Jeffrey Epstein Memes Have Somehow Permeated Dating Apps

Jeffrey Epstein Memes Have Somehow Permeated Dating Apps

If you’ve used a dating app for a sustained period of time, you’ve surely developed a set of deal breakers. I, being anti-fun, am firmly against any bio that starts with “take me on an adventure!” or “give me travel tips for Patagonia!” Pamela*, a 26-year-old woman from Los Angeles, has three deal breakers of her own: the presence of an acoustic guitar in photos, any professional involvement in real estate, and, most recently, the invocation of Jeffrey Epstein. “I’ve seen such weird things on Hinge, like a man who was wielding a hatchet in his first profile picture, and separately, a guy who spells his name Chazz, and both of those gave me less pause than the Jeffrey Epstein thing,” she says.

Hinge, Pamela’s dating app of choice, allows users to respond to three prewritten “prompts” to give suitors some easy conversation starters. Says Pamela: “The first time I saw the did Jeffrey Epstein really kill himself? prompt, I was like, ‘Why am I having this negative of a reaction to something so stupid?’ I stayed on his profile for even longer, because it came out of nowhere, and I was so taken aback.” She chose not to send that man a message.

Epstein—a rapist and convicted pedophile—died in jail back in August, after he was arrested on new sex crime charges. His death was ruled a suicide by New York City Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson, but considering Epstein’s mysterious associations with the rich and powerful, including alleged sex criminals/U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, many have since speculated that foul play was afoot. Most notably, on November 2, former Navy Seal Mike Ritland appeared on the Fox News program Watters World, and apropos of nothing—in an unrelated segment about retired military dogs—Ritland told Watters, “Epstein didn’t kill himself.” In the blink of an eye, Epstein didn’t kill himself morphed into a morbid meme that’s manifested itself on social media, Christmas sweaters (not kidding), and yes, dating apps.

There are, of course, dating app trolls who’ve been getting off their Epstein jokes and memes simply because they think the jokes and memes are funny. The Venn diagram of those folks and the folks who plug their ears about the state of the world (it’s bad!) is one obnoxious circle. May they find each other on dating apps and live in undisturbed, ignorant bliss.

But there is also a group of people who—not unfairly—see Epstein theories as a political litmus test of sorts. No, it’s certainly not “political” to condemn a pedophile; it is, however, “political” to lump Epstein with only high-profile Republicans, or high-profile Democrats, rather than leaders from both major parties. There are also overtly “political” implications to the increasingly founded idea that “respectable” billionaires and well-known celebrities are caught up in this mess, too. When you take that into account, a question as insane-sounding as did Epstein kill himself? can actually have some use in determining how far someone is willing to go to hero-worship. At the very least, the Epstein prompt shows that you’re paying attention to one of the more consequential stories of our lifetime. Alex, a 30-year-old woman from Los Angeles, wrote to me about a guy she saw on Hinge who’d mentioned Epstein: “I guess it’s good to see he keeps up with current events.” She included an understandably perplexed emoji.

Jameson Rich, a 26-year-old writer based in New York City, recently came across a cute woman’s profile where she invited perusers to debate her about Epstein’s death. Jameson was intrigued. The current format of dating apps—and the bazillions of first dates they produce—doesn’t allow for a ton of wiggle room, personality-wise, but this hyper-specific prompt indicated…something. What, exactly, about the meme was she responding to? He decided to answer the woman’s prompt, the equivalent of “swiping right” on Hinge, asking who she thought was involved in Epstein’s death. (She, unfortunately, did not write back, because love is an illusion.)

“Hinge is supposed to be the app where you can delve into who people are a little bit more,” Jameson says. “But what I find ends up happening is people’s responses to the prompts are usually super boring. That question—’debate this topic’—nine out of 10 times, someone writes, like, ‘Parks and Rec is better than The Office.’ Her response was kind of interesting and intriguing.”

Source : Alex Shultz Link

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