Skip to main content

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

WTF Internet 06_30_2013 header
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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. 

Editors' Recommendations

Molly McHugh
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Before coming to Digital Trends, Molly worked as a freelance writer, occasional photographer, and general technical lackey…
X CEO reveals video calls are coming to the app formerly known as Twitter
The new X sign replacing the Twitter logo on the company's headquarters in San Francisco.

X, formerly Twitter, is to get video calling as part of ongoing efforts to turn the platform into a so-called “everything app” offering a broad range of services.

X CEO Linda Yaccarino announced the news during an interview with CNBC on Thursday.

Read more
How to download Instagram photos (5 easy ways)
Instagram app running on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5.

Instagram is amazing, and many of us use it as a record of our lives — uploading the best bits of our trips, adventures, and notable moments. But sometimes you can lose the original files of those moments, leaving the Instagram copy as the only available one . While you may be happy to leave it up there, it's a lot more convenient to have another version of it downloaded onto your phone or computer. While downloading directly from Instagram can be tricky, there are ways around it. Here are a few easy ways to download Instagram photos.

Read more
X seems to have deleted years of old Twitter images
The new X sign replacing the Twitter logo on the company's headquarters in San Francisco.

The social media platform formerly known as Twitter and recently rebranded as X appears to be having trouble showing images posted on the site between 2011 and 2014.

The issue came to widespread attention on Saturday when X user Tom Coates noted how the famous selfie posted by Ellen DeGeneres at the Oscars in 2014, which quickly broke the “most retweets” record, was no longer displaying. Later reports suggested the image had been restored, though, at the time of writing, we’re not seeing it.

Read more