outrage to the point where we troll people looking for things to be outraged over, demanding people we’ve never heard of apologize. Sometimes that’s not even enough, and we demand their employers, their family, and anyone even remotely associated with them apologize. Here’s the rub though. Up until this, it was always people in the public eye.
It’s one thing when it’s Phil Robertson. He’s a celebrity on a popular TV show who more people listen to, and has some influence.
It’s another thing even if it’s say me when it comes to politics, because I at least know the game and choose to play. Whether it’s Republican vs. Democrat or same party primaries, I’m fully aware that it’s not enough for people to go after candidates and elected officials directly anymore, that they’ll attack them through their staff. I know the rules. I know what I’m getting into. I live accordingly.
But are we really – really – at a point where we’re now going after private citizens over the fact that they may have said something on the computer somewhere we disagree with? Regardless of how offensive it is, because in this case people can’t even agree on why it was offensive. People on the Left though she was making a joke about Africans. People on the right thought it was more liberal “white privilege” bullshit. Regardless, we’re talking about someone whose audience was all of 100 people. How is what she thinks apropos of anything?
Think about this for a second. Five days before Christmas, there were actually people celebrating that someone they never heard of got fired because of something stupid she posted on Twitter, just because one of the people who read it was blogger. The guy from Gawker was even upset that Buzzfeed was getting all the credit for it, even though Buzzfeed doesn’t think they did anything wrong. High fives all around!
Is this really the world you want to be part of?