Today’s Completely Invented BuzzFeed Meme That’s Sweeping the World


This is amazing. There’s a trending meme on social media that’s starting to gain steam on ordinary old media: Who should have been Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year? Serena Williams or American Pharoah? The answer, of course, is Serena Williams, because SI has chosen human beings for this award for the past 60 years. Secretariat didn’t win it. Seattle Slew didn’t win it. Affirmed didn’t win it. And now, American Pharoah hasn’t won it. This is because they are horses, not human beings.

So what’s the deal? Apparently BuzzFeed managed to start all this by publishing a piece noting that a few horse racing fans were upset that American Pharoah didn’t win. Not lots of fans. Just horse racing fans. And not even a lot of horse racing fans. Just a few. But some of them complained on Twitter! Maybe a few dozen or so. That’s about 0.00003 percent of the Twitter population.1

In other words, BuzzFeed spun a piece out of almost literally nothing, and now the rest of the world is talking about it. Truly we live in a miraculous era.

POSTSCRIPT: For those of you who aren’t tennis fans, trust me: Serena deserved this. Her record this year was almost beyond belief, and that’s at the age of 33, when most top tennis players are either retired or just barely holding on. And of course, that’s on top of a career that makes her a strong candidate for best tennis player of all time.

1More or less. Actually, I just made up this number, since it doesn’t deserve the time it would take to come up with a real one.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.