The New Public Embarrassment


Take a moment to reflect on all your hard work – you’ve had this job for about a year and a half, and now you want nothing more than to impress your boss and get that promotion.

Oh, one more thing I want you to reflect on – do you remember what happened two years ago, at Helena’s bachelorette party in Vegas? Hopefully you’re aware that the quote, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” has been misinterpreted since social media came along…. Just so you’re aware – your boss knows about that Vegas trip after looking you up. We all make choices we try to forget and I totally get that! But you should really be aware of what’s out on the internet about yourself, just in case it comes up when you ask about that promotion.

The future is going to be a weird place for us as millennials, and we’re the ones who made it weird. We’ve been leaving a trail of embarrassing videos, images, and status update/rants behind us as we merrily skipped our way into adulthood, not realizing that we’ve been setting bear traps of embarrassment for our future selves.

Thankfully, a lot of the stuff will be dumb and not truly scandalous – the equivalent of a late-night talk show host showing a clip from a commercial for gonorrhea medicine that an actor was in when they started out. But multiply that by every Tweet we’ve sent, every Instagram picture posted, every failed attempt at YouTube stardom, and every Vine that will soon loop back into our lives. This is more than an embarrassing childhood picture; this is concrete evidence undermining the character of the serious adults we’re trying to portray. We willingly gave the world the ammunition to retroactively turn us into the next Star Wars Kid.

Things get worse if you’re in the political field. Do you remember when the Democrats were hoping to win the traditionally Republican-held seat by putting all of their faith in a 30-year-old political newbie named Jon Ossoff? Of course, that’s going to piss off the Repubs, right? And that fueled a Republican super PAC into releasing an anti-Ossoff attack ad.

The best opposition research the super PAC could scrounge up was a video of Ossoff playing Han Solo and possibly Darth Vader in a Star Wars homage he shot with his frat buddies, as well as footage of Ossoff singing in a college a cappella group. There were no racial slurs, mocks at physically disabled people, and he never once bragged about sexually assaulting a woman – because we all know how much we have to hear about that every time Fox News is on. It’s just him being your average college-aged doofus.

This ad scrapes the very bottom of the barrel in terms of what it expects voters to throw a fit over. But it does say a lot about the kind of very stupid struggles millennials are going to be facing in the future as we start moving up into positions of power while attempting to flee the evidence of the dorky shenanigans we willingly posted on the internet in our youth. The outing of a political figure’s trivial internet fun will become the norm.

And it’s going to just be amazing.

This means that in our lifetime, we’ll be questioning the mental health of our future politicians when their competitor resurrects pics of them on Facebook planking, or pouring huge buckets of ice cold water over their heads.

Internet trolls will be digging even deeper in the wastelands of every social media site to uncover the long-abandoned accounts filled of regret.

All we can hope for is that our years of living our most awkward moments out loud will even the playing field.

But none of that’s going to happen. So, prepare yourselves for the fun, because millennial political candidates are on their way – and they have no idea they’re dragging their all-caps Facebook rants and Game of Thrones fan-fiction along with them.

Now I just want to know what people will find about me when I’m successful?

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