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Internet memes: Don't let your child become an hero

Updated on February 18, 2009

Mitchell Henderson. The first an hero

Somebody took a picture of their ipod on Mitchell's grave and sent it to his parents
Somebody took a picture of their ipod on Mitchell's grave and sent it to his parents

Story of an hero

 An hero, (and that’s not a typo) is a new meme that’s quickly becoming a regular part of internet vocabulary. An hero means to commit suicide over something trivial. It can be used as a verb ie. I’m going to an hero myself in the bathroom with a toaster. Or it can be used as a noun. The wrestler, Chris Benoit became an hero when he killed his wife and child (reportedly because of the mood-altering affects of illegal steroids).

The an hero meme got its start when a young seventh grader from Minnesota, Mitchell Henderson shot himself for (allegedly) losing his ipod. Some say bullying was a factor, but when the internet found out Mitchell had lost his ipod earlier, they latched onto this as the reason and began to make fun of him for it. The situation was exasperated when friends and family left heartwarming, yet terribly misspelled messages on Mitchell’s myspace. One person famously saying Mitchell was

“such an hero, to take it all away. We miss him so, That you should know, And we honor him this day. He was an hero, to take that shot, to leave us all behind.” It was from this that the an hero meme began spreading around internet messageboards.

Later on, hackers, eager to find knew ways of getting laughter out of the Mitchell Henderson phenomenon, later unearthed his family’s residence and phone number and began prank-calling his parents with messages about found ipods. They also broke into his myspace and began posting hateful messages and disgusting images. Some kids even made a video reenactment of the mitchell henderson story showing a bully smashing mitchell's ipod then mitchell leaving to a closed room followed by a gunshot.

Tormenting the survivors of Mitchell’s suicide became a game.

These days, trolls have moved on, Mitchell’s friends and family have been left in peace, but many people everyday can suddenly find themselves becoming an heroes for, in their grief, committing suicide over silly reasons.

Meme Crossovers
Meme Crossovers

4chan trolls fox news with an hero

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    • profile image

      HURRDURR4CHANISMYFRIENDS 

      7 years ago

      4chan is a website where average people go to waste their time on some of it is harmless and some of it is extremely wrong. it is true that the permissiviness of 4chan debases people though. for example read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedobear and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4chan#.2Fb.2F they make jokes about peadophiles because there really is peadophiles on 4chan. This might have seemed funny for the prankers but it certainly wasn't for a family grieving for their child which had commited suicide. Its terrible to lose your child this young and especially through suicide. if you want to troll do it so it doesn't cause geniune harm.

    • profile image

      Blah 

      7 years ago

      While I get what you mean by it being disgusting conduct yadda yadda, it still has to be taken into account the power that that place has on you. (if you don't know what I'm talking about you don't deserve to) it's like you become part of the hivemind and things that would usually be uttlery deplorable acts become the funniest thing on earth. Because of that place I can see a picture of a corpse with all it's limbs hacked off and not bat an eyelash, I even laugh when a post that started off as a request for pornography devolves into the racist slur "nigger" being repeated over and over again.

      And to be honest I would not have it any other way. Long live the internet and long live memes.

    • profile image

      this is false 

      7 years ago

      an hero is to kill oneself over a live feed

      Kevin Whitrick was the first

    • profile image

      4Chan=losers 

      7 years ago

      Wow, this is just sad. I have to say the more "memes" I hear of, the more I find out on how 4chan and some of the people that use it are losers. This is just sick, and the people that found this funny obviously have something wrong with themselves. I'm sure they are specifically social rejects who sit on the computer all day, and try to make their sad and pathetic selves feel better, by doing things like this. Some people....I tell you....

    • profile image

      Default 

      7 years ago

      dont go anhero yourself for posting this whole message of a "AN HERO"... Looks like we fing KNEW (not NEW) ways to have fun... "Later on, hackers, eager to find knew ways of getting laughter out of the Mitchell Henderson phenomenon" you just became a meme chop

    • profile image

      4chan 

      7 years ago

      trololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololo

    • profile image

      C Mongler 

      7 years ago

      i lol'd

    • profile image

      Rinchan 

      7 years ago

      Boohoo? But he will always be an hero to me, I can't imagine the countless moments I could have spent searching the net aimlessly with nothing good to laugh at if it weren't for him.

