October 11, 2013

The Saddest/Most Viral Shutdown Photos (Or: It's a Zoo Out There)

Because things are that crazy-competitive in the media space, I can’t tell if these sentimentalized BuzzFeed-style photo-posts about the shutdown reflect a larger sympathy or they’re just heartstring slingshots sourced by traditional media trolling the social media, and more properly categorized as click bait. Not lacking for hyperbole, The Atlantic Wire, a click-machine itself, has pronounced that: “This Sad Kid at the Zoo Is Now the Defining Image of the Shutdown.”

(Here’s another one chasing the format — I mean, what’s with the shrug? …And if this from WAPO packs a more serious punch, the horrible photo seems to also fits the genre. Otherwise yes, cancer’s not sentimental or funny.)

Certainly the Zoo picture is more warm-fuzzy and nostalgic (albeit, in a Hallmark way) than the vets storming through the lines (actually, through police yellow tape egged on by GOP Congress members) to get to the WWII Memorial. Parlaying the sign, the child and the fallen leaves into a sad little sandwich, it certainly has the brown tones, the Fall and Halloween covered.

But then, the real flaw with the concept? You could easily argue the Zoo in Washington is actually in full swing.

UPDATE: As WAPO finds the Mom who took the photo — or the Mom finds WAPO (“I know the sad kid at the Zoo“), I’d say the answer is: the slingshot.

Thanks to Bag contributor @KVAnderson for the weekend vigilance.

(photo: source credited to Reddit user Superbonnie. Update: photo by the father of the boy who’s a friend of the woman who wrote the sad kid piece at WAPO.)

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Michael Shaw
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