Why Jerks Are Having the Best Year Ever

What does behaving like a prick all-day, everyday on Twitter do for these people?

When I read about the three White high school students re-enacting a 2009 domestic violence incident between Chris Brown and Rihanna in Blackface as part of a competition held during high a pep rally, I wasn’t surprised. Racists will be racists, but more importantly, now more than ever you see these idiots succumb to the lowest common denominator in search of a laugh. It doesn’t matter how disrespectful, if not flat out cruel, the punchline is...all that matters to these folks is that they get someone to chuckle and get a sense of validation.

So as horrific it is to see young people take serious subject matter like violence against women as a source of “satire,” I didn’t need their story to realize how much meaner we’re collectively becoming. I often see similar behavior occurring on social media in real time. It’s usually worse to witness in that medium given the anonymity of the internet fuels cowards to say things directly to others that they wouldn’t dare to in person.

Take for instance the video of the belligerent 25-year-old woman who was ultimately assaulted by a Cleveland bus driver. It didn’t take long for people to identity both her government name and her Twitter handle. Once people did, her mentions consisted of one crude joke about her beating after another. Feel however you want about the incident itself, make your jokes if you must, but why go out of your way to directly be hurtful? Why did she need to hear these things?

I am not trying to police other people’s sense of humor. No one is completely absolved from guilt with respect to sometimes going over the line. Even so, while I personally can’t get a laugh out of watching a woman be hit by a man, what truly baffles me is why people went out of their way to find her for the sake of further taunting her.

The same can be said of similar attacks done on anyone with notoriety – namely celebrities. Some stars do indeed play an active role in antagonizing others with their tweets, yet more times than not it’s innocent bystanders. Like, you can enjoy or not enjoy Brandy’s album, but neither stance should spur you to make some direct quip to her about a tragic traffic accident she admittedly continues to have trouble with.

If you’re not a fan of Kim Kardashian, so be it. But unless you’re her gynecologist, she doesn’t need your direct analysis of her vagina virtually. And seriously, the woman who was hit on the bus doesn’t need you and yours trying to chin check her once again via computer or cell.

We’re all entitled to our opinions, but not everyone ought to necessarily be subjected to them in such pointed fashion. This is particularly true if that opinion isn’t so much a point-of-view as it is some kind of “joke” intended to hurt someone else to boost one’s own profile.

What does behaving like a prick all-day, everyday on Twitter do for these people? It won’t make up for whatever social awkwardness that happened earlier in their lives. There’s always the chance you might upset the wrong person crazy enough to find you offline to handle it. Worse, it gives you the false idea that being mean is synonymous with being funny.

It isn’t and never will be. If you’re only way to convey humor is to be malicious, you’re not genuinely funny -- no matter what any of the other jackasses who enable you tweet to the contrary.

Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick