Slacktory

Brad O'Farrell and the Count to Potato Girl

This morning I posted this image on my Tumblr:

With the caption:

OH NO, THE JIG IS UP, EVERYONE SCRAM!
*Entire internet replaced with millions of spinning chairs*

Apparently, I was the first person to post this to a static location online. It was sent to me over IM by someone who got it off of 4chan, where it was leaked a few hours before going up in a Sun article about the “I can count to potato” meme.

Within a few hours it got over 2,000 notes, and suddenly people who knew the girl in real life started sending me messages about how I was a monster.

I don’t think they understand. I did not start this meme. I have started memes, but not this one. (Know Your Meme traces it back to a 2009 FunnyJunk post). Also, I didn’t actually post an “I can count to potato” image macro, I posted a picture of the girl and her mother frowning about its existence. With a caption implying shame by association.

I do feel sympathy for this girl and her mother, and (less so) for this girl’s friends who are sending me messages on Tumblr. But they need to understand that this is how the Internet works. Some of the lines from this Sun article are so ridiculous.

She said pages carrying Heidi’s image are still active despite Liz reporting the problem TWO WEEKS ago.

She said: “It’s almost like Faceless rather than Facebook, we have been repeatedly trying to take these distressing sites down and I have not once had a direct response.

C’mon, man. Someone at the Sun is responsible for all these “interview with a trolling victim” articles.  And you’d think that person would have the decency to explain to these interviewees that you can’t stop a joke. Or at least to tell them that it’s been out there for years, on FunnyJunk, Reddit, 4chan, Tumblr and elsewhere.

You can’t “take down” a meme. Even if it were legally possible, it’s not technologically feasible. We have ironic pedophilia memes for fuck’s sake. Once it’s out there, it’s out there. Fighting against it’s just going to give you grief.

The only right way to deal with trolling is to just accept that the world is an awful place and try not to work past it. You can’t win. When you fight against trolls, you’re just creating more content for trolls. This picture has been up for only a few hours, and I bet the girl’s mom has already become a meme in her own right.

Actually, let me google that.

Yup.

See also: Josh Fonner writes to Heidi from “I can count to potato” about dealing with hateful memes.

  • http://twitter.com/TylerScruggs Tyler Scruggs

    I laughed a little too hard at the Politically Correct Mother meme….. 

    But yeah, there is no way to stop this and fighting it will only make it worse.

  • http://twitter.com/realcinch Neal Lynch

    yeah, i get that you didn’t start the meme just like billy joel didn’t start the fire, but at some point you have to use your f*cking brain and realize sh*t’s wrong. just because you didn’t start it doesn’t make it right to pass it along. sure, others will but that doesn’t make it right. PC mom is hilar, though. continue that.

    • JustSomeDude

       Even if he NEVER posted the meme itself,thats just a drop in the bucket compared to the people between just Reddit and 4chan that do….not to mention the rest of the internet… grow up and learn to take a joke in context, and learn how the internet really works before you come in here white knighting.

      • she cannot win

         +1

    • Finitesunrise

      So it’s okay to make fun of the PC mom but not the daughter? I’m just trying to understand the logic there because I don’t think the mom particularly wanted a meme made about her either.
      I understand they’re at different magnitudes and that one is about a disability and the other is about an attitude, but it’s kind of ridiculous to call out one meme while laughing at another. They’re both technically making fun of someone for who they are.

    • http://toomuchnick.com Anonymous

      Isn’t it still rather bullying to mock this mother? Her only fault is ignorance, ignorance that the Sun knowingly exploited for a hot story that they knew would only bring more mockery upon this poor woman.

  • she cannot win

    What this mother doesn’t understand is why her daughter. But the thing is, it is not about her. and it is actually crazy that she makes it public, now everybody knows what she looks like today, worldwide. She should just make it as quiet as possible, and understand that it could be any other person.
    Tough luck, it sucks, but she cannot win this one. Except by doing it the right way, Internet way. She can turn this meme into something positive. It has precedents.

    • miey

      Agree!

  • Anonymous

    What really bugs me is the people going ‘We’re going to take legal action’ – Against who? For what, liable? Yes, you can can sue someone for liable but the burden of proof is on whomever is filing the suit. They’d have to track the person down who made the first image AND prove that they were releasing it with malicious intent. 

    Is it an insensitive meme? Probably. Do they have a legal leg to stand on? Absolutely not. Should the mother have gone on television calling attention to her child that she doesn’t want attention on? Definitely absolutely not. 

    • Anon

      It’s actually “libel”, and you’re correct. 

  • Noah

    This issue wasn’t about the woman’s daughter being funny. The caption on the original meme made fun of and trivialized her daughter’s likeness and struggles. Regardless of it being impossible to contain these kinds of jokes, you still contributed to it instead of condemning it.

    • http://toomuchnick.com Anonymous

      From our article:

      “Someone at the Sun is responsible for all these ‘interview with a trolling victim’ articles.  And you’d think that person would have the decency to explain to these interviewees that you can’t stop a joke.”

      We roundly condemn the Sun for perpetuating this meme. There will always be assholes on the internet; that can’t be stopped. What can be stopped is professionals behaving just as badly.

      • Jdoncbus

        So it’s A-OK because some people are not “professionals?” Further proof of the lack of accountability in society…sad. 

  • Root

    A few hours before? I am sure it has been around for a lot longer than that.

  • http://twitter.com/Anthagiox Anthony | Lady Gaga

    If you want people to accept people with Down’s and treat them like normal people, you cannot get mad when they get made fun of LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE. The meme is an Internet joke and thousands of people have fallen “victim” to the Internet. You have to laugh and move because no one is really taking it THAT seriously.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002144347223 Tyler Scott

    She’s just jealous that I can count to cantaloupe and she can’t.

    • Shaun Millsom isa witty cunt.

      Well I can get all the way to rockmelon, hopefully one day I can count to fruit:D.

  • Myst1cang3l37

    that is just hateful

  • Anonymous

    cool.

  • Trololololololol

    Can I learn Potato speak?

  • Downstraight

    I’ve downs…madero laugh to see someone making light of the condition. ADHD people get made fun of too and the retarded. Get over it lady. I wish I could count to potato! I always get stuck at corn and squash tho

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