Death does strange things to people. We get the urge to honor those who have passed on with memorials and tributes, but sometimes we confuse "tribute" with "things we enjoy personally that actually have no positive connection to the departed" and -- in select cases -- "pictures of Morgan Freeman."
#4. Nelson Mandela Is Honored With Toto's "Africa"
When former South African president and human rights champion Nelson Mandela passed away last December, people from all corners of the globe mourned his death and celebrated his remarkable life, when they weren't using news of his passing to promote a movie.
Newspapers rushed to print their Nelson Mandela obituaries (a handful of which were actually longer than the titanic 17-page obituary Bloomberg wrote for Steve Jobs), and every media outlet rushed to air their own Mandela memorial segment. That rush is probably what resulted in CBS' decision to air Toto's "Africa" during their Mandela tribute, probably because it is the first result that comes up when you Google "Africa song." As many of you know, Toto is a band full of white dudes who had never been to Africa when they wrote that song in 1982, and the song itself actually has nothing at all to do with the continent of Mandela's birth. But CBS thought its joyous rhythm would make the perfect backdrop for a montage of Nelson Mandela's weeping family, accompanied by a thoroughly baffling pronunciation of his last name:
Meanwhile, India declared a five-day period of national mourning to honor Mandela, which sparked a good-hearted but ultimately confused cloth merchant to personally print this haunting memorial billboard of Morgan Freeman:
"He played him in a movie once. That has to count for something."
#3. School Board Member Honors Sandy Hook Victims by Giving Everyone Bullets
To commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, a Facebook event was created this past November called the 26 Days of Kindness, wherein participants would perform one random act of kindness a day for 26 days to honor each of the 26 children. Users wrote heartfelt posts about helping strangers, lighting candles, praying, and other good deeds, but when Gregory Beck, a Board of Education member in neighboring Brookfield, Connecticut, saw the event, he saw an opportunity to win an uncontested victory at the Internet Troll Olympics:
"Just kidding; after this, I won't have any friends."
Regardless of how you feel about gun control, we can all probably agree that handing out boxes of ammunition is a bit of a disservice to the memory of 26 children who were murdered in a shooting rampage. Unsurprisingly, the community was outraged by Beck's "act of kindness" and demanded his resignation, which Beck was only too happy to give. Although he did apologize and step down from his position, it is still unclear precisely what the fuck was going through his mind. We'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that those thought-controlling ear worms from Wrath of Khan were tooling around with his brain.
#2. Band Dedicates "Tick Tick Boom" Song to Boston
Last December, Swedish band the Hives was performing at the TD Garden arena in Boston when, midway through the set, the band's frontman stepped out to the crowd and announced, without a trace of irony, "This song's for everyone in Boston. It's about stuff blowing up. It's called 'Tick Tick Boom.'"
"Now let's blow the roof off this place like a crude homemade explosive in a densely populated public setting!
Why ... why did everyone stop clapping?"
The crowd of Bostonians was understandably upset, considering that the horror of the Boston Marathon bombing is still a raw, open wound in New England. The lead singer apologized and claimed the gaffe was totally unintentional, which is a little hard to believe considering that "Tick Tick Boom" is literally the only song in the Hives' discography whose title sounds like a bomb exploding.
#1. "Freedom 2 Twerk" Party on Martin Luther King Jr. Day
To celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, promoter Mid-Michigan Teen Parties set up a teenage dance fest at the Social Network, an event center in Flint, Michigan. This makes total sense, because the images of Dr. King and hazy drunken teenagers spasming to terrible music are inseparable in our minds. To get the word out, Mid-Michigan Teen Parties had the following poster printed up, which will likely stand as one of the greatest historical documents of the current generation:
Mid-Michigan Teen Parties
"Shake that ass! Shake that ass! Good God almighty, we will shake that ass!"
The "Freedom 2 Twerk" Martin Luther King Day Weekend Party featured a picture of Dr. King wearing a rapper medallion and throwing up a West Coast gang sign, which is strange, since he was born and raised in Atlanta. Bafflingly, there is also a second, totally untouched photo of him in the upper right hand corner, as if he is communicating his approval from the great beyond. Outrage over the poster exploded across the Internet, even reaching King's daughter Bernice, who called it "appalling." The Social Network cancelled the event, which we think was a bit harsh. They should've let those kids have their party. Just, y'know, trim that ridiculous Rappin' Martin picture out of the flier.
The third part of XJ's epic science fiction novel is out now on Amazon. The first $0.99 novella can be found here, with Part 2 out here. Leave a review and he'll love you forever. Poke him on Twitter and follow him on Facebook.