That Escalated Quickly: Internet Absurdity
Published: Friday, March 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 1, 2013 14:03
It is indisputable that the invention and influence of the Internet defines not only our generation, but each future generation as well. It is now an essential and invaluable tool because of the instant information from international news sources as well as academic journals, ability to connect with those who are far, the possibility to create a refined self-identity through various social media. It helped facilitate protests and empowers the youth. It promotes and protects free speech. It can be a tool used for absolute good (as well as bad) and a way to simplify and daily life.
But the strangest, and I will argue the best, aspect of the Internet is its complete absurdity. Think about it: when was the last time you audibly laughed at something that actually made sense? And haven’t you ever been frustrated by a friend who “just doesn’t get it?” There’s nothing “to get!” Classic videos such as “Keyboard Cat,” “Charlie the Unicorn,” “Hamster on a Piano,” and more recently “The Harlem Shake” are amusing simply because they are. There really is no reason or magic formula to the Ermagerd meme’s popularity or the sheer hilarity of the Wolfpupy twitter account. The Internet is simply the manifestation and medium for this new brand of funny.
Every generation has its sense of humor. The Lost Generation couldn’t help but laugh at witticisms that only intellectuals could really understand. The Beats loved anything vulgar and irreverent, preferably insulting at least half the room. And we cannot help but to adore the senseless. People can try to justify it, can connect it to political events or past Internet sensations, or even write it off as babble, but those people are major buzzkills. We say, stop thinking and start laughing. Why ask questions when a cat is wearing a sweater? Or a goat is screaming like a human?
We laugh at nonsense because we must. Our world has ceased to makes sense. This humor of absurdity is both a means of mocking and coping with the world in which we live. All of the tragedies aired on the nightly news rarely come with reason, and the justifications given are merely speculation. Many of the most important questions of our generation do not come with fast and easy answers. In fact, many would argue that some come with no answers at all. Because of this, the Internet and its nonsense are both a fantasy, an escape mechanism, as well as a tool to speak the language of the actual happenings of the world.
It may not make sense. And it may only be funny when you turn your brain off. But it is our generation, and we’re going to have to explain the hilarity of cat gifs to our kids someday. We should own it. Brand it as a postmodern struggle to comprehend an incomprehensible world rather than worthless nonsense.