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We always love to say that “tragedy brings out the best in people.” Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. As we documented earlier, people flocked to Twitter and Facebook in droves to celebrate the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami, which have been responsible for thousands upon thousands of deaths, as some sort of karmic payback for Pearl Harbor or otherwise glib punchline. It feels dirty to even acknowledge these idiots, but seeing that it is not socially acceptable to put people in the stocks anymore, they probably deserve the shame. While rescue workers are pulling victims from the rubble, brave engineers are risking their lives to contain a possible nuclear disaster and countless others are grieving, there are still people who find it acceptable to spew bullshit into a world that needs anything but bullshit.
Yes, everyone has the right to speak their mind; free speech is the reason we’re able to sit here and write that maybe people should stop saying mean things about Japan. Tragedy and sheer devastation aside, saying this stuff on the Internet makes you look pretty dumb.
Alexandra Wallace, the now-famous UCLA student who ranted right after the tsunami about “these hordes of Asian people that UCLA accepts into our school every year,” has achieved infamy and celebrity because of her YouTube video. L.A. Weekly has her story, and whether she intended to or not, she has become the bubbly, blonde figurehead of people who probably now regret saying what they did about Japan.
Celebrities, people who have little else to do other than manicure their image, have proven to be some of the worst offenders. While any jackass with a Twitter account can immediately document a misconception they’ve formed on a whim, the following “people of note” are consciously aware of who is listening to them and their influence. Some of them are trying to be funny, some of them are communicating their beliefs. All of them should be feeling stupid right about now:
The rapper, whose Twitter feed often reads like a series of text messages from your drunkest, most obnoxious friend, surprised no one when he made rash comments about the disasters in Japan. While not malicious, they are still woefully out-of-touch:
Later he admitted being ignorant for shock value:
We already reported that Gottfried was fired by insurance company Aflac for his stream of Twitter jokes about the earthquake and tsunami. It’s worth noting that he experienced somewhat of a career renaissance almost a decade ago for being one of the first people to joke about 9/11 after the terrorist attacks. Perhaps he thought a second horrific tragedy was a chance to further enhance his career.
We also featured Family Guy writer Alec Sulkin’s tweet on a previous post:
Family Guy is known for toeing the line and cultivating humor from the uncomfortable and tragic, but that previous tweet wasn’t even an attempt to be funny (and if it was, maybe that explains The Cleveland Show). He later apologized and tweeted, “Yesterday death toll = 200. Today = 10,000. I am sorry for my insensitive Tweet. It’s gone.” He obviously doesn’t mean to convey that “200 deaths=okay,” but to those scoring at home, it’s confusing.
The CNBC host said on air, “The human toll here looks to be much worse than the economic toll, and we can be grateful for that.” To be fair, that is easy to take out of context. The context being the devastating natural disasters that have killed over 10,000 people. Oh, wait, that does sound bad in context. Kudlow apologized on Twitter, blaming the gaffe on a “flubbed” line:
Maybe he should stick to what CNBC anchors do best and just focus on being wrong about the markets.
Pondexter, who plays for the WNBA’s New York Liberty, felt that her opinions on the matter were so pressing she had to write them down for posterity. Unfortunately for posterity, her opinions were also misguided, hurtful, and woefully constructed. She tweeted:
What if God was tired of the way they treated their own people in there own country! Idk guys he makes no mistakes.
And went on to write:
u just never knw! They did pearl harbor so u can’t expect anything less.
She wrote an extended apology, but given the quality of her previous works, we won’t subject you to that beautiful prose again.
You know what, no. No Glenn Beck. No Pat Robertson, either. They both said things about Japan that we find wrong. The difference between them and the other people we wrote about is that they’re probably not going to face any repercussions from what they said. In fact, they make money from it. If you want to see what they said, go here.
People are going to say stupid things, and just because they have a platform doesn’t mean they represent anyone but themselves. If you feel compelled to make an effort to help Japan, please text “REDCROSS” to 90999, $10 will be donated to the relief efforts. Also, here is a list of different organizations and ways to help.