Meteorologists are now confident that Florida is next in line for Hurricane Irma, and because the internet is often a terrible place, Twitter has jokes. Specifically, it has jokes and memes about Hurricane Irma hitting Disney World, which are not only insensitive and cruel, but frankly, rather trite, because there are really only two types of jokes you can make about such a thing, and everyone's making the same two over and over. If you're going to be a jerk, at least be a creative jerk.
Joke number one, a reference to a 30-year-old ad campaign, entailing people "congratulating" Irma on being the strongest Atlantic storm in recorded history, destroying entire islands, and killing innocent people, and asking her what she's going to do next. She is, of course, going to Disney World. For joke number two, a particularly heartless variation of "sorry, not sorry," people are casually dismissing the devastation and lives lost and pointing out that what really matters (to them) is that their favorite childhood vacation destination might be impacted. Never mind the fact that 60 percent of Barbuda residents are now homeless; what are we supposed to do for spring break next year? Honestly, it's just gross.
As of Friday morning, 12 deaths have been reported as a result of Hurricane Irma, according to the Guardian. The actual number may be much larger, as communication in the Caribbean has been impacted by the storm. Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne described the second island of the state as "literally a rubble" to the Washington Post. Two-thirds of the homes on St. Martin are uninhabitable, according to the BBC, and troops have been deployed to combat the gun- and machete-wielding groups who are looting and pillaging what's left. ABC News reported that one million people in Puerto Rico are without power, and 50,000 have no access to safe drinking water. This is no time for humor.
If I'm being generous, I could assume that most of the jokes are coming from people who don't live in hurricane-prone areas, and simply don't understand their magnitude. At a press briefing on Friday, FEMA administrator Brock Long cautioned, "It’s not a question of if Florida’s going to be impacted, it’s a question of how bad," according to the Washington Post. He also stated unequivocally that Irma "is going to devastate the United States."
Irma is predicted to hit Orlando early Monday morning, according to ABC News, with sustained winds of 105 mph, which classify it as a Category 4 hurricane. For reference, when Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey, it was only a Category 1 storm, with winds of 80 miles per hour. Disney World has closed a water park and a camping area, and two events have been canceled thus far. It's high time to take Irma seriously.