Jan 3, 2014

The One Where I Lament The Death of Reading

So, I didn't wanna do it like this.  I didn't wanna start 2014, a brand spanking new year on a negative point, however I am forced into this.  One thing that has kind of irritated me these past years (among many many many things, I assure you) is this inexplicable embracing of anti-intellectualism in this country, especially as it pertains to online interactions and social media.

This is nothing new, as anyone that's been online more than a minute will understand.  That doesn't make it any more frustrating to come across websites that have completely done away with anything that requires you to read more than a paragraph, if that.  And sometimes, that seems to be pushing the limits of what people seem to want.

The latest example of this, or at least I'm just now becoming hip to this site, is "Upworthy", which is a website that essentially posts videos with hyperbolic headlines (and that's it) to get people to spread the links online, thus causing them to go viral.  The headlines are absolutely ridiculous (Even more than my own Friends rip-off structure to my headlines), and are designed to encourage you to watch the videos. Things like "This girl was crying and you'll never believe what this man does next!"   I know, I assume the man slapped her and told her to grow up, right?  No, of course not, it's always some sweet saccharine feel good story, which ironically is what everyone totally believed would happen.

Here's the problem though: I don't want to watch the videos.  I don't want to watch a 6 minute video about something totally amazing someone did, when I don't know thing one about them.  Why can't you just write a paragraph summarizing things, and then if I wanna spend that 6 minutes to see more, I will.  Why this marching towards the elimination of actual reading?


There are message boards where if someone posts anything over one or two paragraphs, they're mockingly told that they have no life and they're "writing a book".  Because God forbid someone spend more than 140 characters to express a thought that's in their heads.

Maybe this is me getting older.  Maybe this is me just despising any and everything that seems to become the next big thing.  I never anticipated becoming "the old guy", but I don't know whether it's me being the Old Guy or me just being the guy that does not give one single solitary fuck about Upworthy or any of these other emotionally manipulative websites out there.

When I come across these stupid sites, it makes me angry because I don't want to watch the stupid video, I just wanna know what the hell this person did that was so amazing.  Then I can make the judgement call on "oh wow, you're totally right...I never expected him to do that and it was TOTALLY amazing." or I can say "yeah, this was bullshit. I want my six minutes back."

And what makes it worse is I google the headline, and every single website I find it on is the EXACT SAME THING!  It's a link with just that headline, and then others simply saying "oh wow yeah that was amazing".

Why won't you just tell me, Upworthy?  Just tell me! I can handle it!  Don't emotionally blackmail me into watching your stupid ass videos.  I won't do it and you can't make me!  This just leads me to going and googling every variation of the headline to try to find an actual article where I can READ about it.  And the sad thing is, that takes me WAY more than 6 minutes.

Now I just need to find out what that guy did with the $25K that was supposed to be a movie trailer.  If anyone finds out, lemme know, will ya?  Just don't make a video explaining it.

I will totally hunt you down, and you will never believe what I'll do.

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