Twitter is good for a lot of things: rapid updates on breaking news, instant analysis from a variety of experts, and trolling corporations and celebrities. But like every other social network, the site is also host to incredibly tasteless, endlessly repeated “jokes,” including one making the rounds today comparing the Ebola outbreak to AIDS in America.
The most obvious example of these Twitter chain letters is the “Hope, Jobs, Cash” joke – “Ten Years ago we had Bob Hope, Steve Jobs, and Johnny Cash. Now we have no Hope, no Jobs, and no Cash” – that is so old that the endless parody accounts that post it daily have now updated it to twenty years.
Twenty years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Johnny Cash and Bob Hope. Now we have no jobs, no cash, and no hope. Please, don’t let Kevin Bacon die.
— Wilfred (@FunnyWilfred) October 3, 2014
Today’s Twitter joke virus is no less annoying, but way more offensive. It all started on September 30th, with this tweet from @Bobby J Comedy:
Ebola made it to America and y’all buying Masks & Hand Sanitizer.. AIDS been here 30 years and y’all still wont wear Condoms! — Bobby J. (@BobbyJComedy) October 1, 2014
Over the last few days, the joke has been repeated ad infinitum, oftentimes with factually inaccurate timelines of the disease’s arrival to the US.
Ebola’s been in the US for 1 day & ppl are already wearing face masks but aids has been here for 500 yrs & ppl still aren’t wearing condoms
— Sarah Leifker (@sarahleifker13) October 2, 2014
Ebola has been in the US for 2 days and yall are already wearing masks, AIDS has been here for 55 years and people still don’t use condoms. — Paul Shapiro (@shappybappy) October 2, 2014
Ebola made it to America and y’all buying masks & hand sanitizer. AIDS been here 30 years and y’all still wont wear condoms
— TED (@TedOfficialPage) October 3, 2014
To be clear, we’re not suggesting AIDS, Ebola, and Americans’ unwillingness to openly discuss safe sex options in school and with their partners aren’t issues worth discussing. It’s the false equivalency of the joke — that the national hysteria over Ebola is somehow related to America’s safe sex practices and the spread of AIDS — that is so aggravating, not to mention downright wrong. So now instead of insightful articles from health professionals about the outbreak, our Twitter feeds are full of mindless dreck parroted ad nauseum from a guy pretending to be a cartoon bear.
To conclude, think before you Tweet, people. And find some newer, more original material while you’re at it.
[image via @desusnice]