    • profile image

      Angelus_Obscurum 

      8 years ago

      freaking hilarious!

    • profile image

      Landwand 

      8 years ago

      I laughed hard.

    • profile image

      Anonymous 

      8 years ago

      "Seems to me this behavior (hub,now) goes beyond the normal cruelty of boys. This is cruel beyond pulling the wings off of flies. This behavoir is in the realm of Dahmer as a boy, devising new ways to kill animals and then people. It is hate-filled, venom-spit. I can picture them admiring their photo of an ipod on the tombstone, patting each other on the back for their cleverness. It makes my blood boil and saddens me. To a lesser degree, it's the same with Boxxy. What business is it of these people who hate things? It's reminiscent of early societies and land control and domination. They think the internet is for their benefit and that they are the abiters of what is allowed to become popular (in Boxxy's case) and there are no societal rules for them on the internet since they own it (in an hero's case). But notice too that they are spilling out into the "real" world."

      Christopher, I don't think you're looking at it from the right perspective.

      I saw the an hero meme when it was first invented – I was in the thread when someone posted the myspace page and suddenly, it was all over 4chan. I saw the photos and the aftermath as they unfolded.

      On the internet, it's not about territory, or feeling good about yourself, in-fact, it's not about egoism at all. It's the exact opposite. On 4chan, no one has an ego. No one has any identity (well, almost no one, moot and some tripfags used to). Because of this, people act without any personality – there are no set behaviors or things to follow. Few habits are formed, people just act haphazardly and with little reason.

      While I'm sure these people felt good doing what they did, laughing it up as it happened, they didn't do it to achieve any goal of furthering their ego, to them it was something cathartic, a laugh to share with unknown people just like them.

      It doesn't change that it was cruel, but the reasons are not so easy to clarify.

    • profile image

      londonafter 

      8 years ago

      So tasteless, making fun of aobviously depressed child...

    • profile image

      4chanpwns 

      8 years ago

      All you wussfags should appreciate what the internet has brought. This was one of the greatest memes of all time, and I wish there were more like it.

    • profile image

      MCswammer 

      9 years ago

      OMG. These people are so fu**in terrible. How can they just go and make fun of this young boy like that. That is wrong and anyone who makes fun of this can go to hell.

    • profile image

      9 years ago

      Sometimes I wish the internet could be forever locked down. It's far too powerful a technology mankind is not yet ready to use. As can be seen through the countless stories like this.

    • FreezepopMorality profile imageAUTHOR

      FreezepopMorality 

      9 years ago

      That's the point, right? All this craziness got started because a bunch of kids, in their grief misspelled a hero, "an hero" and the internet latched onto it as something funny and repeated the mistake. eventually redefining the word.

      And an internet meme is a unit of culture that gets rapidly spread across large populations. So an hero is sort of like a catchphrase or a buzz word.

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 

      9 years ago from Northern California

      This is a crazy story! Why do you keep saying "an hero"? ... Shouldn't it be "a hero"? Also, what's a "meme"?

    • MarikaGnize profile image

      MarikaGnize 

      9 years ago

      ...I mean...I really don'T know what to say...I knew kids could be mean but that's over the edge...in a very negative way that is... I was picked on in lil school and highschool... memories worth not thinking about...but I realize some have it worst than I did and stories like this one make me real sad...I will do all in my power to raise respectful children that's for sure,

      Peace to all of you,

      Marika Be

    • FreezepopMorality profile imageAUTHOR

      FreezepopMorality 

      9 years ago

      Whew, lots of comments. Yes, all of you are right on all accounts. It's a horrible story, and, to be honest, it's really only one of a hundred accounts just like it that I could cite you. The deep anonymous belly of the internet is awful, yes, but, and I'm playing the devil's advocate here, I understand where it comes from.

      These people who do these things are normal in real life, and for the most part, oppressed in the real world. They're nerds. They're picked on in school, shunned by girls, working dead-end, hopeless jobs. Picking on the foibles and weaknesses of others is undoubtedly evil and cowardly, but for these people who can't stand up for themselves in real life, its the best they can do. Whether a bully that makes fun of a tragically pointless suicide is more or less worse than a bully that punches you in the face, I can't really say. But I worry this article is turning into an alarmist post, when really its just information for your information. Not all of the internet is evil, please keep that in mind.

