Something about the way the internet disperses information has made us meaner, or at least, it has made our capacity for meanness more obvious.
When I first heard the reports on Tuesday that Angelina Jolie had filed for divorce from Brad Pitt, my first instinct, like many people on the internet, was to look for a joke in the form of a tweet ― a quip that could be liked and shared.
I would feel more embarrassed to admit that, except I am so far from alone. Within seconds of the news breaking on TMZ, “Brangelina” jokes were coming fast and furious, complete with Jennifer Aniston GIFs meant to connote something along the lines of “I told you so.” People practiced their puns in real time, screamed in all-caps, and fought to become the tweet that came out on top.
But there’s another, more simple way to look at this: Two adults with six children just split up. And those children will have to deal with the pain that comes along with divorce for years. I have never had to live through that ― my parents are still together ― but by talking to so many of my friends who have, I understand how painful divorce can be for children of any age, but particularly young children.
Divorce is sad, not funny, especially when children are involved. I’m not trying to make anyone feel guilty right now about their jokes. I just wish I hadn’t felt the need to make them, as well. That’s all I have by way of hot takes right now. Sorry.