This was the way of things in 2013 online: The few things that the culture industry could presume everyone would see were neither good nor bad, but framed perpetually as “epic” or “fail.”
Salon, on why 2013 was the Internets worst year yet
Posted on 12/16/2013
For all the talk of “think-pieces” this year, the thoughts catalogued were remarkably short-form. Millennials were going to save us all, unless they were, on the basis of a single piece of evidence,unable to cope with life to a degree verging on mental illness. “Breaking Bad” was going to have the best series finale ever, until it sort of didn’t, but never mind, Walter White is still a bad-ass. Going any further or any more particular consigned one to failure: the super-successful websiteUpworthy removed Jennifer Lawrence’s name from a headline because she might not be recognizable enough on name alone. Miley Cyrus was a human hashtag, one whose racially exploitative valences were closely explored in posts that were far harder to digest than ones merely remarking that she was being gross and weird! To distinguish oneself from the hum of a now-chokingly thick recap scene every Monday morning, one would have to respond to a complex and eerie “Girls” episode by saying that Lena Dunham wasn’t hot enough to have sex with her onscreen partner. Transparently false information about the bombings of the Boston Marathon and the subsequent investigation was quickly transmitted simply by dint of its extremity. It felt as though individuals and news outlets were struggling to get the attention of a more-diffuse-than-ever Internet, and once they had it, unsure of exactly what to do.
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