      Nice blog article. Christoph. I've never had a blog myself, always thought about it but never got around to it.

    • MellasViews profile image

      MellasViews 

      9 years ago from Earth

      Man, what a horrible thing to read about. I didn't hear about this case, but honestly it does not shock me. Some people are just so disgusting.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 

      9 years ago from St. Louis

      Oh, MM, I love that: The (un)brave new world! Consider it stolen!

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Total bewilderment and dismay. That's my reaction to this phenom. We've always had cruel, sick, evil people in the world. But it seems the internet is creating an army of cyber-cretons who can hide behind anonymity to torture others. I agree with what's been said above. In "real life" we at least have a shot at finding out who is doing this and punishing them. This (un)brave new world is too vast. Bullies can breed and hide anywhere.

      Reminds me a little bit of the wild west. But makes the lawlessness of the wild west look tame and mature in comparison.

      Thanks for opening my eyes. I think I want to close them again! MM

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 

      9 years ago from St. Louis

      Oooops. That should have read: thecrustycurmudgeon.wordpress.com

    • Elena. profile image

      Elena. 

      9 years ago from Madrid

      Jesus Christ on a floating raft!  This is beyond cruel --I've heard net stories but I think this takes the lead in absurdity and cruelty.  An hero, indeed.

      I think you're totally right in saying the internet is its own country with its own language.  "In real life" we can put a face and point a finger to trolls, but the anonymity of this medium.... well it just lends itself to much disgusting conducts.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 

      9 years ago from St. Louis

      FYI, I published my blog tonight and stole shamelessly from you and the comments I have made here, BUT I gave you oodles of credit and linked to this hub and promoted some of your other ones. See it at thecrustycurmudgeon/wordpress.com . I would have posted a live link, but it seems a little self-serving (and believe me, I have helped myself to enough of your stuff tonight already!)

    • FreezepopMorality profile imageAUTHOR

      FreezepopMorality 

      9 years ago

      That's interesting, in one of these other comments I said the internet is like its own country with a separate language, culture etc. And it seems truer and truer.

      And in this new internet country, there are no rules. It's anarchy. All movies, books are free to download. All sexual fetishes/orientations are accepted/tolerated and everyone is fair game in the quest for entertainment, cruel or otherwise. So your comment makes perfect sense.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 

      9 years ago from St. Louis

      Re:  Avatar.  Looks like a little box-boy ran away from home and now regrets his impulsive decision.  "Where's Box-mommy."

      Seems to me this behavior (hub,now) goes beyond the normal cruelty of boys.  This is cruel beyond pulling the wings off of flies.  This behavoir is in the realm of Dahmer as a boy, devising new ways to kill animals and then people.  It is hate-filled, venom-spit.  I can picture them admiring their photo of an ipod on the tombstone, patting each other on the back for their cleverness.  It makes my blood boil and saddens me.  To a lesser degree, it's the same  with Boxxy.  What business is it of these people who hate things?  It's reminiscent of early societies and land control and domination.  They think the internet is for their benefit and that they are the abiters of what is allowed to become popular (in Boxxy's case) and there are no societal rules for them on the internet since they own it (in an hero's case).  But notice too that they are spilling out into the "real" world.

      It's disturbing.  Thanks for writing about it and informing me.

       

    • FreezepopMorality profile imageAUTHOR

      FreezepopMorality 

      9 years ago

      Yep, you're right on the money. Boys are cruel. Internet boys are no exception.

      Re my avatar: Am I the only one that gets nostalgic for science fiction? And as for home, I, for all intents and purpose, live in rain, so anything rainy immediately makes me feel at home.

    • Teresa McGurk profile image

      Sheila 

      9 years ago from The Other Bangor

      Dang. rat*&^% kids are everywhere, I suppose.

      Re your avatar -- home and science fiction?

    • FreezepopMorality profile imageAUTHOR

      FreezepopMorality 

      9 years ago

      Thanks, I can't remember where I found, but its always stuck with me. It reminds me of home and science fiction.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 

      9 years ago from St. Louis

      God. These kids are so mean. Ditto previous messages. Love your avatar, by the way.

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