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. 

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.

Movies & TV

Netflix is testing an instant scene-replay feature, but would you use it?

Ever felt like Netflix was missing a scene-replay button? The company is currently trialing a feature that lets you skip back to the start of the scene you just watched, though early tests appear to be annoying some viewers.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Mobile

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks of the best portable chargers.
Smart Home

Knock, knock. Who's there? With a video doorbell, you'll never have to guess

When it comes to knowing who's at your door before you actually open it, there's nothing better than a video doorbell. Plus, you can "answer" the door even if you're not home. Here are some of our favorites.
Social Media

This event topped Facebook’s biggest moments of the year — again

As the year comes to a close, Facebook is looking back on what users discussed most over the last year. For two years in a row, International Women's Day topped the list. So what else is on the list?
Social Media

This band owns Twitter, according to list of top accounts and tweets for 2018

What was the biggest buzz on Twitter in 2018? Twitter's 2018 Year in Review highlights the biggest tweets, accounts, and hashtags. The most-tweeted celebrities, movies, TV shows, athletes, politicians and more in Twitter's 2018 trends.
Social Media

What do yodeling and Kylie Jenner have in common? YouTube’s top 2018 videos

In a true nod to the variety found on YouTube, the platform's top 10 list of videos from 2018 range from celebrities to sports, from perfectly tossing a picture frame on the wall to a kid yodeling in aisle 12 at Walmart.
Home Theater

It took Tom Cruise to raise awareness of this troublesome TV setting

Tom Cruise, in an unexpected PSA tweet, asks you to turn off motion interpolation on your TV, but stops short of how to do it. Here's more on the topic, along with links to a guide on how to rid your TV of the dreaded "soap opera effect."
Computing

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.
Business

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Social Media

Snapchat facial recognition could soon power a new portrait mode, code suggests

Digging into Snapchat's code suggests a handful of upcoming camera features, including a portrait mode. The feature appears to use facial recognition A.I. to blur the background. The code also suggests an updated camera interface.
Computing

Google+ continues to sink with a second massive data breach. Abandon ship now

Google+ was scheduled to shut its doors in August 2019, but the second security breach in only a few months has caused the company to move its plan forward a few months. It might be a good idea to delete your account sooner than later.
Social Media

Walkie-talkie voice messaging finally comes to Instagram

In its latest grab from messaging apps, Instagram now lets you send walkie-talkie style voice messages. Apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and iMessage have offered the feature for some time.
Social Media

‘YouTube Rewind 2018’ is about to become its most disliked video ever

YouTube is about to achieve a record it really doesn't want — that of "most-disliked video." Yes, its annual recap of featuring popular YouTubers has gone down really badly this year.