This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
Here is one of those viral videos everyone likes. I'll embed it, but you're not going to watch it. I mean, for fuck's sake: It's five minutes and 14 seconds long. Do you really have five minutes and 14 seconds to spare? You could die at any moment. And as your synapses fire to a final brain death and the key moments of your life run in front of you like stones rushing towards the sea, you will go: Man, I sure did spend a lot of time sitting cross-legged on my bed watching YouTube videos.
And so the task falls to me to describe the above five minutes and 14 seconds to you. But you don't really need it, do you? You know what's going to happen as well as I do: someone—the kind of person who, at parties and with a straight face, introduces himself to people with the descriptor "YouTube prankster" ("I do these pranks—you know, funny pranks; we get good views, actually. Although one time I put my knob in a Coke bottle and we had to go to hospital") ("We kind of do these behind-the-scenes vlogs as well. Wait, no, come back!")—someone dressed up in a bunny outfit jumps out at people from behind a corner to see how they react.
Because it's funny, isn't it, how scared people get? It's only a bunny! It's only a massive, human-size bunny screaming at you out of nowhere in the cold dead of night! What you crying for! It's just a prank, mate! Just a prank! It's not the grim specter of death! Your human reflexes and fight-or-flight instinct have been provoked by a simple lampoon! Once the adrenaline stops pulsing around your bloodstream you'll be fine! Can you quickly sign this release form so we don't have to blur your face?
But 2015 being the year that pranksters discovered the meta-prank, so tick follows tock, so a stooge-like male lead is coerced into feigning a heart attack, and so we get three minutes of footage of a man in a bunny outfit showing genuine remorse, thinking the heart attack man died an undignified death on the floor of an unclean hospital. The big stupid rabbit man goes and cries on a parking meter. The big stupid bunny man leans wistfully on a fence. I have killed, he thinks. He is a killer. What will they do to the big stupid rabbit man in prison? They'll shank my kidneys out my ass, he's thinking. I'm the worst scum on Earth. I killed a man over a 600,000-subscriber YouTube channel. And then, just when you think the Vine generation might have its first emotion—might learn contrition—someone goes: Dude. Dude. Who's that? And an alive man storms out of the hospital and everyone calls each other fuckers.
What is this inexplicable human urge to prank? Is this what separates us from the animals: Unlike chimps and unlike dolphins, unlike birds and unlike bees, we think it's funny to run a hair trimmer over someone's head and then pretend we took all their hair off, or walk around LA throwing a lasso over girls before getting legitimately beaten up? Is this the peak of our existence, making our friends believe they've killed someone while racking up the viral hits?
I don't want to be the one to say this, but: If anything, this video of a large idiot bunny man not killing someone disproves the existence of God. Would a just and even-handed God let us get to this point? Or would he turn the lights off before we got this far? There is no higher power. There is no reason to be good. YouTube pranksters are out of control, and they're shitting on the concept of truth. Is anything real any more? Or are we all locked in some third or fourth-level YouTube video, where the ultimate gist of the prank is that we all think we have free will? That reality as we think we know it is actually a Truman Show–esque social experiment masterminded by The Awful Sam Pepper? That we are alone in the universe, cold and alone: that we are all sliding down a wall, feigning a heart attack while filmed from three angles by three thin boys in snapbacks, forever?
You did it, humanity. You finally made a video so bad it made me doubt my reality.
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