Signal Boost Sunday: #BringBackOurBenny


There’s been some pretty devastating news in the millennial bad-writing community this week. Our beloved friend Benny Johnson over at Buzzfeed, mostly known for his groundbreaking coverage of the Fort Hood shooting that was mostly pictures of Chipotle and stop signs, has been fired for 40 instances of plagiarism.

As the Viral Politics Editor, Benny’s job was to take political issues (like congressional haircuts or what buildings in DC look like) and make them “viral” by stripping any sort of informative quality and diluting significance through his lens of dipshit irreverence and Toy Story gifs. He was very good at it, and his work helped to expose a lot of young people to many, many new advertisements that they would have otherwise missed.

Benny is around 29 years old. He’s got a stupid bowtie, what appear to be non-prescription glasses, and he uses pictures of children’s movies to express himself. He’s the voice of our generation, and his plagiarism is a critical component of that voice. Benny’s ability to lift and seamlessly weave the work of others into pictures of cats or “ironically bad” music videos is unremarkable, and that only contributes to his appeal. It’s almost as if he himself is composed of all the memes and stolen words that he’s disseminating – as if Grumpy Cat pissed on a MacBook and the resulting fire melted a bunch of troll dolls into a Benny Johnson mannequin; consuming the work of others and shitting out lists in his quest to find the Dunkin Donuts in the basement the Library of Congress.

Buzzfeed needs to re-hire Benny, and we need to work together to make that happen. If the work of two twitter users can cause a man to lose his job, then hopefully the work of three, or possibly four or five twitter users can bring about his re-employment.

This is about so much more than Benny. It’s about hope for an entire generation of people. It’s about a subset of the population that was raised to believe that you should not only be compensated for mediocrity and incompetence, but that you should be rewarded for it. When Buzzfeed fired Benny Johnson, they didn’t just remove a thief from their payroll, they stripped attendance awards and participation medals off the chests of every deluded young American that’s found a way to feel good about nothing. Benny Johnson was a symbol, and his termination has sent a shockwave through the community of talentless overemployed baby-adults that drive the speculative and hollow economy of viral content. If we click bait folk can’t rely on theft, just what the hell are we supposed to do? Get real jobs? No fucking thank you.

So, guys, I’m asking for your help. Let’s all signal-boost #BringBackOurBenny and make a big push to get BuzzFeed to not only re-hire Benny Johnson, but to encourage further plagiarism. Let’s take this fight to Benny’s home – social media – and use the power of gifs and hashtags to bring this incompetent boob back into the fold. Let’s make a stand for inability, and lets send a message that stealing is not only okay, it’s the way we do things in the brave new world of viral content. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

I like recipes and my kids.

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