How a Character From Diary of a Wimpy Kid Became a Symbol of the Revolution

“The Manny will not be televised.”

Kristin Merrilees
The Startup
Published in
3 min readJun 23, 2020

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Photo Credit: Redbubble, designed by revsk

Gen Z has largely taken the lead in the movement to defund police and end systemic oppression against Black people in America, in the wake of the death of George Floyd and numerous other incidents of anti-Black violence and police brutality.

But there is one symbol you may be seeing associated with the movement which may seem a little unlikely.

That is, Manny Heffley, the character from Jeff Kinney’s book series Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which has gained a cult-like following amongst many teenagers (the series is the source of numerous memes and its subreddit has over 158k users). Manny is main character Greg Heffley’s younger brother, is estimated to be 3–5 years old, and is shown to be very spoiled and manipulative in the series.

Manny with his mom and brother Greg.

But now, and seemingly very suddenly, Manny is being used as a symbol against the corruption of the policing system. According to Twitter user @/MercilessNaps, this all started due to a TikTok of Manny graffiti:

Since then, TikTok user @/themannyspotted has posted several examples of Manny, often accompanied with the phrase “ACAB” (meaning “All cops are b*****ds,” and according to Victoria Gagliardo-Silver in The Independent, used to mean that “every single police officer is complicit in a system that actively devalues the lives of people of color”).

Manny is also used in conjunction with the phrase “The Manny will not be televised,” a spin on “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” both a poem & song…

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