By: Jo Rochelle
Sunday evening, people all around America hunkered down in front of their TVs, computers, and other electronic devices to watch the second presidential debate. Mr. Donald J. Trump and Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke on a number of topics, including taxes, foreign policy, and scandal. Their goal? To win over undecided voters. This town hall style exchange on October 9, 2016 will forever go down in history as the day America’s hero emerged. The title belongs to neither candidate. Rather, it belongs to the hero we didn’t know we needed, the hero we’re never letting go: Red Sweater Man, Kenneth Bone of Illinois.
Thirty-four year old Bone, a family man who works in coal energy, was in the audience as an undecided voter. He rose from his seat in the audience like a phoenix from the ashes, asking both Trump and Clinton about their policy on efficient energy use. More important than any question he could have for the candidates, however, was what experts call the Bone Effect. With only a few words, he soothed the aching souls (and ears) of the debate watchers. Within only a few hours of displaying his superpower, Bone was an internet sensation. Memes flooded various social media sites such as the Ken Bone Halloween costume, complete with mustache and microphone.
A parody Twitter account, @TheKenBone, was created and gained more than 65,000 followers in a day. His personal account now has over 249,000 followers, a large jump from his previous seven. “I don’t know why they care what I have to say,” Bone told Carol Costello of CNN on Monday morning, “but I’m glad they’re engaged in the political process.”
Every superhero needs a super villain to complete their story, however, and on Thursday night, Red Sweater Man’s arch-nemesis was revealed to the public. The antagonist was neither a presidential candidate nor an interview gone awry. In this case, Bone’s adversary was his own Reddit handle. Bone agreed to do an Ask Me Anything on Reddit, allowing people to see his history and comments on the site. According to the Washington Post, some of Bone’s previously anonymous comments described forging car insurance documents and argued that Trayvon Martin’s death was “justified.” He has since gone on to clarify and apologize for his comments, especially those about Trayvon Martin.
Nevertheless, Kenneth Bone was revealed to be a human being with faults, something the Boneheads’ (what his fans were calling themselves) memes hardly allowed for.
So is this the end of Ken Bone, the internet celebrity? Only time will tell. Those still interested in joining Kenneth Bone’s fan base can check out his interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live and follow him on Twitter @kenbone18.