Note: As I turned this into the editor, news broke that the whole story upon which I was writing was a hoax. The underlying fact, however, remains: a woman branded publicly tweeted sexually charged language as ???winning.???
I???m impressed with BuzzFeed. They???ve found a way to bridge the gap between baby boomers scrolling CNN.com and millennials scanning Twitter for their current events updates. Their content is entertaining and informative, and always a quick read. Indeed, I found the (editorially inaccurate but exciting nonetheless) piece BuzzFeed wrote on my blog post exhilarating, the true sign that???d I???d ???gone viral.???
The piece titled, ???This Epic Note-Passing War On A Delayed Flight Won Thanksgiving??? caught my eye while waiting for the turkey to roast on Thanksgiving Day. The piece is marked as ???LOL??? and ???Win??? using the website???s signature post-it style labels.
It began interestingly enough: some guy who produces reality shows offered a Twitter-driven narrative of what was going on with his delayed flight, peppering in plenty of overly dramatic sarcasm about a very obnoxious female passenger on his airplane.
The story was bumping along nicely until he decided to add, ???Eat my dick,??? to a note he sent the troublesome passenger, following an increasingly heated exchange.
How revolting. What started out as an amusing read was now something I couldn???t have open at my grandmother???s house. The narrator was funny enough already. Why did he feel the need to bring in unabashed, sexually offensive language, which added nothing to his point?
Herein lies that gender-based double standard. The original BuzzFeed piece was written by Rachel Zarell, a female. How could another woman think such blatantly aggressive and superfluous sexual language was ???winning?!???
When I wrote my viral post, I was ???unladylike??? to the polite dissidents, and anywhere from ???rape bait??? or ???only good for boobs??? to less classy (but surely very attractive, socially-adept, honorable) men. Buzzfeed marked it as ???Trashy.???
My piece was covered by a man.
Not to single-out this author or this website, because, as I said, I enjoy BuzzFeed for the most part, but people should also be offended by Zarell???s piece on the ???Sharkeisha??? video. What could have been a journalist shining a light on violence, community support gone wrong, and lack of impulse control in Black American youth became fodder for humor: ???A viral fight video + a particularly unique name = memes for days.???
Journalism, blogging, writing???whatever you want to call it???should have a purpose. It should advance society, evoke, and provoke it. Instead, we are returning to gladiator-style spectatorship, cheering on the violent, aggressive, barbaric demise of the vulnerable, laughing at their misfortunes. On a day when families gather to be thankful for their bounties, unnecessarily violent language directed at women is ???winning??? the Internet.
Any of the hundreds of thousands of news aggregating sites that provide editorialized, sensationalistic journalism without providing a morality piece is guilty of this depravity-driving. The lesson is applicable in politics just the same.
Republicans are struggling to locate content and provide succinct, concise commentary on why a nanny government, amnesty, universal health care, small business taxation???pick any number of free enterprise, democratic tenets the corrupt White House is currently destroying???are causing such a destructive media culture.
BuzzFeed is just one example of a machine that???s subtly engraining its driving ethos into the Internet audience. It???s up to conservatives to follow suit and rally uninformed voters behind their message. If they don???t, we???ll soon all be cheering on the Sharkeishas.
Quin can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.