Ken Bone: Hero or Menace?


Ken Bone asking the candidates about energy policy. (via Zachary Shevin, junior-screenshot)

Samantha Gould

Ken Bone, you disappointed us. For a few moments, you were a breath of fresh air – a respite from one of the darkest, most bitter presidential campaigns in our history. We saw in you a sincere, earnest and plain-spoken common man. You were becoming a cultural icon. Then, as we learned more about you, it all began to fall apart.

How did this all come about? It began on Sunday October 9, 2016, the day of the second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It was a town hall style format with questions asked by members of the audience. Most of the debate consisted of personal attacks by the candidates, producing a lot of heat but very little light, particularly in the area of policy. Then, toward the end of the debate, you were called upon. You asked a serious, thoughtful question relating to energy policy. In truth, however, it was not a question so extraordinarily insightful that it should have resonated to an excessive degree with the public, particularly since it did not elicit a very illuminating response from either candidate. Yet, after the debate, your name and image not only trended, but exploded on social media.  No, Kenneth, it was not the question that caused the explosion. It was you, the man in the bright red Izod sweater, who captured the imagination of the American people.  Junior Ethan Lewis put it simply: “Ken Bone is an adorable man.”

You were now a full blown celebrity. In the week following the debate, you were all over the place, making numerous public appearances. It seemed like you showed up on every television and radio station in America. You were completely enamored of your new found celebrity. Then, you got careless. You accepted an offer to host a session of “Ask me Anything” on the website Reddit. Somehow, you decided to use the same alias that you had used in the post when making a number of problematic statements. In regard to the hacked nude pictures of Jennifer Lawrenece, you were insensitive. You also referred to pregnant women on a NSFW forum as “beautiful human submarines.” Amazingly, for reasons known only to you, you admitted to forgery, leaving out certain details because you were not sure if the statue of limitations had expired. Additionally, comments that you made about the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman displayed what could be viewed as a lack of sensitivity. Freshmen Jared Gould said in response to the comments, “I think that Ken Bone was a nice distraction from everything that has been going on with the debates, but once the scandals about him were leaked, his image was ruined.”

Clearly, your past comments and activities did not square with the image of the warm, earnest, sincere man in the bright red sweater that America thought it knew. Now America knows better. It was a funny, heartwarming story while it lasted, but now it’s over. You’ve had your 15 minutes of fame, Ken Bone.

Sources: cnet, New York Times, The Wrap, The Dailey Beast