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WTF, Internet? It’s not OK to turn a murder into a meme

WTF Internet 06_30_2013 header

The best part of my week is when I get to sit down, give the Internet a good once-over, and look for something to write this column about. It’s also really easy, because combined with my fiery temper and curmudgeonly disposition is that fact that the Internet is full of awful people and the unbelievable atrocities they post on it.

But this week you really made my job easy. Really, if we were doling out gold stars and backrubs for just being the ever-living worst, a shocking amount of you out there would be swimming in the stuff.

And it’s all because a healthy contingent of assholes with Internet access thought that the world needed an Aaron Hernandez meme.

hernandezing memeSeriously, anyone who was a part of this in any way makes the broadband desert a good thing. I’m going to start advocating that those responsible for this madness be relocated to those dusty wastelands where you’d be better off trying to use dial-up. Try and fire up Chrome on your 4G-enabled smartphone, just you try!

I hear what I’m saying and realize that it sounds sort of like an Internet-less internment camp for dicks. I hear it and I stand by it, because look at the spike in searches for Hernandezing. How dare you. How dare each and every last one of you.

hernandez google trends

So let’s just get the obvious part of this out of the way: Someone was murdered and people made a meme out of it. Damnit, KnowYourMeme already has an entry for this shit. That means enough of you out there were making this crap for it to justify itself a position in the encyclopedia for memes.

Maybe people didn’t read the whole story; they just saw the now-infamous video of Hernandez being led out of his house, shirt over arms, handcuffed. Maybe they were like, “Whoa, that looks insanely ridiculous, that guy sucks!” He does suck, you’re right – not because of his inefficient, DIY-straightjacket apparel choice, but because of the, you know, he-allegedly-killed-someone(s) reasons.

Sure – that is a really weird way to put a shirt on and somebody had to say something about it, but was this really meme-worthy?

Then there are those who have no excuse: The people who also reappropriated the gun-toting selfie Hernandez took. It’s like MySpace pictures, but with murder references. It’s apparently hilarious.

The only justification I can eke out of this is that the collective horror at what Hernandez possibly (possibly – don’t sue me! I said ‘possibly,’ and I threw an ‘allegedly’ somewhere in here as well) did makes people feel scared and weird and uncomfortable (and perhaps there’s a racist undercurrent in here too – congrats, humans who Hernandezed!) so instead of have some real feelings we make fun of him.

And what happens when you combine repressed feels with (attempts at) humor and an Internet connection? Memes are what happens.

I’m all for replacing dark or serious emotions with making fun of someone – hi my name’s Molly, I write a column called ‘WTF Internet?,’ and might possibly  be the youngest person a stranger would describe as “surly,” have we met? But even I know when to draw a line, and it’s pretty far beyond what the average person would consider “so awful it’s off limits material” and a murder that happened not yet two weeks ago is over it.

Also, sure – that is a really weird way to put your shirt on and somebody had to say something about it, but was this really meme-worthy? Does Hernandezing really deserve to exist alongside Grumpy Cat and Scumbag Steve?

It’s not just the whole he-might-have-murdered someone thing, it’s that this is just lazy work, Internet. Memes are magical: They are our spirit animals. They are an inside joke we Internet-obsessed, Reddit addicts get to share, and they should not be sullied like this! We need to hold a higher standard for that which is deserving of being memed … and violent dude who took a picture of himself holding a gun and then wore his shirt wrong whilst being arrested should not make the cut.

If you start trying to make everything into an inside joke, nothing is funny anymore! It’s like when that weird kid in middle school slept over and then kept trying to pretend like everything was a hilarious moment you shared: “Hahahahaha and then remember how when you said ‘looks like we’re out of pizza,’ I was all ‘your mom’s out of pizza!’ HAHAHAHA REMEMBER HOW WE HAD FUN TOGETHER!? VALIDATE MY HUMOR!”

Don’t be that kid, guys. Everybody hates that kid.