Editor’s note: This is the reprint of a story contributed by a writer in 2013. This is a reminder to all that there is NO tolerance for racism anywhere in America. “All lives matter.”
American media has developed a nasty habit as of late. It involves mining Twitter for outlandish things that users say and positioning them in a story as if they are indicative of a trend or cultural movement. The Huffington Post did this earlier this week, airing out “racist tweets” directed at Pitbull for hosting the American Music Awards. The predictable onslaught of public outrage and similar articles on similar websites followed suit, along with a number of empowerment articles from the Latin news outlets calling out the ignorance of the culpable Twitter users in a very public way.
The Huffington Post did the same thing last year after the women’s US soccer team beat Japan during a gold medal match, and Vice did it a year prior to that when a magnitude earthquake rocked Japan. CNN ran a similar article in October after the new Miss Universe was crowned.
These stories have a shelf life and a predictable pattern. As surely as the Christmas season will soon be upon us, so too are we able to anticipate a story from Gawker or the Huffington Post broadcasting outlandish tweets from bratty adolescents who have not been properly reared. We can count on articles from these outlets, for they are the morally outraged swallows of the media world, returning to Capistrano each Dec. 26 to hunt and peck at the carcasses of the more than 500 million tweets sent by active users per day.
As evidence, here is an unscientific exercise:
Consider Corgis. Buzzfeed has built a veritable media empire on the elongated backs of these fuzzy, stubby-legged mascots of the Internet. They are photogenic, heartwarming and endearingly funny. They are likely the very reason God, or Steve Jobs, gave us the GIF format.
Yet there are people on Twitter talking shit about nature’s most perfectly imperfect creature right now.
That is because there are 218.3 million active users on Twitter. An estimated 130,000 new accounts are created every day. In addition to being a wonderful platform for communicating with an active, engaged community, Twitter is also a stinking cesspool of filth and disgust. The seedy underbelly of the microblogging site is incredibly easy to access, and for the sake of creating shock value, a writer could find himself there in relatively few clicks.
Enter the search term “Corgi” on Twitter, plus a negative word like “hate” or “dumb,” throw in an f-bomb for good measure, and see what results pop up:
These were just posted this week.
I fucking hate Corgi’s
— Aryana Rose (@turtlefayce) November 26, 2013
My neighbors stupid ass corgi won’t shut up
— Sam (@rtswiz) November 21, 2013
Am I considered heartless if I hate seeing the “cute emergency” and corgi pictures all over twitter?
— Madison Gramling (@mmgramling) November 21, 2013
If we look back further into the earlier months of 2013, we begin to develop a fuller picture of the widespread vitriol and seething hatred for Corgis on Twitter.
corgis can fuck right off back to anime planet or w/e. gimme lizards or giv me death…by lizards
— nice guy jokemaker (@Rad_Mouse) February 3, 2013
I don’t know who started the whole corgi fad that’s been going on, but please stop. If y’all ever met Comet you would hate corgis. #hesSatan
— Chris Becker (@ChrisBecker224) April 26, 2013
The level of rancor is alarming to say the least.
Tweets sent by bratty children or ignorant adults are not a good barometer for society as a whole. They are a way to broadcast the worst that Twitter has to offer in a lazy effort to garner traffic and produce content during a predictably slow news cycle.
Not only is doing so dangerously misleading, but it gives amplification to the opinions of stupid people so that they can be heard more loudly than the substantial platform that Twitter currently affords its users.
The task of achieving attention for the piece, the author and the website foments the outrage of a public that loves to feel outraged, but it does so at a significant cost to the greater good.