Welcome to the UK, Buzzfeed!
Photo by Caroline Delaney
You probably heard earlier this year, but Buzzfeed (that site that makes lots and lots of lists in an attempt to turn every single thing in the world into a meme) is setting up home in the UK. What does that mean for us British people? Well, it means that if you work in a petting zoo in Lincoln, you'll be fielding a lot more phone calls from photographers on the look out for a photo of Britain's funniest looking donkey, or most snide chicken, or whatever.
Anyway, in honour of their move to the UK, I thought I'd spend ten minutes looking for all the lamest Buzzfeed lists I could find. And then, in true Buzzfeed fashion, compile a completely pointless number of them into my own list.
THE 13 SHITTIEST BUZZFEED LISTS I COULD FIND IN TEN MINUTES
Shitty Buzzfeed List #1. 35 People Who Just Realized That Seth McFarlane Is Actually Hot
(link) – 1.8k Likes
For my first example, I thought I'd go for a list that relates to something that actually happened and was vaguely newsworthy recently. God, could there be a more perfect triumvirate of hell than Buzzfeed, people with fewer than 25 followers on Twitter and the creator of The Cleveland Show? They're like the goths hanging out at the cemetery where Mock The Week jokes go to get buried.
For obvious reasons, this is as uninteresting to read as it must have been to write. But then you realise that Seth MacFarlane looks like a false breast made in the image of Ricky Gervais with little bits of hair stuck on it, and it just becomes a bit weird to imagine that this is someone people might actually fantasise about. Especially given that the only people who are realistically going to find Seth MacFarlane attractive are Family Guy and American Dad fans and they don't need any extra encouragement to masturbate. And they're probably vague homophobes with genitals that smell like Doritos. So fuck them.
Shitty Buzzfeed List #2: Things Worse Than Learning Beyoncé Lip-Synched At The Inauguration
(link) – 295,915 views
Shitty Buzzfeed List #3: The Fiercest Moments From Beyoncé's Halftime Show
(link) – 1,171,292 views
Being the kind of people who have "OMG" emblazoned in giant letters on the walls of their office, the Buzzfeed crew are obsessed with Beyoncé. Clearly they've bought into that weird construct that became a cliche of the left-leaning media a few years back; that liking Beyoncé somehow makes you an alternative thinker among left-leaning writers.
Okay, so they're stupid and a bit odious, but you can't expect Buzzfeed on Beyoncé to be Norman Mailer on Marilyn Monroe. The real question is: Who's reading them (1.4m combined views and counting)? It makes you wonder if there's some kind of meme-based payola thing going on, or if Beyoncé's thinking about what's going to be on Buzzfeed tomorrow while she's up onstage, entrancing the planet with her heroic thighs.
Photo by Gage Skidmore
Shitty Buzzfeed List #4: 37 Things Conservatives Would Rather Do Than Watch Obama's State Of The Union Speech
(link) – 593 Likes
Lists like these come from a political stance that's slightly below sixth-form level in the complexity stakes. Basically, Obama and Jennifer Lawrence are going to save the world by banning all the guns and letting all the gays get married, while anybody who doesn't agree is an – AWKWARD, FAIL – old fart, or nasty old meanie who goes loldog strangling with Sarah Palin and could really do with the Glee boxset in their lives.
To be fair, back in January last year, Buzzfeed broke the news that US Senator John McCain would be endorsing his old rival Mitt Romney's bid for the American presidency, which is a real (if unbelievably dull) story. They've also spoken openly of wanting to do more political content, so everything I've just said could soon be rendered completely redundant. But if that content turns out to be just a list of reductive caricatures of Barack Obama as the "cool black guy", then y'know, what's the fucking point?
Shitty Buzzfeed List #5: 12 Reasons Why Sam The Cat With Eyebrows Should Be Your New Favourite Cat
(link) – 165,173 views
Shitty Buzzfeed List #6: 15 Hedgehogs With Things That Look Like Hedgehogs
(link) – 15k Likes
It's hard to take a pop at cute internet shit without seeming like you're made from bastard-grade titanium and share a blood boosting doctor with Will Self, because a lot of it is, undeniably, cute. It's also true that employers are currently able to ramp up your unpaid overtime indefinitely because they know you can't and won't quit, so some kind of escapism is needed. The cinemas are too expensive for the jobless to congregate in these days and realistically looking at pictures of slow lorises is a far healthier way of perking yourself up than 50ml of Cipramil at lunch.
