Everyone loves a good Internet rage mob. Unfortunately, unless you read Salon on a daily basis, it's not always easy to find that just right minor hullabaloo that will offend you to your absolute core. To help out, here's a guide to what the Internet's getting pissed off at this week.
1. Target photoshopped a huge chunk of crotch out of a bikini model to achieve maximum "thigh gap."
As Johnny McNulty expertly reported, Target has escalated their hunt for that ever-elusive "thigh gap" to a level of Cronenberg-ian madness. Every clothier knows the girls of today are being taught to hate themselves at a fast increasing rate, and the only way to make some money off that hate is to sell them bodies they can't have. Not content with simply adding white space in between the legs of a catalog model for one of their juniors swimsuits, Target decided to up the ante and throw in a little "crotch gap." They photoshopped out just an inch or so of the model's crotch, seizing on a whole new part of the body that young girls are supposed to think they have too much of. This is how they stay on top.
SHOULD YOU GET OUTRAGED?
Sure, go for it. Everyone hates photoshopping in fashion layouts, especially in items aimed at young girls, so it's going to be easy to get people on board with you. Use this as the jumping off point for a 1,000-note Tumblr post about female body image. Or just a Facebook status announcing you're not going to buy your daughters anything from Target ever again. Just make sure you're carrying an umbrella for the imminent deluge of Likes that'll be coming your way. Plus, if you're a graphic designer, you can use it to go ballistic in a blog rant about lazy photo editors.
2. Obama went on Between Two Ferns to promote Obamacare enrollment.
Yes he did and it was awesome. An absolutely perfect move in a media campaign to reach young people resulted in a huge number of new visits to Healthcare.gov. It demonstrated Obama's media savvy to grab the one web show with just enough legitimacy (global movie star Zach Galifianakis) and just enough WTF-factor (Obama was asked to inspect Zach's spider bites) to guarantee the video would reach more people than all his late-night TV appearances combined (is that an exaggeration? I'm not a Nielsen family).
Obama opponents like Bill O'Reilly are outraged. "Lincoln would not have done it," says O'Reilly. It's true, Lincoln would probably be too busy appearing on the Moth podcast to do it. That guy had some stories to tell! According to the movie Lincoln.
Fox And Friends and other people who have no friends all said it was "inappropriate" for the president to "advertise" a law (it's impossible to advertise a law, FYI) on a show with the star of The Hangover. Gasp.
SHOULD YOU GET OUTRAGED?
If you don't like Obama, heck yes! You should be outraged every time he does something that works out. Spin that stuff. It's your job as a card-carrying Person Who Wants To Go Back To A Better Time to take this guy down an imaginary peg with your pretend bluster. If you haven't already, what are you waiting for?
3. See's Candies Is Selling "Irish Potatoes" for St. Patrick's Day.
It's a potato-shaped candy made of See's "Divinity" filling coated in milk chocolate, cinnamon and cocoa powder, with pine nuts for "eyes."
I had no idea this could be offensive to anyone until I read Tuesday's LA Weekly article by Samantha Bonar titled, "See's Irish Potatoes for St. Patrick's Day - Really?"
For realsies, Bonar is not at all happy with See's for perpetuating the stereotype that the Irish are fans of the potato:
"Why, may we ask, is it still OK in 2014 to be openly racist about the Irish? Oh yes, those vertically challenged drunk gingers who are a whiz at making fine lace just looove their potatoes. What's next, See's? Watermelon creams for African-Americans? Cheez Whiz truffles for white refuse?"
Watermelon creams for African-Americans would be deplorable. Luckily, a potato shaped chocolate on an Irish holiday isn't remotely analogous to that, so we're all safe for now.
As for "white refuse," is that really the PC way to say "white trash?" It doesn't seem to mitigate any of the offense at all. If you're at a backyard wrestling event or a Charlie Daniels Band in-store signing, and you get a dirty look for mentioning all the "white trash" in attendance, you probably won't get a pass if you say, "Oh, excuse me, I meant white refuse."
But it's not just the perpetuating of stereotypes that cheeses Bonar off. It's the insensitivity.
"A million Irish died during the Great Potato Famine - do you find that funny, See's? Let them eat divinity potatoes rolled in cinnamon and cocoa powder? Dirty potatoes, no less?"
Yup, there was the potato famine. And one of the reasons the potato famine was so horrible is potatoes were such a huge crop in Ireland, and they remained the country's staple crop after the famine ended. The Irish don't fall into sobbing heaps at the sight of a potato. They eat them, like everyone else. Most would say the British government shoulders a little more of the blame for the famine than the potato. If See's were to sell a chocolatey Prime Minister Lord John Russell candy treat, there might be problems.
Bonar goes straight off the rails in the next paragraph, making me wish (hope, pray?) this was all a gag and I'm falling for it.
"You'd think in this post-Game of Thrones world, Celt-bashing would be a thing of the past, but apparently not."
Game of Thrones? You mean that show that takes place in a fantasy world, where the teen moms give birth to dragons and corpses go horseback riding? You can't expect a show set in a fictional universe where incest is "vanilla" to eradicate anti-Irish sentiment. That's why we keep putting Ed Burns in TV shows. He's our only hope.
SHOULD YOU GET OUTRAGED?
You can give it a shot, but it's not going to take.
Fact is, Irish Potato candies aren't new, and a lot of Irish-Americans love them. They've been around for a hundred years, originating in Philadlephia. Oh Ryan's bakery claims the candy as their creation, and they're a Philly staple in the Irish community. In fact, I went home last weekend to my Irish family in suburban Philadelphia. A Mick friend of my parents stopped by and gave my Mick mom two boxes of Irish potatoes, and she filled up a baggie of them for me to take home. I'm eating one right now. I apologize to my people.
(by Bob Powers)