State of the Internet: Pretentious Bullshit
You may have seen this picture floating around on the internet. It was posted to Imgur, then Reddit, and soon the comments behind the picture surfaced when The Huffington Post hosted their fluff article in late November.
“According to the title, two North Carolina State University football players sat with a student who was eating alone during lunch,” claims The Huffington Post. The article has such tags as Faith Restored, NCSU Players Lunch, and North Carolina Football Players. If you haven’t noticed yet, the person pictured left in the photo is in a wheelchair.
An article on Arizona Sports goes to say further, “This simple act flies in the face of decades of stereotypical isolation disabled students face and the idea that athletes would just as soon mock and ridicule a peer in a wheelchair than actually get to know him.” The article then lists several of the comments associated with the photo:
“Our team may be having a rough season, but damn this makes me proud of my school.”
“Serious faith in humanity here. So glad to see some good guys defying the stereotypical football player’s role.”
“I’m a Heels fan all the way, but I gotta admit NC State players are pretty nice.”
Everyone gets to smile and pat themselves on the back for recognizing human kindness, talk about how great these football players are, and say things like “It goes to show you, a simple gesture goes a long way!” Which I guess would be nice, the idea that two football players would notice a lonely disabled person and decide to provide them charity of their attention. And obviously that’s the only logical reason anyone would sit at the same table as a student in a wheelchair. At least to the internet.
Except that the whole story is bullshit.
So what was going on in that photo? The truth is these guys apparently each lunch together all the time. You know, because they’re friends. So there they are having a regular lunch together, as friends, when a passerby snaps a photo of what obviously is anything but, because c’mon that guy is totally in a wheelchair! Look how “inspiring” that is!
The really disgusting thing about the reaction is that these assumptions are all based on the premise that this is not normal behavior. Which is why the honest truth ended up so much better than any made-up pretentious bullshit.
ABC news got hold of the real “story” behind the photo:
“It turns out that graduate student tight end Asa Watson has been friends with Will Spence, the student in a wheelchair, for quite some time. In reality, it is just a normal lunch for Watson and Spence, and freshman center Cole Blankenship.”
They weren’t even aware there was a photo being taken.
Of course, this version isn’t “inspiring” enough for people, so ABC goes on to list other good deeds Watson is known for. Because “even though it’s not the story you may have understood it to be, there’s still something to smile about.”
Bullshit, this is not a consolation prize. This is a photo of a normal friendship.
That’s the most awesome version of the story.