Hell hath no fury like a smartphone-toting, partially informed One Directioner.
Friday morning, the hashtag #TheDailyShowGoneTooFar became the trending topic on Twitter, as fans of the fresh faced boy band began a viral campaign in response to a segment The Daily Show aired on Tuesday. This outpouring of anger was heavily lacking in reason, spellcheck, and timeliness. (Shout-out to the single One Directioner who is also a fan of political commentary and mainstream media satire—without your varied and incongruous interests, your fellow fandom members would never have known to be offended.)
For starters, the "controversy" swells around the belief that The Daily Show called Zayn Malik a terrorist, due to his Muslim faith and Pakistani heritage.
This statement, like "Up All Night is the Abbey Road of our generation" or "Harry Styles is my literal boyfriend," joins the pantheon of deeply held One Directioner beliefs that are inherently false. In fact, the segment centered around the rapid-fire creation of various fake terrorist groups; at one point, correspondent Jessica Williams jokes, "Just as you were talking, a new terrorist group formed, with one member each from ISIS, al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, One Direction, and the Zetas drug cartel."
I won't spend too much time trying to explain why casually throwing a high-powered boy band into a litany of known terrorist sects is humorous, since dissecting any joke automatically makes it horrible and, obviously, The Daily Show is meant to be funny.
Clearly, the resulting worldwide *angry face emoji* epidemic is little more than the manipulation and de-contextualization of a series of words and actions, over-exaggerated and falsified in order to manufacture righteous anger and calls for retribution from a group of serious devotees. Sound familiar?
Without further ado, we present the ways in which the One Direction fandom actually does resemble a terrorist sect, or at the very least a potentially violent cult helmed, naturally, by some longhaired, emaciated, charismatic, acoustic-guitar playing leaders.
Deification of heroes/role models/leaders:
Concealment of true identity in public missives:
You can't underestimate the intelligence of an operative like "d loves h" (if that's even your REAL name)—incorporating emojis into a Twitter handle is Wikileaks-level tech savvy.
Tenuous hold on reality:
The best thing about the fandom cries for The Daily Show's "suspension" is that it literally applies the language of middle and high school infractions to a legitimate TV show. #Detention4JessicaWilliams and #NoVideoGames4JonStewart can't be far behind.
Visual and verbal propaganda:
Implied violence and intimidation:
Ok, so the threatened demise of a social media presence might be a bit of a stretch, but you get the point.
Being really mean and getting super personal:
Way harsh! Ageism is real, you guys #TheFandomGoneTooFar
The fandom's urge to protect the sensitive Malik, who temporarily shut down his Twitter in 2012 "after having enough of the abuse directed towards him" from racist and anti-Muslim trolls, is sweet and well meaning. But pretending The Daily Show singled Malik out on account of his faith so you can start a trending hashtag and make some new Zayn pic stitches is a bold move towards crazy town.
Here's hoping this highly reactive sect of the fandom community can come to their senses and back off before their parents make them shut down their inflammatory Twitter accounts. Until then, we can't wait to see how Stewart and Co. respond to this backlash—that is, if they even deign to negotiate with terrorists.