What Really Grinds My Gears

Clout Chasing Amidst A Tragedy.


My Creative Writing: Non-Fiction professor Melinda Corey, who my fellow Impacter Michael Panteleo did a wonderful feature on, gives us these weekly essays that serve as our homework assignments. This week’s topic caught my attention: write about something you dislike. Only a matter of time before this essay found its way here to Brian’s Banter.

There is more cursing in this column than any of my others, but I feel it is necessary for the point I am trying to get across. If what I have written offends anyone, you will be okay. You did not die.


So, you want me to write about something I dislike? Well, how much time do you have? I can go on for pages about how I despise the arch-rivals to my favorite sports teams. The Boston Red Sox of the MLB, New York Red Bulls of the MLS, or the goddamn Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL all hold a special place in my heart. That I hate them all so much.

Or I can talk about the worst “rapper, ” I googled him and it said he was a rapper so whatever I guess, that ever existed; Pitbull. When you make millions for rhyming “Kodak’ with “Kodak” there is a problem. At least you found a fitting name. He looks like a pit bull. Okay, let me stop as I am appearing as a hater. Shit, I probably am… Oh well.

At least with the last two examples provided, there is a slight, tiny minuscule chance I can stomach through it if I had a gun pointed at my head or something. There is not stomaching through with my next example: People who take to social media to add a custom filter to their profile picture amid a disaster.

I can use hundreds of examples as tragedy strikes daily. The one on my mind, however, is what gave me the inspiration to even write this column. On November 28, 2016, a charter flight carrying Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense crashed in Medellín, Colombia killing all but six of the 77 passengers on board. Tragic right? The real tragedy laid in what I saw when I logged onto Facebook. Every profile picture I saw had a hashtag Vamos Chape filter with a green border and the team’s crest on the top right corner. Over half of the motherfuckers who did were not even soccer fans. And I am certain they did not even have a clue what a Chapecoense even was.

How many of you have ever even been to Paris? Been atop the Eiffel Tower? Not as many as those who put the French flag filter on their profile picture after the 2015 November Paris attacks. Let us just call this what it is. Clout chasing. Trying to act like you are an intellectual who is up to date with the latest global news. You just look pathetic. A conformist who will hop on the latest fad just to seem cool. Answer me this? What is the clout to dollar conversion rate? Or let me know how much those seven likes on your custom profile picture put into your bank account that day. You think you are part of the solution, but in reality, you are nothing but the problem.

Funny how selective we want to be with this sudden act of kindness too. A series of terrorist bombing attacks struck the island country of Sri Lanka. Killing nearly 360 people just this past Easter. And yet, not one alert from Facebook or profile picture change with a hashtag and filter for Sri Lanka. But I am not surprised. How many of you have ever even heard of Sri Lanka? And no, the Nicki Minaj lyric from “Monster” “With a bad bitch that came from Sri Lanka” does not count.

It is also funny how it is always the same profile picture receiving this “makeover” with each new tragedy. But that picture is not even you anymore. The pounds? They have made their way to the cheeks (both), tummy, and thighs. And it shows. You hang on to the last good picture you took off yourself and roll with that. It is not even a roll anymore; it is a full tumble at this point.

I feel sorry for those who were or are from Paris or Brazil or whatever country is suffering. Something as simple and quirky as a custom filter for a profile picture that should have served as the commencement of a nation’s healing process has instead shown us who the clout farmers are.