Tag Archives: Imgur

Why The Internet Hates Sports

Look, I’m well aware that this post would have been more effective had it been posted a week ago before NFL Super Bowl XLIX. I don’t control current events, however, and as soon as I saw that Michelle Obama had a “wardrobe malfunction” while visiting Saudi Arabia I knew I had to cover it [no pun intended]. So imagine, if you will, that we’re in the days leading up to the most-watched sporting event in America. People are already beginning to build the foundations of their dozen-layer dips and comic artists are churning out strips like the following Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:

The joke being, hahaha, “geeks” [whatever that term even means anymore] don’t like sports! Not only do they not like sports, they don’t understand them! The concept of other people being excited about people physically competing against each other is completely illogical in their minds. Moss of The IT Crowd is a man who beat every record on the British gameshow Countdown and here is how he views [European] football:

Series 4, Episode 2

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Why I Do Need Feminism

This was originally going to be another of “Gordon’s Happy Monday Posts”. I’m serious, folks, I had every intention of changing things up from my typical doom-and-gloom tone and write about some lighthearted stuff for once. That’s what I had prepared for today. Wouldn’t ya know it, but I just happened to come across something so supremely stupid that I felt compelled to switch out our happy, uplifting topic with another message from the trenches.

What was that thing that robbed you all of sunshine and butterflies and stuff? It was a series of pictures on imgur of young women holding up signs explaining why they “didn’t need feminism” [sourced from the Who Needs Feminism? tumblr -Ed.]. I scrolled down, hoping at first they’d just be sarcastic comments, and once it became clear that wasn’t happening, that they’d really just be criticisms of the most off-the-wall elements of the movement (as Kat mentioned in her post this past Saturday).

They were not.

So let me take this time to go through ’em, picture by picture, and explain just how wrong they are. Continue reading

Shame Day: Taylor Swift, Charles Z., and The Internet

Exactly one week ago I was browsing imgur and saw that 4chan was up to its old tricks again. To break this down and provide some context as quickly as possible, 4chan, as defined by Urban Dictionary:

you have just entered the very heart, soul, and life force of the internet. this is a place beyond sanity, wild and untamed. there is nothing new here. “new” content on 4chan is not found; it is created from old material. every interesting, offensive, shocking, or debate inspiring topic youve seen elsewhere has been posted here ad infinitum. we are the reason for “not safe for work”. we are the anonymous army. cross us and you will fail. anonymous is everywhere. you depend on us every day. we bag your groceries, we fix your computers. anonymous sees you before you see him. sitting at desks around the world right now is a nameless, faceless, unforgiving mafia composed of the best of the best.

For anyone who doubts the ability of the users of this site to get things done, allow me to direct you to the winner of TIME Magazine‘s  2009 Most Influential Person of the Year, Christopher Poole, a.k.a. moot, a.k.a. the founder of 4chan. As a little icing on the cake, you can check out what happened to nominees 2 to 21. Continue reading

I Don’t Know If Anyone’s Said This About Boston Yet

I’ve made it a habit not to report on a lot of the bigger news events due to the fact that, with so many people writing about them, someone is bound to have already said what I want to, and probably much more eloquently as well. When it comes to something as thoroughly horrific as the Boston Marathon bombing, I’m even more hesitant to do so, especially because of how delicate a topic it truly is.

I write this post with a great amount of trepidation, and with the hope that I can add to the discourse that’s resulted from this tragedy.

The following image appeared in my Facebook feed this past Monday, April 15th, and I immediately shared it upon reading it. I did this as a knee-jerk reaction to the sentiment communicated, and in spite of the fact that, as a friend of mine commented, “it says it in a stupid and borderline offensive way.”

This was posted soon after the bombing, long before the third victim had passed away.

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Permission To Laugh?

