What is a Milkshake Duck and why is it 2017 word of the year
Milkshake Duck – The phrase so famous you never heard of it.
Australia’s Macquarie Dictionary has awarded “milkshake duck” its 2017 word of the year.
On June 12, 2016, Australian cartoonist Ben Ward tweeted it to describe our tendency to foist instant celebrity on some person and its inevitable backlash.
In Ward’s tweet, the cuddly duck is accused of being a vicious racist.
The whole internet loves Milkshake Duck, a lovely duck that drinks milkshakes! *5 seconds later* We regret to inform you the duck is racist
— pixelated boat (@pixelatedboat) June 12, 2016
In one year, the tweet gained over 22,700 likes and 9,600 retweets.
Milkshake Duck is defined as “a person who is initially viewed positively by the media but is then discovered to have something questionable about them which causes a sharp decline in their popularity”.
Hmm. Does kinda sum up 2017.
“It plays to the simultaneous desire to bring someone down and the hope that they won’t be brought down. In many ways it captures what 2017 has been about”
It has since been used as shorthand for real-life examples, including :
- After US boy Keaton Jones shared a video about being bullied last month, his family experienced an online backlash over allegations they had racist views (which they denied).
- Ken Bone, a man who became famous for asking a question at a 2016 US presidential debate, was later condemned for having made objectionable comments online.
- A Florida policeman who was dubbed “hot cop” because of a meme, but was then investigated over alleged anti-Semitic Facebook posts.
Ward acknowledged Macquarie’s (Macquackrie’s?) choice with a simple “I’m so sorry.”
Inevitably, the milkshake duck will milkshake duck itself.
Congratulations, and condolences.