Has a news story ever made you extremely happy, at first, and then extremely salty by the time you finished reading it? Like putting a spoonful of lime sherbet in your mouth, only to realize it’s actually wasabi? I’m asking to make sure I’m not alone, because that happened to me twice last week.
First time was upon hearing the news that Sanaa Lathan had a new boyfriend. I don’t know Sanaa Lathan, but she’s gorgeous and she plays likable characters in movies, and she looks like she smells like Jergens cherry-almond bar soap, so that means she must be nice in real life. So I was happy for her. Until I kept reading and saw that the new dude was French Montana. Which made me kinda salty. Because although Mr. Montana might be a swell guy in private, his not-so-swell public persona made me think Lathan was basically announcing, “This could be us, but you playing” to everyone who didn’t realize she was on the market.
The second time it happened, though, was even more drastic. I went from thinking I’d just heard the best news I’d heard all month—all year, even—to “This is some bulls—t, man.” Last week, news surfaced that Facebook would be debuting a dislike button. Which literally would have been the best thing since sliced bread. Better, even. Because if you gave me a choice between a loaf of sliced bread and the opportunity to dislike all of the passive-aggressive statuses, inane memes and sociopathic replies found daily on Facebook, bitch-ass sliced bread wouldn’t have a chance. Maybe if the sliced bread was French bread with maple syrup and Trader Joe’s turkey bacon.
But even then, all the fun I’d have disliking …
1. Your Hotep cousins who regularly substitute “female” for “woman” when they’re referring to women.
2. Your Instagram-model friends who take 32,600 selfies a day … and all from the exact-same angle.
3. The ridiculous relationship-advice memes with phrases like, “I’d rather be a side chick to a loyal n—ga than a main chick to a cheater,” and “At least Ms. Piggy had a ring. Where’s yours?”
4. The “This is why black people will never rise” Uncle Ruckus-ass black people who believe Every. Single. Thing. that happens is another sign that black people are pathologically immoral.
5. The foodies posting pics of soggy potato salad and crunchy pancakes and dyslexic mac and cheese and other “foods” a raccoon wouldn’t even eat.
… would be enough for me to pass on the French toast. (Not the bacon, though. You’re not taking my bacon.)
I’d be handing out dislikes like free samples at Costco. I’d have dislikes in bulk. I’d have an entire aisle of half-off dislikes. Clearance dislikes. Out-of-season dislikes. Irregular-fit dislikes. Returned dislikes. Lightly worn dislikes. A recycle bin for dislikes. I’d have Groupon deals so you could get some cheap dislikes, too.
But then I kept reading, and saw that the proposed dislike button wasn’t actually so you could let your petty-flag fly. It’s for those awkward times when you read a sad news story or status and you want to provide support but “liking” it wouldn’t be appropriate. Basically, it’s Facebook’s version of every Fisher-Price inspirational message that’s been shared and liked 169 million times before it limps its way across your timeline. You know what I’m talking about. It’s usually some picture of a sunset or some kittens or a single raindrop falling into a puddle with the words “If you fall, get back up. Because standing is easier than sitting” printed over the page. This is what the Facebook dislike button would be.
I “dislike” those things with a passion, and I’m sure I’ll “dislike” the dislike button even more.
Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VerySmartBrothas.com. He is also a contributing editor at Ebony.com. He lives in Pittsburgh and he really likes pancakes. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.