You were waiting by your keyboard, fingers held slightly above the keys in ready anticipation, as you, me, and Internet citizens everywhere waited, as we do each day, for the signal that would tell us what to be pissed about.
And boom. Here it is. A school police officer was caught on video using excessive force against a student. Yes! That’s an easy one.
Within three seconds, you’ve watched the video, absorbed the headlines, juxtaposed them with current memes and hot social issues (it’s about race, it’s about unequal education, it’s about bad cops), stirred your inner outrage, and composed the one hundred and forty character, perfectly formulated message that you must share — if it’s not already too late — with the social media world. With an orgasmic relief, your fingertips strike the letters and your self-righteous, self-assured position on the incident is, at long last, a matter of public record.
What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now! (And then again in about five minutes, after you’ve had time for a postcoital smoke and put the finishing touches on a potentially viral animated GIF.)
But wait. What if you’re wrong?
I know it seems unthinkable, but what if that three-second glance did not provide you with the fully immersive ethnographic experience that say, four or five seconds of thinking about it would have? Consider this: On Friday morning, hundreds of Spring Valley students staged a peaceful walkout in support of the officer and demanded that he be allowed to keep his job.
Maybe these students are just too close to the actual experience to really understand its broader meaning. Or maybe the officer really is terrible. Or maybe this is about something else altogether. I have no idea. That’s the point. But there’s no time to worry about it now. That was yesterday’s meme.