Going viral does not indicate a news subject has “made it.”
Taiwanese computer animators having their way with you does.
That's what has happened to Aya Ibish, the 22-year-old Laguna Beach resident who posted on her Instagram her “new pride and joy”—a Mercedes Benz with a giant red ribbon on the hood—and hours later was arrested for leaving the scene after crashing her new luxury sedan into a cyclist while allegedly driving under the influence.
It's the kind of story that reinforces negative stereotypes that Orange County just can't shake. From The Real Housewives of Orange County to Jill and Kent Easter, the Irvine couple/lawyers who planted drugs in the car of a PTA mom rival and then tried to get her arrested, “The OC” is known for privileged people willingly committing the seven deadly sins—and taking selfies to prove it.
The latest example has everything going for it: the Benz, the Instagram, the booze (or some other mind-altering substance; prescription meds are always a good guess here), Laguna Beach and a name like Aya Ibish.
Cops say that around 11 p.m. in Costa Mesa, Ibish's Mercedes—which one assumes had the red ribbon removed by then—slammed into a cyclist who suffered leg wounds. The victim was able to give responding officers a description of the vehicle, and a few blocks away police stopped you-know-who's ride, which had damage consistent with such a collision. (The imprint of a cyclist, perhaps?)
Ibish was asked to take a field sobriety test, which she failed. She was arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and felony DUI causing injury.
It could have been the Orange County Register report, or a wire service story based on it, that caught the attention of the gremlins at Tomo News.
That's the site of Taiwan-based Next Media Animation, which got big in the U.S. with its computer generated images of another Orange Countian back in 2010. Yes, it was six years ago that the multiple extramarital affairs of Cypress' favorite swinging son Tiger Woods came to light.
Tomo News began with unintentionally funny animated reenactments for footage-starved newscasts around the world—in Mandarin. They were originally subtitled in English for audiences here but have become so popular that TMZ-style humor is now employed, as are English-speaking narrators.
So enjoy this one about Aya Ibish:
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.