TWITTER WAR! What is it good for? PLEASE RT! So, right, so, yesterday we had the very sad news that Ryan Dunn from Jackass died in a car accident, probably caused by the heavy drinking he was seen doing just a couple of hours earlier. (It should also be noted that someone else died in the crash with him, and they are obviously not getting any press, but just keep being mentioned as an unnamed person who died, and that is going to be very very sad for their friends and families, too, even if they never had someone else’s pubic hair glued to their tongue while taking a dump in a disconnected toilet at a hardware store, or whatever. R.I.P. unnamed friend of Ryan Dunn.) Soon after the news was released, Roger Ebert (the best) tweeted the following:
Eek! Yikes! Eek!
OK, well, to be fair (to Roger Ebert) drunk driving is incredibly reckless and dangerous, not just to the drunk driver, but to everyone else on the road. I hesitate to use the word luck with anything related to this story, but it is somewhat lucky that this accident wasn’t much worse for someone else driving another car, you know? Does that make Roger Ebert’s “joke”* any more tasteful or meaningful in the face of death? I don’t know. Probably not? But Bam Margera DEFINITELY doesn’t think so! He countered with these tweets:
It should be noted that Bam Margera is the fucking worst, for whatever that’s worth, but even the worst people can have friends, and they are just as entitled to mourn those friends as anyone else. But you guys, this whole thing is actually kind of interesting. Like, it raises a whole bunch of junk. Let’s unpack it:
1. Roger Ebert’s joke was probably a little crass and certainly ill-timed (or perfectly timed?) but what’s most interesting to me about it is that it directly ties into that whole Louis C.K./Jon Stewart/Tracy Morgan post from last week. Roger Ebert is not, by any definition, a comedian. Is he still protected under the “can’t you take a joke?” clause of comedy? This is an actual for real question. Who gets to use that shield when they say something that makes other people upset?
2. THIS IS ALL HAPPENING ON FUCKING TWITTER. Like, Twitter makes sense as a place for Roger Ebert to post his fleeting thoughts about the death of Ryan Dunn. Sure. But for Bam Margera to come back at him on Twitter actually gives Roger Ebert’s initial Tweet way too much power and legitimacy in the first place. IT’S TWITTER! BURN IT TO THE GROUND! And while Bam Margera is absolutely %100 entitled to grieve for his lost friend in whatever means he chooses, I definitely think grieving for your lost friend on Twitter is a weird way to grieve for your lost friend. If one of my best friends ever dies, I’m going to unplug the Internet and everyone’s going back to phone books and magazines. (I can do that I know where the plug is now!)
3. Bam Margera’s complaints about Roger Ebert, while completely justifiable within the framework of a sad person who believes that everyone is as sad as he is, ignores two things: firstly, that the only reason that Roger Ebert even knows your friend is dead is because your friend is famous, and that famous people’s lives (and deaths) operate under a different set of qualifications. That’s the deal. You don’t get to control the story anymore. Secondly, the thing that Bam Margera completely ignores, probably because he does not know it, is that if anyone APPRECIATES THE GIFT OF LIFE, it is Roger Fucking Ebert. The man is basically a walking testament to the will to survive.
The last way in which this is all kind of interesting is how it just goes to remind you that there’s absolutely nothing we can do to prepare ourselves for the vicissitudes of life. We are all going to be faced with these kinds of massive, painful, unexpected upheavals, and we will do the best to face them when they come, but there is nothing that we can do in advance that has any real worth or meaning. The reason I say this, besides it being true and maybe kind of obvious, is that there are few groups of people I can think of who have done more in recent memory to stare death in the face and laugh it off than the Jackass guys. Their entire ethos was an aggressive and sarcastic refutation of mortality. I’m not saying that Bam Margera shouldn’t be sad. Of course he should. It IS sad! And he IS a human being. But if anyone could have had the capacity to have drugged and electric-shocked and stabbed and dick-slapped and diarrheaed their way out of the attendant pain of death, it would have been them. And even they could not. So we’re all stuck with it.
That’s OK! Welcome to the club. We are all members!