In a week that's seen George Will dropped from a major outlet and Dov Charney canned from American Apparel, a week in which somebody finally called Dr. Oz on his BS and Scott Walker on his and the Redskins on theirs, one in which we became one state closer to sodomy for all, perhaps it was inevitable we'd be due for a cultural intellectual step backward. And his name is Jeremy Meeks.
To be fair, it's not Jeremy Meeks' fault. The 30-year-old California man was arrested Wednesday and is currently facing five weapons charges and one gang charge. He's also now a viral star thanks to that SCORCHING HOT mug shot the Stockton Police Department posted Wednesday. It was supposed to be just an update on its Weston Ranch "Operation Ceasefire enforcement mission," a notification of four felony arrests and four confiscated firearms. But come on. Look at those dreamy blue eyes. Those pillowy lips. That teardrop tattoo. The whole Hey Girl tilt of his head. He's everything you'd want in a in a convicted felon. Operation Ceasefire? More like Operation Panty Drop, MIRITE? Before long, the Stockton Police Facebook page was stampeded with traffic, and Meeks and his mug shot had joined the ranks of the Old Spice Man and Ridiculously Photogenic Guy in the sexiest meme Hall of Fame.
Over 50,000 shares and 16,000 comments from instant admirers noting, "If he broke into my house, I don't know who should be more afraid" and saying that he's "just making my dreams come true, a bad beautyfull [sic] guy," Meeks is suddenly famous. He's already got his own Facebook fan page, which, while not the $900,000 in bail money the judge set for him this week, is something. The local jail staff reports that women around the country are calling the jail where he's being held to express their support -- and leaving their numbers. You've got to wonder how embarrassing this all is for him. And I don't mean the weapons arrest.
Three other men were nabbed in the same bust, and all of them have their fans as well. Baby-faced Juzri Coleman and the soul patch-sporting Terry Bailey have earned a few "This one is more my type" comments on Facebook -- even the salt-and-peppered, "Shawshank thang going on" Joelin Coleman has managed to elicit a little good-natured squealing, but none can hold a handle to Meeks in fangirl excitement. If this bunch were N'Sync, "Dreamy McMugshot" would be Justin Timberlake.
As his fame has spread, the commentary around him has become more deliberately jokey and absurd, but the headlines that "Women around the world swoon" and "Ladies love this felon's mugshot" and "World’s most photogenic criminal has the ladies swooning" have certainly done their bit to give the mainstream media a chance to make our gender look a little dumber. Sure, there's something inherently laughable about a man a colleague described on Friday as "preposterously handsome" and a photograph that might otherwise be right at home in a Dolce & Gabbana ad campaign appearing instead on a mug shot. It also certainly suggests that whoever is behind the camera at the Stockton Police Department has a great eye. But when you're finished fanning yourselves, all, just note that Stockton Police Officer Joseph Silva told the AP this week he's also "one of the most violent criminals in the Stockton area." He reportedly has six prior felonies. Hot or not? I don't even want to have to explain why this is yet another messed-up example of women participating in our own degradation.
Meeks is to be arraigned Friday afternoon. Sorry, girls, but depending on how the California justice system proceeds, it looks like he may be off the market for a while after that. And whether you're super-good-looking or not, as a local woman told the CBS News in Sacramento, "It's just a shame all of that's going to waste."