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Batkid's Greatest Triumph: Making the Internet Nice for a Day
Ellen Cushing | Photo: Refinery29 | November 15, 2013
A real-life hero.
Would it be a cliché at this point to say that Batkid is a real, not a make believe, hero? Yes? OK, whatever. BATKID IS A HERO. At least insofar as he did something remarkable, and I don't mean shutting down the entire city for a day.
As Will Oremus noted on Twitter, not even Slate managed to be anything less than earnestly, entirely misty-eyed over the whole thing. Same goes for Gawker. (Gawker!) The few contrarians I found in my Twitter timeline were quickly shouted down with a kind of unanimity I don't know I've ever seen on the Internet. Sometimes the hivemind uses its powers for good rather than evil, apparently.
There's a cynical explanation for this, of course: The combination of a) an adorable kid with an undeniably tragic backstory, b) a whole days' worth of public photo ops, c) a healthy dose of nerd culture, and d) holidays-ish timing is pretty much exactly the kind of thing the Internet, and San Francisco, goes absolutely nuts for. But screw cynicism! This was fun.
As many have noted, this whole phenomenon was quite possibly the only thing Ted Cruz and Barack Obama will ever have in common (other than not being born in America! #lol #jk). But they weren't the only unlikely bedfellows enjoying this ordeal. When I went over to Union Square around noon, I saw a cop and a TV newsman bond over the Raiders, a literal crackhead take the photo of a (mildly confused) European tourist, and Financial District lunch-break types standing shoulder to shoulder with gutterpunks. I myself burst into actual tears when I saw that the Vera Wang showroom (!!??) had put a giant hand-drawn bat symbol in its window.
Curiosity's a great equalizer, and so is the sheer, unspoiled loveliness of a sick kid living his dream for a few hours and an entire city (hell, an entire country) cheering him on as he does it. I'm kind of excited to start hating everyone on the Internet once this completely rare, random moment of clear-eyed agreement is over. But for now I'm really proud that we made it happen.
Now excuse me while I go watch video highlights and continue to get something stuck in my eye.