There are five stages to a viral event:
1. The event itself
2. The firestorm of social media jokes
3. The hashtag or meme
4. Fatigue about the topic
5. Reaching for think pieces
Solange kicking Jay Z in an elevator has reached that fifth circle of hell where think pieces on domestic violence, Jay Z as villain and Black rage are turning a pretty innocuous in-family scuffle into a thing that has to mean something.
My favorite of any type of think piece that comes out of these events is the inevitable: “why are you paying attention to this when there is something else way more important going on?” Did I say “my favorite” because I meant, “the thing I hate the most in this world.
As many of you know, more than 200 girls are being held captive in Nigeria by terrorists. It’s easily one of the most sickening, horrifying, tragic stories we’ll hear all year at least. It breaks my heart.
However, I’m a human being with a mostly-functioning brain. Which means I have the ability to think about two things over the course of a day. Hell, I can think of two things pretty much at the same time sometimes. It’s a perk of evolution.
Which is why certain think pieces drive me crazy. For example, this article titled “5 Shocking Jay Z And Solange Pictures You Have To See.” Of course, once you click on the article, it directs you to pictures and facts about the girls in Nigeria. The point of the article is to ridicule those of use “obsessed” with Jay Z and Solange, thus, somehow in turn ignoring the girls in West Africa.
This is dumb, high-horsed better than thou Internet preaching that drives me insane and is counterintuitive to getting anything done. Instead, the article – and I hate to single this particular article out because I’m really talking about something way more widespread – creates a line in the sand, forcing those of us playing the dozens over an in-law fight to get defensive and feel singled out as if our enjoyment of something funny is taking away from our awareness of something serious.
Here’s another reason, this particular line of divisive thought is a fallacy: #?BringBackOurGirls is a HASHTAG, which means, precisely, that it’s something the Internet cares about enough to make trending. Michelle Obama didn’t pose with a picture that said “I want to save the girls.” She posted with a picture of the hashtag; something created by the same pocket of the Internet Photoshopping Solange’s head onto Chun-Li’s body.
Also, here’s some bad news for those of you who feel like you deserve a medal for posting “deep” Facebook statuses and clicking on a site with 12 GIFs about why you should care about Nigerian girls or something: there’s ALWAYS something horrific going on in this world. I know this for a fact because human beings are in control of this planet.
That means that somewhere there are hundreds of thousands of people getting slaughtered for no reason. Which also means that every time you’re writing a status about literally anything, you’re also actively not writing a status about a drone strike that killed an innocent family of four or chemical weapons being tested on villages or kids being sold into sex slavery. See how exhausting your life would be if you really were the person you think you are because you can copy and paste a hashtag into your Twitter feed?
The beauty of humanity is the ability to find happiness in a sea of tragedy. To be able to acknowledge and cope with the immeasurable sea of sadness around us every day and find a reason to wake up the next morning.
So if I just read about girls my step-daughter’s age being sold as wives and want to brighten my day with some lulz about how even someone as rich as Jay Z has to deal with crazy a$$ in-laws then please let me have that moment. If you want to have your high horse moment, then that’s also your prerogative. Just don’t be surprised if deep down inside I’m waiting for the day someone turns your high horse into glue.