The Real Reason GMA’s ‘Tea Lizard’ Tweet Was Problematic

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Today, a truly wondrous event is taking place. With a single tweet, Good Morning America has simultaneously angered, created drama, and brought joy to different pockets of the internet, creating a nexus through which all of our desires, hopes, fears, insecurities, and dreams must travel.

I am talking about Tea Lizard.

Yes, that is Kermit the Frog. And yes, Kermit sipping tea is a popular meme, one used when you sassily point something out, and then slyly back away, claiming that it’s not the business of your instigating ass, which is just sipping tea — an action that prevents you from speaking, or something.

Anyway, in GMA’s tweet, the meme is referred to as “Tea Lizard.”

They called Kermit (The Frog) Tea (Lizard).

The fervor that surrounded #TeaLizard was so immense, you might have thought something happened to a human being. The first wave: the anger.

Then the drama.

And finally, the humor.

One reason this story is interesting is because it’s unclear who (if anyone) is at fault, who is mad, and who, as they say, is actually laughing. Is this another case of cultural appropriation by an out-of-touch organization? Is this a highly savvy troll? Is this GMA saving face by pretending it knew what it was doing? Is it true that #TeaLizard will, in fact, weaken the resolve of our allies?

These are fair questions, and to some degree, everyone has a case to make. But there’s something you need to reckon with, no matter your societal stance: the continued disrespect for the field of herpetology.

Kermit is a frog. A frog is an amphibian. A lizard is a reptile.

It’s just so insulting. Beyond a frog and a lizard both being clearly ectothermic, they couldn’t be any more different. Not all green things are the same, you ignorant bastards. This is what intersectionality means. If you see phylum, you also have to shed the rose-colored glasses and see class.

I can’t even fathom how you could look at a frog like Kermit and allow yourself to describe it as an animal that fertilizes internally.

Word?

It’s like calling the Geico mascot a toad. Which would be incorrect. Because it’s not a toad. It’s a gecko, which is obvious upon first sight because it defends itself with scales, not with toxic secretions from its skin.

So to all of you, in the trenches, fighting for the sanctity of the creative class, meme rights, and appropriation — I hear you, but maybe it’s time to look in the mirror and check your privilege. Sure, it’s your issue, but it’s also ours. Life’s not just all fun and games and trolls and memes and social justice; some of us #onhere have Chordata to worry about.