In the year of divisiveness, even something as one-sided as the unfortunate death of a beloved zoo animal became a battle over parenting styles, and more. The drama began when a young boy somehow managed to enter the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. The boy was scooped up by a 17-year-old Western lowland gorilla named Harambe. Fearing for the life of the child, zoo officials shot and killed Harambe. And then the madness began.
After the above video was posted, it seemed everyone had an opinion on who was at fault and what should be done about it. The boy’s mother was the target of harassment on the internet, and police considered possible criminal charges. Meanwhile, your Facebook friends revealed that they’re still coming to terms with how jokes work.
And then the memes started, and they just kept coming, seemingly birthing like those snakes. So much so that the zoo director publicly declared his annoyance with them, and pleaded with the public to stop. “We are not amused by the memes, petitions and signs about Harambe. Our zoo family is still healing, and the constant mention of Harambe makes moving forward more difficult for us. We are honoring Harambe by redoubling our gorilla conservation efforts and encouraging others to join us.” Surprisingly enough, posting non-sequiturs on a picture of a dead gorilla wasn’t helping anyone’s emotional state.
Even though most of the hype has died down, the Harambe Juggernaut continues to roll. Harambe was included in the presidential election, because of course he was, with the dead gorilla polling with 5 percent support in July 2016, tied with the Green Party candidate. There have been several songs written about Harambe, and a computer fighting game has just been released. Man, isn’t humor great?
Genetically blessed / scientifically modified Playboy Playmate Dani Mathers bolstered the adage “Beauty is only skin deep” when she posted a Snapchat image mocking a 70-year-old woman at her gym. It was an action accompanied by all of the empathy of orphanage arson.
The nude pic was snapped without the woman’s knowledge as she showered in a locker room. The image also includes Mathers covering her mouth in disgust/delight, with the commentary, “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either.” You can find more human caring in most major avalanches. After the post went viral, Mathers set about to do some damage control with a classic non-apology apology.
Short Mathers-less version: “I’m new to Snapchat. I only wanted to a snark / share this illegally obtained photo in front of a few close friends. Therefore, it’s not my fault!” Thanks, Dani. It’s nice to know that your friends are terrible, too.
As egregious and mind-numbingly callous as all this was, even more disturbing was how the media covered the story.
Nope. Sorry. This was not the “crazy PC police are charging people with body-shaming” that headlines made it out to be. It’s a clear invasion of privacy. In legal terms, it’s “Dissemination of Private Images,” a misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Mathers has pleaded not guilty to charges, mostly because she’s the kind of person who would take naked pictures of the elderly without their permission.