2017 has been a good year for hating things on the internet. Sure, people are, increasingly, mad online, and political debate has splintered into a billion competing planetoids of paranoid conspiracy, venomous infighting, and vain “signal boosting.” And yet the massive focal points of our collective ire have been undoubtedly deserving. A recent meme stacks up Pepsi’s tasteless Kendall Jenner ad, which was so poorly received that it prompted the company to apologize to her, of all people; United’s harrowing “re-accommodation” of a passenger, which has since sent stock prices tumbling; and, finally, Sean Spicer, whose claim yesterday that Hitler never stooped to using chemical weapons inspired such widespread befuddlement and outrage that even he made it onto the news to apologize, perhaps for the first time in his outrage-laden three-month span as White House press secretary.
Anyway, it’s a straightforward meme, but a solid one:
You get the picture. All three of the instigating outrages have their own flavor, whether it’s Pepsi’s co-option of proper organized resistance in an age decidedly more critical of its media than, say, Don Draper’s; or United’s non-apology; or Sean Spicer’s bumbling, real-time attempt to clean up his own verbal diarrhea, which spawned this shockingly coherent mashup with Veep:
And this GIF of White House correspondent Ashley Parker watching Spicer fumble through his Holocaust denial:
Meanwhile, Reddit’s meme-generating r/videos subforum rallied in a concerted effort to rail against United. The internet has long been a font of outrage, but this has been a particularly jam-packed week for watching as these icons of capitalist inhumanity are both lampooned and held accountable for what can generously be called an insensitivity toward human suffering. The plotline has recently played out similarly for Bill O’Reilly—who has hemorrhaged advertisers following a New York Times expose on his long history of sexual harassment settlements—and Uber—which similarly bled users by breaking the taxi strike during the initial Muslim travel ban and whose CEO was filmed “disrupting” the minds of his underpaid and uninsured employees.
These are good, fitting focal points for internet rage: massive, soulless corporations and the people who abuse their power. We remember 2016 for its laundry list of dead celebrities; maybe 2017 can be one of felled corporate giants.
The response thus far: kill, kill, and kill.