For most of us, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a time to reflect on one of the most honorable and morally righteous figures in our country’s history... and/or to sit at home eating Cheez-Its and watching a bad Netflix show. But for the denizens of Online, MLK Day is a time to tweet extremely badly. And boy, did people ever do that today.
There were so many bad tweets about King today that even narrowing them down to a list that fits in one blog is difficult, but we did our best to do so, and to break them down by category.
An obvious place to start is the U.S. government, which was no fan of King during his lifetime, to put it lightly. Many on Twitter were sharing a 2017 tweet from the FBI—the same FBI who sent King fake suicide letter from himself and sent Coretta Scott King recordings of what was allegedly King cheating on her.
But this year it was the CIA that tweeted in remembrance of King with a simple graphic.
*Bill Maher music plays*
In a similar vein, the U.S. Marines tweeted in remembrance of King, in the great tradition of taking his quotes out of context for purposes he would have absolutely hated.
King may have indeed said that, but he probably wasn’t referring to dying for the U.S. military—as a proponent of non-violence, he wasn’t a big fan of the military-industrial complex. King spent the last few years of his life as a staunch opponent of the Vietnam War and American imperialism, something that even many on the left weren’t yet onboard with at the time of his famous anti-Vietnam speech in 1967.
The U.S. Air Force also got in on the game, using what appears to be the Lion King font in their tweet, which also includes a word cloud of concepts vaguely related to King. Very cool.
We’ve now reached perhaps the most despicable category of MLK Day tweets: those by white racists who not only would have hated King while he was alive, but almost certainly still despise everything he stood for today.
Case in point:
We love the implication (made using a fake quote) that your own principled stand against uh, *checks notes* PEOPLE WHO THINK WHITE SUPREMACY IS BAD is equivalent to King’s selfless fight to end segregation and Jim Crow. Extremely cool. Please kill me.
Moving on, another contender in both the best Fake Quote and Racist Guy Pretending to Like MLK categories: the embattled Prime Minister of Israel and noted proponent of segregation, Benjamin Netanyahu!
This fake King quote is so well known that it has its own Wikipedia page. The supposed “Letter to an Anti-Zionist” first appeared in 1999, thirty years after King’s assassination. The basis of this fake letter may be the account of one Jewish author, who has written that at a dinner in 1967, King once reprimanded a student for making a sharply anti-Zionist comment, equating it to anti-Semitism. Whether that happened or not is anyone’s guess.
What we do know is that King welcomed the Jewish community into the his movement—quite a few Jews participated in his efforts to end segregation. But King didn’t often mention U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, so any views on Israel attributed to him are almost certainly bullshit.
Finally, closing out the racist category: you know what MLK really loved? Cops. Especially cops who instituted racist stop and frisk policies and oversaw the killing of unarmed black men like Eric Garner.
Last but not least, the National Rifle Association decided to get in on the game, honoring a guy who was a FUCKING PACIFIST WHO BELIEVED IN NON-VIOLENCE.
Thanks NRA. We look forward to your retroactive defense of every black man who has died at the hands of the police for touching anything that vaguely looks like a weapon!
How did MLK Jr. feel about football? Would he appreciate the National Football League’s blackballing of Colin Kaepernick, and their insistence that their black players not kneel during the national anthem (no)?
(It does, we should note, seem appropriate that the NFL’s tribute to King consists of appropriating black football players words without compensation.)
The NFL wasn’t the only one to get in on the MLKFest. Would King have supported the XFL’s “reimagin[ing] football for a revolutionary fan experience”?! Whatever the answer, it didn’t stop them from using his words as a branding exercise.
And then... there’s this, which appears to be a photoshopped image of King wearing a wide receiver’s glove.
Next up, whatever this is:
Yum! Brands is the parent company of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC. Three organizations fighting, like King did, to make the world a better place for people who want to Live Mas.
Hey remember last year when Starbucks had to shut down every store in the country to hold racial bias training?
So, on the subject of brands, what does Twitter, the company that has spawned this hell for all of us, have to say for itself?
We dream of the day that @jack will finally ban Nazis from his platform.
Finally, this parody post (?) , presented without comment:
In conclusion: never tweet.