With Thanksgiving coming up, I of course sat down to think about what I was thankful for. My family, my friends, my boyfriend, yada yada yada, a week off from school definitely, a chance to over-eat tasty things instead of the regular college fare. But then I realized what I am most grateful for.
While studiously “doing my homework,” I magically found my way onto YouTube. YouTube, the place we go to in order to see adorable animals sneeze and men get hit in the nuts. It got me thinking, though. I am so thankful this wasn’t around when I was younger.
The internet is a wonderful thing. It lets people from all over the world tackle problems, hear music they never would have, Google search how to do calculus homework and gives people a place to share their creativity that they would never have otherwise had.
It’s the last supposed benefit I find fault with.
When we were growing up most of our parents told us how wonderful we were, how talented we were at whatever we were doing. They hung up that picture you drew in 6th grade that looked more like a rotting shoebox than a castle with a dragon on it and endlessly praised you for it.
The internet is not your mom. The internet will not tell you what a good job you did and kiss you on the cheek. The internet will tear you apart, spit in your eye and — depending on what site you’re on — hack into your bank account just for spite.
When I was young I used to make stupid videos because I had just learned how to use a video camera, and it was fun. They were also horrible, horrible videos. I am beyond thankful that my mom was as far as those glorified embarrassment trophies got.
Speaking of horrible videos: Rebecca Black.
If YouTube wasn’t around, that poor girl would not have faced the wall of hatred and criticism that she did. Was it a horrible song? Most definitely. Did you do something even worse when you were young? Oh yes, much worse.
But it doesn’t stop there. With Twitter and Tumblr and DeviantArt it gets so much more painful. It used to be that as we grew we would see actual quality art, literature, music, etc. and then be able to figure out how untalented we were. I’m not saying that being bad at something means you shouldn’t do it. By all means, draw or sing to your heart’s content. Just don’t expect people to applaud you.
If you don’t know what fanfiction is, it’s the type of literature put here on earth by the Lord of the Underworld himself, to humiliate those silly enough to publish it online. (I will concede not all of it is horrible, but the shining nuggets are far outdone by how bad some of these are.)
“My Immortal,” by Tara Gilesbie, is considered by many internet junkies to be one of the worst things ever written. And yes, I did read it. It was like a train wreck; I just couldn’t look away.
“My Immortal” is, according to EncyclopediaDramatica.com, “one of the most cringe-worthy, unintentionally hilarious, so-bad-it’s-good pieces of literature the internets have ever s*** out.” It places the author’s original character at Hogwarts to hook up with Draco Malfoy while the teachers are all apparently pedophiles.
To give you an idea, this is the author’s note that prefaces chapter 5 of this catastrophic attempt at writing.
“AN: STOP flaming! if u flam it menz ur a prep or a posr! Da only reson Dumbledeor swor is coz he had a hedache ok an on tup of dat he wuz mad at dem 4 having sexx! PS im nut updating umtil I get five good revoiws!”
The story continues in this manner, only worse. Because of the delusion of grandeur, the author was, for some reason, shocked to find out people hated it. (“Preps stop flaming ma story,” which I’m glad to note that in the author’s world only preps or posers can “flame” on a “goffik” story. And here I considered myself a geek.)
I’ve written some dreadful things in my attempt at learning to write. Who knows, maybe this is one of them. But I’m just thankful that when I was younger I didn’t have the access to post it online so I could be humiliated by millions of people.
Sports have a cruel way of weeding out the untalented. Sitting last on the bench hurts, but it happens and lets you know that you probably aren’t going to go pro. The internet may be doing these kids a favor. Tough love.
Then again, Rebecca Black is still making music — so maybe not.