Sometimes, the internet is just a big race to get the first quip in before anyone else. In comment sections everywhere (including Deadspin's—especially Deadspin's), it's about proving your wit. And that's perfectly all right! But for every comment that elicits laughs, there are 100 awful, lazy, garbage-ass comments that contribute nothing to the discussion or are simply dreadful to read, and roughly 70 of them will be some variation on "Stay classy."
"Stay classy" has been around for a while, but now it belongs wholly to Anchorman. If you don't know the original context, you are either an eight-year-old who shouldn't be on this site (hi!) or a liar. The phrase mutated from a silly movie quote into some twisted spawn of a pop culture reference and moral commentary, one that can conveniently fit in a manual retweet.
How did we get here? Around the middle of 2005, "stay classy" began picking up steam. The film came out in July 2004, and the DVD in December of that year, but as with many cult classics, it took its time entering the vernacular. Somehow, "stay classy" usage has steadily increased for nearly a decade. The phrase has been used in headlines about a mob assault during the Vancouver fan riots, Chris Brown, and Derek Jeter giving gift baskets to girls after he fucks them. December isn't over yet, but in October 2013, "stay classy" was at the highest it's ever been.
"Stay classy" is a tool of smarm for dumb people. Well, dumber people. It says, "I, a person with class, think your action does not have class, though I will not deign to explain why not. Also, I saw that movie everyone else saw." But original purpose of the quote has been dulled to where people use it for any fucking reason whatsoever. Observe this search for a few minutes, watch how often (and poorly) it's used, and go walk into the ocean. Let's look at some examples:
The "Poster Boy"
Cade Foster received death threats for missing that field goal. Stay classy Bama fans— Suave Guy (@TheTXSuaveGuy) December 1, 2013
This whole team can be boiled down to one player being a dick. Fuck that team.
The Blanket Statement
"I saw something that I personally do not agree with, and now I will generalize about a city or even country because of it."
The Indictment Of Fans
What a scathing critique! Because fans have always been held to the same social expectations as a dinner party in the lavish part of Connecticut.
The Perfect Overlap Of Reference And Subject
— Michael Djajich (@mdjajich) August 23, 2013
When a classless display actually happens in San Diego: Fucking. Drop. Everything. This is your moment to shine, clever Internet snowflake. This thing totally ties in with that thing from that movie! So many levels! Surely this will get a MINIMUM of two favs.
The Nonsensical Attempt
Chargers PA is playing Madonna's "Hung Up" now. Interesting choices in stadium music. Stay classy, San Diego.— Sanjay Vemuri (@BlameSanjay) November 26, 2012
I don't even... what?
— madeline dames (@MaddieDames) October 26, 2013
Ravens stay classy. Lions find a way to lose as usual. Justin Tucker = best Kicker in the NFL. All is well in the world.
— Ben the Leader (@youknowhowido47) December 17, 2013
Stay Classy Jaguars! We Believe pic.twitter.com/GbUkKelIh4
— Stacey Graber (@FirstLadyCC) December 12, 2013
If "stay classy" can indicate an actual wish for someone to stay classy, semantics are dead.
The Poorly Targeted Attack
— Today's Bullshit (@TodaysBullshit) January 18, 2013
"Stay?" Fuck off.