On Wednesday — Halloween — Republican Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) let loose a little on Twitter, embracing a strange and wonderful meme suggesting he is, in fact, the Zodiac Killer, a serial killer who confessed to murdering at least 37 individuals in a series of cryptic and often confusing letters to law enforcement sent in the late 1960s.
Now there’s (almost) no chance that Cruz is actually the Zodiac Killer. After all, the Zodiac Killer sent his last letter in 1969, a full year before Ted Cruz was even born. But the connection became a running gag, regardless, and on Tuesday, Cruz tweeted out one of the Zodiac Killer’s cryptic notes as part of a Halloween gag.
Happy Halloween pic.twitter.com/jIgTaIMzep
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) October 31, 2018
This is the second year in a row Ted Cruz has made fun of himself using the meme. Last year, a number of mainstream media outlets partially congratulated Cruz on being so self-deprecating as to embrace an Internet joke.
This year, though, leftists didn’t think Cruz’s gag was quite so funny, and they devoted hundreds of tweets and dozens of column inches to suggesting that Cruz was either exposing his complete irrelevance to modern culture or that he was deliberately disrespecting the actual Zodiac Killer’s many victims, which included a young girl.
The Cut was downright angry that Cruz used the Zodiac Killer meme as his chosen Halloween gag, and eviscerated the sitting Texas Senator for trying “desperately” to relate to his constituents, as though Cruz’s challenger Democrat Beto O’Rourke’s skateboard antics and his supporters’ embarrassing tribute videos have been shining examples of how to get in touch with the locals.
Instead, the Cut suggested, Ted Cruz should have dressed like a can of soup because he once bought a lot of cans of soup (by the way, they just adored Beto’s skateboarding skills, or lack thereof).
The New York Times also poked fun at Ted Cruz for his antics, and published a 500-plus word piece explaining the “Zodiac Killer meme” in excruciating detail, ultimately concluding that Ted Cruz was making fun of a serial killer, and we simply can’t tolerate such a callous display in our society.
But if the mainstream media was shocked, leftists on Twitter were positively flabbergasted. How dare Ted Cruz pretend to be a serial killer on today of all days, Halloween?
Plenty of innocent lives were taken by the zodiac killer. You think this is a joke?? You call yourself pro-life? SHAME ON YOU.
— Brittany Van Horne (@_brittanyv) October 31, 2018
NOT FUNNY. people were killed by this serial murderer. why would you joke about this???
— normal guy who doesn’t suck (@vrunt) October 31, 2018
That’s funny because that guy strangled and shot people in cold blood
— John Biggs (@johnbiggs) October 31, 2018
Sitting US Senator cracking jokes about being the unapprehended killer of 5 people, including one 16 year-old girl https://t.co/eH0iIR05R8
— Dan O’Sullivan (@Bro_Pair) October 31, 2018
I had to go to school laying on the floor of the bus for a month because of the zodiac killer when I lived in the bay area. What the hell is the matter with you?
— Jeff (dump Trump) (@redbeard36) November 1, 2018
Of course, the “Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer” joke originated on the Left, and they thought it hilarious … right up until Ted Cruz adapted the joke for their own purposes. For at least some of the Twitter users losing their mind over a humorous conspiracy theory reference, that might have actually been part of the problem.
This is our thing, not yours. You don’t get to reclaim this, you literal monster.
— VOTE NOV 6 says MATT MINER (@MattMinerXVX) October 31, 2018
After all, some of the social media squad lambasting Cruz for poking fun at a meme were among the first to use it.
Jokes are okay except when other people make them. pic.twitter.com/o6LCc2p9kC
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) November 1, 2018
For the record, it’s also possible that some of the angst is sour grapes. After a landmark run, upstart Beto O’Rourke is still seven points behind Cruz going into Tuesday’s midterm election, and after raising a remarkable $38 million, he may have nothing left in his campaign coffers come Wednesday, earning Beto the title of presiding over one of the most expensive losing campaigns in history.