Ken Bone is a 34 year old coal plant worker living in a steel town near St. Louis, in Illinois. He asked a question about energy policy at the second presidential debate last Sunday – specifically regarding the candidates’ plans for coal power plants. It was a two part question inquiring about both the candidates energy policies and environmental policies. Ken Bone wore a bright red sweater, and sported a very interesting moustache.
Within only a few hours, this combination made him famous. He became an internet meme. He became a media celebrity. He was apolitical, stating time and again that he was truly undecided and would not be revealing his choice for candidate. His rise and subsequent fall can be seen through the headlines various media outlets made, hyping the inquisitive man.
A choice sample of the the hype allotted to the man made meme:
America needed a hero. Kenneth Bone answered the call.
Rather than make this man some meme to be twisted by the dark scum of the web, let’s recognize him for being the one person not sucking our collective will to live.
…Ken Bone — he’s no conformist. He’s the person a divided America needs right now. The man who brought some levity to the ludicrous, some vim to counter the vitriol. The only thing that was making America great again.
The clickbait monster that is modern media, desperate for page views, hopped on the hype created by social media and put the spotlight on a regular
Joe Ken from Illinois. Within only fourty-eight hours of the debate there were hundreds of ‘articles’, all using the same talking points about Kenneth Bone, American Hero. The list of headlines goes on and on. He was being interviewed by all sorts of reporters, and media personalities. He was interviewed by Jimmy Kimmel. Yes, the Jimmy Kimmel. He had his own shirt made, available for purchase. Ken Bone conversation meant “entering the Bone Zone”. Porn companies were giving him offers for webcam shows, which is understandable given his name. Or so we would presume, since his porn name only needs an ‘r’ to his last name in order to be viable in the business after all. Shortly afterwards he even had an Uber endorsement.
This honeymoon phase of enamored fascination with couldn’t last forever. Ken Bone would have been a short lived meme anyway regardless, his 15 minutes of fame waning until a new phenomena sweeps the nation.
His fall from grace started with an AMA over on Reddit. Unlike most PR-manicured commercial AMAs made by fading indie bands and local politicians, this was a regular guy who used his regular reddit account. The AMA ended up being a mistake. A bad one that ensured his downfall. Here were some of the posts he’s made with his account before the AMA:
Various outlets were quick to pounce on the poor man in order to get page views and clicks.