GOOD

It’s the biggest charitable campaign of the year that’s doesn’t really exist.


Say hello to #ThanksBilly, the Twitter stunt throwing unflattering light on the guy across the microphone when Trump got up close and personal with his thoughts on grabbing genitals. Today outcast Billy Bush, who resigned in the kind of disgrace that comes with an eight-figure severance package, isn’t planning on giving that money away. So Twitter users have taken it upon themselves to do it for him, virtually, cranking out memes of an Earth-2 Billy announcing his big gift and praising him for doing the right thing.

This being the internet, some people quickly succumbed to their own hopes and mistook #ThanksBilly for the real thing. It was a relatively easy mistake to make, given how ugly Twitter can get, even when mobs aim their vitriol at truly guilty parties. Despite the company’s struggles to manage its troll problem and sustain user growth, #ThanksBilly seems to have actually fostered an organic, constructive innovation where it’s most needed—organizing insta-mockery through deeply satirical but basically positive remarks. There’s something refreshing about watching a social media pile-on that (metaphorically) kills its target with (pretend) kindness, rather than sucking people into another round of ALL CAPS CONDEMNATION.

Still, if Bush doesn’t take advantage of this opportunity to rehabilitate his reputation on some level, we can all probably expect a fresh wave of genuine outrage with some good reason behind it. It’s little surprise that Americans’ basket of deplorables tends to include those who act ungenerously but expect generosity in return.

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