On Sunday, the U.S. Women's Soccer team beat Japan 5-2 in the World Cup, rousing millions of cheers around the country — and the world, for that matter. Unsurprisingly, it didn't take long for news of the victory to win Twitter, too, with talk of the World Cup nabbing the top trending spot for hours. But what with the Internet being... well, the Internet, all of that amazingly positive energy soon took an unfortunate turn for the worst. That's when tweets started rolling in calling the World Cup "revenge" for Pearl Harbor — creating a Twitter trend that immediately caught on like wildfire. (Yep, this is the world we're living in, folks.)
Earlier in the night, there were tons of benign game-related hashtags that started trending — like #USAvJPN and #USWNT... you know, normal stuff. "4 goals in 16 minutes," read one tweet by Sports Illustrated senior writer Grant Wahl. "Most incredible half of soccer I’ve ever seen a US team play. Just enough of a heartbeat in JPN yet." But among the many good-spirited tweets, some truly disturbing ones started cropping up, too. The craziest of them all, of course, were the World Cup/World War II comparisons.
And I don't just mean there were a few World Cup/World War II comparisons, either. There were tons. So much so, that the tweets started trending, creating a firestorm of conversation throughout the night. Here's just a sampling of the nasty tweets that have been sent out into the Twitterverse since last night:
This tweet, for example, has over 10,000 retweets and 16,000 favorites.
Now, it doesn't take a history buff to know why comparing a soccer game to a deadly bombing is totally uncool. But in case you (like me) were prone to falling asleep during high school American history class, here's the Cliff's Notes version of exactly why the recent comparisons are all sorts of effed up: the 1941 Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base Pearl Harbor led to thousands of deaths, and in turn, millions more, since it caused the U.S. to enter World War II in the first place. So yea, perhaps not the best move, Twitter? As for the tweeters who called the game "revenge" for Pearl Harbor... there are some pretty problematic parts of that (to say the lease). The U.S. bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, killing 80,000 people — not to mention polluting the city with radiation? The reasoning behind it all (in case you're scratching your head as much as I was on this one) Americans on Twitter actually called the U.S. win "revenge" for the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor among other upsetting, racist comments. (Yea — seriously.)
Sigh. And just when I thought things were lookin' up here, America. (Gay marriage is legal! We've got a woman running for Prez!) But this kind of stuff... well, it can't help but make you shake your head. Of course, there were people on Twitter that somewhat restored my faith in humanity, tweeting witty retorts to the Pearl Harbor comments that called out the ridiculousness of them.
But my personal favorite response by far? That would be this one:
Tacky for sure. (Not to mention racist and offensive.) Yep; even in dark times, School of Rock always gets me...