But Buzzfeed have turned this kind of thing into an industry, sending scouts out to hunt far and wide for animals that look slightly more human than other animals. Unsurprisingly, it's all getting a little bit predictable. You lap it up now, but one day they're going to run out of animals and we're gonna be left staring at pictures of sea cucumbers that look like they might be smiling if you squint enough, and sending each other "disappointed praying mantis" image macros.
Photo by Ton Haex
Of course, there's more to life than just pop stars' facial expressions and pictures of Pogs – Buzzfeed are also interested in the crazy world of science! Given the power the Christian right still wields in the US, you can see why these lists exist – fine, bait Creationists, but doing it with pictures of Einstein looking "super chill" is essentially falling into every conservative trap ever laid about young liberal people being wantonly vapid and image conscious (yes, it's typified by this).
At least when Republicans lose their shit about Ayn Rand they prostrate themselves like Masons before an Anubis statue, and that at least seems real. This "science lol" stuff pussyfies atheists to the point where it'd be funny to watch them twitching uncomfortably for the rest of eternity in the sixth circle of hell. All I'm saying is, this is shitty propaganda. I'd be willing to bet there aren't many people who've grown up in the bosom of the Church who'll see a video of Neil deGrasse Tyson moonwalking and think: 'Oh, riiiiiiiight, now I get it; religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise, duh.”
Shitty Buzzfeed List #9: The 15 Hardest "Would You Rather" Questions
(link) – 405,197 views
I understand that these are experiences that all of us (or 405,197 of us, at least) can relate to. But really, "would you rather questions"? "Would You Rather" questions as in:
It's the way this list is presented that really grates. What's with this creeping infantilism on the internet? Why are we all talking to each other like children? Why insist on writing like a Californian toddler if you're a highly educated New Yorker?
Photo by Will White
Shitty Buzzfeed List #10: Best Lunchtime Snacks Of All Time
(link) – 217,959 views
Shitty Buzzfeed List #11: 25 Ways To Tell You're A Kid Of The 90s
(link) – 3,598,200 views
It takes several years' distance to truly process and understand the aesthetics of the past. In the past few years, we've just about cracked the 90s', so it makes sense that a large part of the internet's function in society is to remind us every single day about how much Kel from Kenan & Kel liked orange soda.
But you know what, screw 90s fetishism. We've been putting up with it for about six years now and that's more than half the fucking time that the 90s actually existed. Yes, people did watch Sister, Sister, wear OshKosh and eat Pop Tarts, but there was also Slobodan Miloševic and the assassination of Gianni Versace. These lists are as accurate a reflection of the era as retro tea dances are to the Blitz. It might even it out if Buzzfeed did one called, "12 Victims Of Dylan Klebold And Eric Harris Who Never Lived To See Beyond The 1990s", but I think that might spoil all the fun people are having pretending to be Ashanti.
Shitty Buzzfeed List #12: Problems People Had In The 00s
(link) – 504,183 views
Funny, I didn't see "the rise of jihadism" on this list?
Shitty Buzzfeed List #13: 20 Things That Will Make You Say NOOOOOOO
(link) – 643,796 views
Jesus Christ, they must have really had a slow day in the office for this one. A series of GIFs in which unfortunate things happen to people? Who finds this funny? Who is this list for? People who've been on suicide watch since they canned Scrubs? I give up.
I suppose there is an impressive side to what Buzzfeed do, they seem to understand the human urge to share and the power of crushing boredom like no one else. But that doesn't mean they're not getting rich off of our addiction to sugary meme shite. Think of them as McDonald's if they showed you pictures of cool cows in hats rather than simply murdering them with a stun gun. Which, to be fair, is better for the cows.
This article was edited at 13:18 on 05/03/13 to reflect that it was in fact Kel from Kenan & Kel who liked orange soda.
Follow Clive on Twitter: @thugclive
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