Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What Happened Next Was Amazing!

As I have always been a connoisseur of Internet trends, I feel that I must bring your attention to the recent wave of dramatically overstated media captions. You have all seen them; most of you have probably posted them. They have the exact same setup sentence with just a slight variation on the punchline. The setup sentence will briefly describe an event:
  • A Retired Gym Teacher Has Dinner at Golden Coral……
  • A Kindergarten Class Visits a Federal Penitentiary……
  • Two Hungarian Waitresses Spray Paint an Elephant…..
  • An ASE Certified Mechanic Contracts Syphilis…..
  • This Group of Lutherans Attempts to Purchase Hummus…..
These teaser sentences will culminate in one of two ways:

No One Expected What Happened Next!

What Happened Next Is Amazing!
First of all, if no one expected it then why was someone filming it in the first place? I am not suggesting that everyone featured in the clip was in the know, but generally speaking people don’t film random strangers paying for gas unless they have reason to believe that something more entertaining is likely to occur. Secondly, perhaps we are playing it too fast and loose with the word amazing. If everything that carried this label was truly amazing the word would lose its relevance. Amazing is an adjective best used sparingly.

Personally, I have been accused of overusing the word “fascinating” to describe documentaries, but I wish to succinctly make a case for my stance.

Here are a few things that “fascinate” me:
  • The Changing Demographics of Middle Class America
  • The Logistical Complications of Mounting a Successful Bid for the Presidency
  • Crime Statistics as They Relate to Socioeconomic Status
  • Long Term Effects of Radiation on Plant Life
  • The Unprecedented Rise of Non-denominational Mega-Churches and Those Who Helm Them

Here are a few things that “amaze” me:
  • Dubai’s Construction Budget
  • Bears Using Kitchen Utensils
  • Celebrity-endorsed Mobile Homes
  • Racist Pigeons

Generally, I am fascinated by acquiring unexpected information concerning a known subject whereas I am amazed when I am confronted with something that defies logic or I did not know to have previously existed. This is why I can be “fascinated” by documentaries on prison recidivism rates while being “amazed” when a Shitzu successfully lands a helicopter.

While I am on the subject of Internet trends, I am starting to see more and more use of the word “THAT” to imply widespread infamy involving a public figure. It implies that while something insignificant is currently being reported, it is occurring in close proximity to an event that has become inexorably linked to that person’s image. This technique is most widely used on magazines and websites that publish and disseminate celebrity gossip:

  • Kim Kardashian Unlocks Her Car after THAT Trip to Whole Foods
  • Ryan Gosling Discusses THAT Drawing on his Etch-A-Sketch
  • Nicole Kidman Scratches Her Ear after THAT Altercation with a Hummingbird
  • George Clooney Spotted Drinking Electrolytes after THAT Bout of Dysentery

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