Official Seattle tweeter to commuters: You're scumbags
It seems that the people with tweeting power at Seattle's Department of Transportation thought it funny to offer Scumbag Steve hats to those rubbernecking on a bridge. Oh.
As someone who has an accent that enunciates the "t" in "water," I know that some things can be lost in translation.
Other things, though, might miss for reasons of complete incomprehension or, indeed, a lack of essential humor.
This may well be one of those times.
It seems as if those who man the Twitter account at Seattle's Department of Transportation might not be quite as funny as they think. They might not be quite men yet, for that matter.
On Monday, they saw a picture of the West Seattle Bridge and took the unilateral decision that traffic was being caused by rubberneckers.
Should you be unfamiliar with Scumbag Steve or his hat, this is a meme that uses the image of a youth wearing a sideways hat, with accompanying text to suggest just what specific scumbaggery he has perpetrated.
In this case, the humorists decided to place as many hats as they could over the cars in the traffic image.
It's unclear whether everyone found it funny. Actually, it's unclear whether anyone found it funny, other than, perhaps, those that posted it.
Indeed, the West Seattle transportation Coalition expressed its lack of humor, whose text included: "While SDOT can at times be funny on Twitter, this joke is completely inappropriate and unprofessional. With years of cuts to bus service and decades of questionable infrastructure design, many West Seattle commuters today have no choice but to drive over the bridge to get to their jobs in a timely fashion."
This was followed by the Seattle Department of Transportation offering its explanation: "The use of the hat meme was not intended to insult drivers but to highlight a roadway problem and help drivers make decisions about their trips. We apologize to anyone that was offended by the tweet."
There was, though, a soupcon of an excuse for the tweeter: "The staff member was trying to note that rubbernecking near a collision site was creating delays."
Well, perhaps. It did, though, seem a touch indiscriminate. And a touch, well, unfunny.
Somehow, "scumbag" hasn't quite entered the relaxed pages of the lexicon so much that it can be used at, say, tea with the queen or a business conference at Starbucks.
Clearly, many people will not have understood the meme. So the tweeter had helpfully added text: "You get a scumbag hat, everyone gets a scumbag hat! haha I'm mean #sorry."
Oh, dear. Some might fear he gets a dunce's hat for that one.