So who is this Whitney Kropp person, and why do we care? Well, the Michigan sophomore was elected to Homecoming Court by her winner schoolmates in an effort to humiliate her — no doubt for something egregious like failing to buy the latest handbag or iPhone.
Until recently, Whitney wasn’t too popular. She apparently keeps to herself, wears a lot of black, colors her hair, and has Kropp for a last name. So her being ridiculed by catty princesses and Brownshirts on the football team isn’t too surprising. But what these products of idiot parenting didn’t realize is that putting a spotlight on an underdog in the hopes of embarrassing her only really results in spotlighting the underdog.
So when the West Branch dust settled, these “cool” kids found they’d actually succeeded in making an unpopular girl the most popular one in town. Simply put, there’s no excuse not to love how this is turning out.
Whitney, who’s described by her mother as “guileless,” went home the day the Homecoming announcements were made somewhat excited. She was skeptical, she later said, but was unaware that this was a prank and so enjoyed the moment. She was at least willing to take a chance on being lucky.
After posting the news to Facebook, however, one belittling gossip-monger hinted that the football jock who’d been co-nominated had withdrawn when he learned of Whitney’s involvement. Whitney played it off, but later that day was found by her mom in tears, kicking herself for taking the bait.
So while I’m sure Touchdown had his reasons, his immediate instinct to scamper away from a chance to lead by example renews all I remember about high school jock-dicks too: that they’re big-talkin’ patio furniture who can’t stand up for anything a mob didn’t start.
For those who don’t know (or maybe blocked the memory), the Homecoming Court is introduced at a halftime show during a school’s homecoming game. Ill-fitting formalwear and big smiles are what the inevitably cheesy photographer tends to capture for posterity pics, but we all know that popularity is the real name of the game. In this sense, what was building at Ogemaw Heights High School eerily mirrored the 1976 Stephen King classic, Carrie, where an aloof girl with crazy mind-control powers turns Prom into a biblical fireball after being — Ha ha! — coated in pig’s blood. While Whitney Kropp has no mind-ray as far as anyone knows, things weren’t exactly going in her favor when this Homecoming business first started.
She was laughed at in hallways and classrooms and constantly reminded of her outsider status. She felt like a joke, she said later. In her school’s social hierarchy, she was at the bottom when the bottom was pulled out from under her.
But then a few kids took her side and spoke supportively of her predicament. A small backlash against the abuse began to simmer. Word around the school became that Whitney should be encouraged rather than demeaned. Instead of looking (or scampering) the other way, classmate after classmate began asking Whitney to accept the nomination and attend the dance in full view of the self-absorbed sphincters who’d intended to break her down (as a way to build themselves up). In other words, the emerging collective called bullshit on that.
Whitney Kropp knew they were right, but true to character she kept her head down. The passive–aggressive nature of these contests had been the furthest thing from her mind until she’d been thrown into the mix; and besides, the girl had grown accustomed to being alone and made fun of. The unwanted attention was difficult enough as it was.
But then, on Whitney’s Facebook page, came the post, “Going to homecoming to show them I’m not a joke. I’m a beautiful person and you shouldn’t mess with me!” The word-of-mouth backlash had raced through the 800-student school and then through the town like a trained tiger through a hoop. Whitney’s family was stunned at how far in the opposite direction things went once that collective voice grew. Kids and alumni and random strangers got vocal about aligning with Whitney for all who are bullied. Local businesses began offering donations for everything a 16-year old might need to have the best Homecoming ever. A Facebook support page was set up by a former OHHS graduate, and messages started pouring in. The number of ‘Likes’ will soon push 100,000. Team Whitney t-shirts are on the way.
True to his nature — and a future of not thinking for himself — the Sport-o elected with Whitney decided to attend after all once he heard all the commotion. So wow…a football player looking toward the cheers meant for someone else…what a surprise.
In the end, it looks like no one’s gonna get burned alive in a gymnasium and that the geniuses responsible for this prank did Whitney Kropp a tremendous service in the life-lesson department. True to their natures –and a probable future of boob jobs, resentment, Botox, divorce, fear, and envy– the girls involved will no doubt be trying to take credit for this. May their parents be proud of their accidental achievements, and may they recognize such dubious honors as a product of their shit-for-brains parenting.