Gordon and I have talked about offensiveness as far as stand-up comedy, and came to the general consensus that if you’re mocking the perpetrators of rape and racism you are doing a good thing. You can joke about hot-button issues if you’re not demeaning them, if you’re using satire and not just being an uncouth [and unfunny] person. You are permitted to broach these topics because you are doing so in a respectful manner.

Now, from time to time I like to peruse the funny pictures on the popular image hosting site imgur, which I continue to pronounce “im-gur” in spite of being directly told I was wrong on the site’s FAQ. Part of what makes the site so popular is its community, responsible for the comments on various images being rewarded by “upvotes,” mostly due to their level of wit.

There is another scale of judgement when it comes to doling out internet points, however, and it directly ties into what I was writing about offence and comedy. See the image below:

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Free Information Culture

The last of my installments (for now) in looking at these rising alternative cultures is “Free Information Culture,”  which shares the same problem with “science” culture in that there’s really no good name for it yet. I’ve referred to it before as “internet culture,” only the problem with that is that, like “science culture,” it isn’t so much the culture of the thing itself as the culture of the fanbase. In simpler terms, it’s the difference between Hollywood culture and movie-lover culture- it’s the end product that’s valued.
So what’s the internet’s “end product”?

Besides porn and stuff like this…

Free Information.

Whether it’s the news, or Wikipedia, or TED Talks, or Imgur, or anything else imaginable, it’s on the internet for free and public use. It’s something of a great equalizer. No matter where you’re from, what language you speak, what class you hail from- you can create or say anything and then get called gay in the comment section.

And while that last bit is sort of a joke, it does play a role in developing the “free information culture.” Granted, general anonymity can make us vicious and vile people, but it also (to some extent) strips us of our egos. When you make something online, you really don’t get much, if any, credit, but that’s alright since it isn’t the point. It’s just about creating, nothing more or less. Who drew the first rage face? Who started up Bad Luck Brian? Who edited and sourced that one Wikipedia page you used to stitch your last minute term-paper together? Who puts together those monthly fail compilation videos? I don’t know and will probably never know, but I do know that they’ll keep coming because of the simple joy of creating them. I and every other person with a half-decent internet connection.

And all of this simply isn’t understood by some people.

Recall the massive outcry against the SOPA and PIPA bills? What prompted the creation of  these acts was that some people- certain corporations in particular- couldn’t quite wrap their heads around the idea of free and unlimited access. Now maybe you agree with them, and maintain that posting copyrighted material of any kind is piracy and immoral, however, what needs to be understood is that this was viewed as an act on the very nature of the internet and everything it had come to represent.

Again excluding porn and stuff like this…

Now more and more companies are catching on to the idea that it’s wiser to try to work with the faceless and vengeful cat-worshippers of the internet than against them- just look at video game companies that are starting to work in tandem with modders. The game Minecraft in particular is a good example of this, as many of the new aspects of each update to the game coming from the fan-forums themselves. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of people out there (I’m looking at you, Music Industry) who continue to struggle (vainly) against the dissemination of what they view to be the “information wants to be free” crowd.

Again, it all boils down the core of the culture that the internet has produced, gravitating around the concepts of freedom and egalitarianism. Look at Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange.

If he did his work back in the early 90s, we can be pretty sure he’d be viewed overwhelmingly as a candidate for a James Bond villain. But today we (for the most part) view him as being a heroic (or at least positive) figure in a world that’s become increasingly secretive and unequal. Why this dramatic shift in perception? Again, it’s the internet and it’s affect on us. In a time of economic crisis we might not be able to go to the movies, or eat out, or drive for miles to see a friend, but we can watch something online, or browse recipes, or video-chat with the same buddies that you’d otherwise not be able to see. Any threat to your full and unrestricted access to the internet is, by proxy, a threat to some of the last pleasures you have left.

Hence the formation of a culture obsessed with the values of free speech, free access to information, and freedom from censorship. And with every development of the internet or our access to it serving as another leap in the evolution of the culture, it’s safe to say that the howl of anger that the governments of the world met when trying to create such bills as ACTA is only going to intensify.