Owen Wilson was trending unexpectedly on Saturday, all thanks to a sarcastic tweet that many users took seriously. The Twitter account "Classic Picx" shared a photo of Wilson, along with the message: "Happy Birthday to the legend Kurt Cobain, who would've been 54 today." As commenters pointed out, the picture did not show Cobain, although it was Cobain's birthday and he would indeed have turned 54.
The tweet that started it all has over 70,000 likes and climbing at the time of this writing, but it also has thousands of replies and quote-tweets with users adding their commentary. It comes in all shades of outrage, laughter, confusion and genuine misapprehension. However, judging by the other posts on the "Classic Picx" feed, it was most definitely meant as a very, very dry joke. Similar mistaken celebrity identity posts seem to be the account's bread and butter.
Happy Birthday to the legend Kurt Cobain, who would've been 54 today pic.twitter.com/Epw2vPFhxa— Classic Pics (@Classic_picx) February 20, 2021
As the tweet took off throughout the day, it prompted some urgent responses from users who did not get the gag at first. Many flooded the replies with pictures of Cobain, asking for a correction. Others even insulted the original poster, believing them to have made a grave error. However, as the day wore on and the joke became clear, many began sharing their own mistaken identity memes as well.
Cobain and Wilson look similar insofar as they are both adult men with medium-length blonde hair, but it was not hard to spot the difference. In truth, Wilson was actually born almost two years after Cobain, meaning if the rock legend were still alive today, they might look even more similar.
Happy Birthday to Kurt Cobain and Owen Wilson, who were both born on this day! 👍🏻👍🏻 pic.twitter.com/cpGRo7QAQ7— Carrie - not a cat (@newt_ripley) February 20, 2021
Cobain was a rock 'n' roll pioneer in his short life, leading the band Nirvana with his raw, confessional songwriting and unapologetic style. He reportedly struggled with his band's meteoric rise to fame, feeling the weight of imposter syndrome especially as their lucrative deals conflicted with the integrity of his anti-establishment persona. Cobain also dealt with depression, alcoholism and addiction.
Cobain died by suicide on April 5, 1994, at the age of 27. In the years since, fans everywhere have mourned his loss, his unrealized potential and the collective trauma of his suicide. Cobain's name has since been invoked as a way of discussing mental health, celebrity worship and counter culture in general.0comments
Some commenters pointed out that Wilson has shared these struggles, and argued that it was insensitive to crack this joke at his expense. Wilson survived a suicide attempt in 2007, according to a report by Newsweek. He received treatment for depression afterward, and has since been private about his mental health.
If you or someone you know are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.