Gallows humor does not play well on social media.

What were these guys thinking?


Photos posted to Facebook show smiling cleanup workers in hard hats sitting in the burned remains of a destroyed recreational vehicle, hopping inside a scorched trampoline frame and posing for other joking shots amid the ruins of the Camp Fire in Paradise, California.

One shows a beer bottle by the mouth of a house cat’s burned corpse captioned, “Dude … I was just chilling with my homies, having a couple of cold ones, and BAM .. damn fire breaks out.”

A San Leandro construction firm announced Saturday on Facebook that the three employees involved in the “abhorrent” photos have been fired.


Big deal. These guys are cleaning up the aftermath of this devastating fire carnage.  They are steeped in it to their knees, it’s an incredibly trying task, physically and mentally. They earned the right to a little gallows humor. I love gallows humor. Nothing approaches the human ability to twist misery and despair into a self-protective sheath of black humor that mocks fate while we cast ourselves helplessly at the feet of its boundless cruelty.

Gallows humor is precious and never appreciated by those “outside” the circle of misery which spawned the humor. This is where social media is tragically ill-prepared to contend with such humor, which might, in eras past, have existed invisibly and therapeutically to soothe the frayed nerves of those who needed to experience the hardship.

But now.  Everyone posts their shit to Facebook and Twitter, which, as well all know, are two spineless mediums which rise to the sanctimonious din of social justice warriors of all creeds and causes.

I appreciate these photos, but I’m not everyone.

In fact, I’m no one.


When I began with “what were these guys thinking,” I meant it not as a measure of taste or morality, but what were these guys thinking to post these photos on Facebook?

If anything, they deserve to be fired for being so recklessly ignorant and exposing themselves to self-righteous judgment.  And as we all know, there is an abundance of that in today’s climate of sensitivity.