The rise of the internet meme has been a largely amusing thing: keyboard cat, Hitler ranting on issues of the moment, and of course, Kanye. Kanye, Kanye, Kanye/Hitler… But like anything that soars in popularity and finds a way to touch the masses, it can be turned and used…less positively.
Watch this video of Gilbert Gottfried roasting his friend Bob Saget in 2008… It is only a minute–just watch it, I’ll wait…
Admittedly, that’s a harsh joke. But it’s ragging between comedians–one of whom does a decidedly-filthy version of The Aristocrats joke–and it’s on a platform that’s intended to be outrageous. Remarkably. this is the explanation used to explain what inspired one man’s response to something he believed to be outrageous–talk radio, specifically the Glenn Beck show. This guy’s response? glennbeckrapedandmurderedayounggirlin1990.com
The site positions itself as a sort of social experiment, cataloguing and measuring the responses it generates. And the author defends his intentions by claiming to be mirroring the same kind of willful, agenda-serving truth-bending that Mr. Beck regularly employs. Further, he cites how the word ‘parody’ appears again and again throughout the homepage. Yet the basic provocation remains, a snarky, one-sided smear along the lines of that classic unanswerable yes or no question: ‘do you still beat your wife?’
It will be up to the courts to decide whether an offensive domain name constitutes defamation, but the sad truth remains; we’ve become a society riven by shouting, by insults, by loud voices amplifying narrow perspectives. I’m not a fan of political commentary performed by anyone aside from maybe Letterman and Stewart–the opinions are too shrill, too strident, too focused on convenient framings of blame.
If this is how we disagree, maybe we all need to go back to school. Or at least Sunday School.