Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

July 19, 2013

LEFFLER: Internet was just crazy this week.

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — I believe Denis Leary put it best when he said on Twitter, “Remember - if you see a Sharknado, stay in your car and do not follow it. Unless you live in Florida.”

It’s subtle but it ties in two of the top trending items on social media for the week — the George Zimmerman trial and the SyFy original movie, Sharknado. Add in the controversy surrounding Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s face gracing the cover of Rolling Stone, and you pretty much have the entirety of the Internet for the week.

Let’s start with the Zimmerman trial. I can’t say I was shocked when I heard Saturday night that he was acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin, but I was appalled. That said, I’m much less inclined to believe that it was some sort of racist conspiracy to let Zimmerman get out of jail free as that it was a case of justice and the law not always being the same thing.

I wasn’t there. You weren’t there. And to be honest, neither of us even watched much of the trial, right? But that sure doesn’t seem to stop people from complaining (or rejoicing) about it online.

There’s only two people that know exactly what happened … and one of them is dead. So only Zimmerman knows how it all went down. But the puzzle was pieced together by a number of witnesses and those witnesses talked to the jury. The jury, in turn, was instructed exactly what the law is and concluded that the charges didn’t fit the situation.

Do I think the ruling was just? I do not. Do I think it was correct — according to the law? I regretfully believe that it was.

Meanwhile in Los Angeles, sharks got sucked out of the ocean by a huge tornado and dropped into the streets to wreak terror on the good citizens therein. At least that was the premise of Sharknado, the movie that took Twitter by storm (shoutout to the late Clip Smith for the inspiration for the bad pun) last Thursday.

Almost everyone I knew — and everyone I didn’t know — seemed to be watching the low-budget B-grade movie live and discussing it on the 140-character social media site. In fact, 318,232 tweets relating to Sharknado were sent during the premiere broadcast.

I had to catch it off the DVR, missing out on the sarcastic live play-by-play on Twitter. I watched it Saturday morning, expecting it to be horribly awesome. Or awesomely horrible. Let’s just say I was half right.

Rumors are swirling that a sequel is planned which will drop sharks on New York City. Two words: I’m in.

Meanwhile, in Boston, people are incredibly agitated that Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wasn’t made to look like a mass murderer on the cover of Rolling Stone. From what I can gather the image is too complimentary and thus “glorifies” Tsarnaev.

Anybody remember when Time ran a bad (and doctored) photo of O.J. Simpson? They took a lot of heat for it — and rightfully so. It lacked journalistic integrity.

It’s not the media’s job to make people look good — or bad. Could they have specifically looked for a photo that made him look like a terrorist? Maybe. Would it have been ethical? No.

Look, Rolling Stone is in the magazine-selling business. Why use a bad photo when you have a good one that you can use? Does that mean they’re making him a rock star? No. It means they’re selling magazines.

I’m sorry that not all terrorists are scarred and wearing turbans and eye patches. But misguided people’s perceptions of what a terrorist looks like should not be Rolling Stone’s concern.

And that … is what happened on the Internet this week.

 

 

 

Scott Leffler likes sharks and justice but not terrorism. He really likes Twitter. Find him there @scottleffler.