This week, the good ship The Ever Given has the world asking, “Aren’t we all, really, a cargo ship trapped in the Suez Canal?” There’s also a surprisingly large number of people talking about forehead size on TikTok, and a failed proposal video that’s probably fake, but is fooling millions.
Meme of the week: The plight of ‘The Ever Given’
When you learn that a massive container ship is stuck in the Suez Canal, you can either freak out about the fragility of the world’s supply line, or you can enjoy some fine memes. The ship in question, The Ever Given, ran aground on Tuesday and has been blocking 12 percent of the world’s trade since, inspiring internet comedians to compare the situation to that scene in Austin Powers, write tribute songs, make novelty accounts like “The Guy with the Digger at Suez Canal,” (who promises “I’ll have a lot to say in my upcoming performance meeting,”) and point out that the world’s ships rerouting to go around the cape of Good Hope is some old school pirate shit.
The rescue effort could take weeks, so be ready for lots of hilarious memes to amuse you during the nightmare sure to be unleashed by this unexpected interruption of global capitalism.
Internet body part of the week: The forehead
This week, TikTok is taking a hard look at the human forehead. This ubiquitous face-part is at the center of a discussion about body positivity and the need for bangs. Things came to a head (get it?) recently when model Camilla Coleman Brooks revealed on TikTok that she had had forehead reduction surgery. Enter the big forehead gang, who say they’re proud of their craniums, even if it looks like their hairlines are afraid of their eyebrows.
There is a whole forehead movement happening right under our noses, whether it’s the “forehead challenge,” where you slowly reveal whether you have a forehead, a fivehead, or even a sixhead, tips on how to use makeup to hide the heartbreaking shame of having a big forehead, and everything else you’d expect in an internet rabbit hole. I realize that I’m far from the target market for forehead TikTok, but I got all these youngster beat. Male pattern baldness rules!
YouTube genre of the week: Reaction videos
Pre-internet, nobody could have predicted the popularity of watching videos of other people watching videos, but millions of people are addicted to “reaction videos” on YouTube. The genre, in which reacters film themselves responding to just about anything from classic songs, to comedy sketches, to horror-movie jump scares, has been around in one form or another for at least a decade, when the first “Kids React” videos went viral, but it’s recently exploded again in popularity.
While you can watch everything from “elders” giving their thoughts about rapper Lil Skies (they’re predictably appalled), metalheads checking in on Childish Gambino’s “This is America,” or a jazz singer reacting to Bjork, the flavor of reaction that seems to be most popular is videos of young Black people reacting to classic rock.
TwinsthenewTrend, the current kings of reaction, regularly wrack up millions of views for enthusiastically listening to and commenting on tracks from the likes of Phil Collins, Dolly Parton, and Aerosmith. While the twins are undeniably funny, charismatic, and astute music critics, there’s something culturally going on here, too. But you’d need a graduate level dissertation to really unpack why so many millions of people want to see young Black people enjoying older “white” music. So I’m just going to shrug and say, “I don’t know, man” like I do about so many things these days.
Anyway, the already-recursive genre is rapidly eating its own tail, like this video where teenagers react to their younger selves reacting to things, or Reacting To The Reaction Of The Reaction To The Reaction Of The Reaction Of The Reaction To The Rea…
Viral video of the week: Ben 10’s proposal fail
This week’s viral video is of a marriage proposal gone wrong. In it, an internet guy who calls himself Matt 10 dresses up as cartoon character Ben Tennyson from Ben 10 (like you do), gets down on one knee in front of the entire Menlo Park Mall food court, and pops the big question. His girlfriend, though, is having none of it, and walks away. Ouch.
Over 10 million people have watched the video so far. It went so viral even the Twitter account of the state of New Jersey got into the act, tweeting, “Please don’t propose to people at the Menlo Park Mall food court.” Good advice.
Of course, it’s fake. At least, I’m pretty sure it’s fake. Matt 10 and his pals come off as pretty phony on his YouTube channel, and it’s just a little too crafted to come off as genuine. Plus, everything on the internet is fake.
But you gotta give Matt 10 credit: Getting millions of people to pay attention to your video is a trick that legions of overpaid marketers fail at every day. So nice work, Matt 10. You trolled everyone…unless it’s real. Then we’re all laughing at the worst moment of a seemingly mentally unstable young man’s life…But it’s gotta be fake, right?