5 Well-Meaning Tributes That Went Shockingly Wrong
No one wants the most notable part of their obituary to be "local resident." But if you want a legacy worth talking about, you have to earn it with decades of toil, natural genius, uncompromising morals, or maybe a spot on a reality TV show. And even then, your legacy is only as good as the folks paying tribute to it ...
Companies Use Prince's Death To Hawk Their Wares
When Prince passed away, social media rightfully overflowed with mourning, lamenting the loss of not only a music icon, but approximately 70 percent of the world's supply of sexiness. And hey, if you're looking for the prince of breakfast cereals, you should consider Cheerios, which responded to the man's death by tweeting (and then swiftly deleting) this:
Your mom swears that the Malt-O-Meal version of this tweet was cheaper, though equally offensive.
3M, the company you might recognize from every single item in your junk drawer, honored Prince's legacy by tweeting a giant purple logo with a single teardrop:
How could they have known this wouldn't be taken well? Here's a handy tip we've discovered: Generally, if you try to brand a person's death, people assume you might not be entirely sincere in your mourning.
Hamburger Helper awkwardly centered their (also deleted) Prince tribute on their creepy anthropomorphic glove mascot, who was ostensibly not taking the loss well:
We should probably be thankful they didn't caption it "When Gloves Cry."
But those were all touching, heartfelt eulogies compared to Getty Images' response, which was a link to Prince images available for purchase from Getty Images:
Originality: a bold message from a company trying to license the same photos to every newspaper and website in existence.
The U.S. Postal Service Honors The Statue Of Liberty (Replica In Vegas)
When the United States Postal Service issued a stamp honoring Lady Liberty, they went to a stock photography service and picked out an image with good lighting, engaging colors, and an interesting angle.
And obviously painted-on crown windows.
Then they printed up 10.5 billion of those sons of bitches. That's called confidence, motherfuckers.
It's not always a good thing.
It was only after distribution that a contributor at Sunipix, a small Texas stock photo service, noticed something was off. This man happened to be an expert on both stamps and the Statue of Liberty -- which no doubt served him well in the dating realm -- and now his passions finally merged to royally fuck up USPS's day. While the Post Office meant to honor this:
"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."
They had actually honored this:
"Give me your tired, huddled masses. I'll send them back poor and too stuffed with crab legs to breathe."
That's the replica of the Statue of Liberty standing outside the New York-New York Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. It's also the structure featured on the 2011 stamp.
When they were notified of the error, Roy Betts, a spokesman for the Postal Service, said, "We still love the stamp design and would have selected this photograph anyway." We're assuming Roy was the kind of kid who'd fall off the swing set and break his arm, then later assure everybody he "meant to do it" because his intact arm was "stupid anyway."
The Republican Party Honors Rosa Parks By Declaring That Racism No Longer Exists
Rosa Parks was arrested in 1955 for violating segregation laws, leading to the Montgomery bus boycott, which in turn increased exposure for the Civil Rights Movement. And that's how we ended racism forever. Thanks for getting that sucker out of the way so quickly, Rosa.
Or at least, that's the case according to the GOP, which commemorated the 58th anniversary of Parks' arrest with this little doozy:
"Now we can joke about it again! Have you heard the one about the black guy who walks into a ..."
Of course, all it takes is a quick visit to YouTube's comment section to dispute that statement. But somehow, the abstract concept of racism slipped right past the clueless intern in charge of the Grand Old Party's official Twitter. The tribute was not received well:
Apparently, snarky hashtags are how we stick it to the man these days.
Stockton-On-Tees Honors The Inventor Of The Match By Commissioning A Plaque For The Company That Ruined Him
The next time you light a match to ward off the Ghost of Chipotles Past, you should take a moment to thank John Walker. He's the English chemist who accidentally invented the friction match (presumably at a cost of one-and-a-half eyebrows). As the biggest contributor to fire technology since Oog Flintbasher, it's no surprise that his hometown, Stockton-on-Tees, is proud of his legacy. It's just the way they show that pride that needs some work ...
This is him. No one in Stockton-on-Tees knows that.
Stockton's first attempt at a memorial was in 1893, when they installed a simple brass plaque describing Walker's achievement. Problem was, the plaque wrongly identified Walker as the inventor of the "Lucifer match," which was in fact the brand of matches that ripped off Walker's unpatented design and made a fortune from it.
In 1977, Stockton pulled together enough public donations to create a bust of Walker, because sometimes we prefer to remember our heroes without their weird-looking torsos and awkward legs.
And from a nostril-only viewing angle.
This statue is now displayed proudly ... in a remote corner of the town's shopping mall. Why did it receive the "outdated soda machine" treatment? Because in the 1990s, it came to light that the statue depicted a completely different John Walker -- an actor who had never even visited Stockton, much less called it home. But hey, at least he didn't directly steal livelihood from the man. It's an improvement!
A Plaque "Accidentally" Honors MLK's Assassin On Martin Luther King Jr. Day
In 2002, actor James Earl Jones was going to be honored with a special plaque at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration in Lauderhill, Florida. The plaque-making job went to a Texas-based firm called Merit Industries -- a name you should note, because it's about to become painfully ironic.
The design specifications sent to Merit Industries featured photos of several influential African Americans alongside the text: "Thank you, James Earl Jones, for keeping the dream alive." Unfortunately, the final product had a bit of a typo ...
"I have a nightmare!" -- Merit Industries PR Department
We're not sure how your fingers slip badly enough to enter "James Earl Jones" as "James Earl Ray." Perhaps Merit Industries generously employs the lobster-handed. Surely, it's a total coincidence that the man who killed Martin Luther King Jr. was also named James Earl Ray.
If you think we're just being snarky with this whole typo business -- because it clearly could not possibly be an actual typo -- think again! That's Merit Industries' official story: Vice President Herbert Miller says it was a spelling error made by an employee "who [doesn't even] speak English." You know how it is -- you hire a bunch of these minority types, and they go off accidentally changing a name in the one and only specific way that could honor a civil rights icon's murderer instead of the voice of Darth Vader. Happens all the time.
Jeff Silvers really hopes Hamburger Helper doesn't tweet about him when he's dead. Check out his blog at jeffsilvers.com.
For more questionable tributes, check out 8 Statues Of Famous People (That Look Absolutely Insane) and The 9 Most Baffling Monuments To Great People.
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