Karens Are Dangerous. We Need to Cancel Karen Culture Now

Karens — racist people who weaponize white supremacy against Black people — have permeated every level of American life, all the way up to the Karen-in-Chief. They must be stopped.

Because hell hath no fury like a mildly inconvenienced middle-aged Caucasian lady, the Internet gave this genus of white privilege a name: Karen. In Internet memes, she is invariably pictured with a South Philly mom cut — think Kate Gosselin’s kicky cowlicked bob gone rogue. Current mood: She would like to speak with the manager, please. Lately it seems like the Karens have gone wild in America, as you’ve no doubt seen all over the Internet: freaking the fuck out at Red Lobster and Trader Joe’s, calling the cops to report flagrant BWB (barbecuing while Black), calling the cops to report a Black girl selling water on the sidewalk, calling the cops to report a Black, Harvard-educated science editor in Central Park for having the temerity to ask her to put her dog on a leash as required by law.

And now the Karens are armed and dangerous. Just last weekend in St. Louis, a husband-and-wife team of personal-injury-lawyer Karens emerged from their gilded palace of slip-and-fall — wild-eyed and barefoot, with guns drawn and itchy trigger fingers trembling — and literally took aim at a group of Black Lives Matter protesters who had gate-crashed their private street on their way to the mayor’s house. (Yes, males can be Karens, too. I can’t think of a more ignominious death than to be gunned down by a couple that one wag on Twitter dubbed Guns N’ Rosé.) “I was terrified that we’d be murdered within seconds, our house would be burned down, our pets would be killed,” Mark McCloskey, who is brandishing an assault rifle in video of the incident, breathlessly told an interviewer afterward.

This was a new plot twist: Usually, Karens don’t lock and load; they call the cops. Karens love to call the cops; it’s their go-to move. Their idea of dispute resolution is to dial 911 and — usually through a veil of fake hysterics and crocodile tears — falsely report that whichever Black person(s) she is currently arguing with is in fact threatening her life. Karens are at least woke enough to know that bad things tend to happen to Black people when the cops show up — which is, of course, why they call them. The Bonnie and Clyde of the Brooks Brothers set notwithstanding, Karens don’t personally inflict violence on their perceived enemies; they order it over the phone, like a pizza.

As such, the current President of the United States — the Grand Wizard of White Grievance Culture — is the de facto Karen-in-Chief. When he wants to stroll across the street from the White House and visit the church he never actually attends and fumble with a Bible for the cameras so as to shore up the flagging evangelical vote, he simply calls up the Attorney General and has the Army curb-stomp the protesters standing in the way of his photo op — with tear gas, truncheons, and attack helicopters.

Desperately trying to exploit the social unrest of the moment for electoral gain by positioning himself to fast-souring voters as a law-and-order tough guy (oh, the irony!), the President’s latest Karen move was giving the Department of Justice an ultimatum: Put all the BLM protesters and adjacent vandals, looters and mischief-makers you can find in jail, and throw away the key. Crucify them. Or incur the vengeful wrath of the Karen-in-Chief. And he speaks with the manager all the time.

The Philly federales’ role in this Karen-centric campaign stunt was to cast an admittedly impressive digital dragnet and snare Lore Blumenthal, an unemployed 33-year-old masseuse from Germantown, for allegedly torching two cop cars during the Philly riots that ensued in the wake of Minneapolis police murdering George Floyd in slow motion and on camera for the alleged crime of trying to buy cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. If convicted on all counts, Blumenthal’s looking at 80 years in prison plus a $500,000 fine. For vandalism. Of a fully insured municipal vehicle, in the course of which neither life nor limb was lost. And she will be 113 years old when she gets out of prison. Keep in mind that in 2008, prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Jeffrey Epstein to a year and a half of work release for the statutory rape and sex trafficking of dozens and dozens, possibly hundreds, of minors — some as young as 12.

None of this is new, per se; it’s just no longer hidden from the general public the way it was in the if-a-tree-falls-in-the-woods-and-nobody’s-around-does-it-make-a-sound analog olden days. The Karen-ing of American life predates the digital age, but smartphones and the Internet have brought their vindictive furies front and center in the here and now, with life-wrecking consequences. So all Karens current and future in high and low places, as well as their enablers and minions, would be well advised to consider this: Sooner or later, the Karen Show will be canceled. It always is. So enjoy yourself — it’s later than you think.