I know what the reaction to this will be before I even say it out loud, and to be honest, it only reinforces my view. The reaction will be some variation of: 'you think you're better than everyone else'; or, 'stop being so cynical'. Well let me tell you something, readers: without cynicism, we are nothing but Americans. And this godawful heartbreaking tripe seems to be daily pushed into my line of sight, into my periphery, without fail. It's the abomination, the fiery bag of dogshit on the doorstep of my psyche, the crème de la crème of soul crushing jejune nonsense. I'm talking about Boaty McBoatface, and I feel, in many ways, I have always been talking about Boaty McFuckingBoatface.
Increasingly, my mind is wandering to places it hasn't wandered before. I look out of bus windows, down to my phone, then back up and think, 'Maybe I should just go and open a sanctuary of some sort. Like an owl sanctuary, or maybe something for damaged livestock. Maybe I should rescue cows.' There is a desire in me that hasn't existed until this point, a kind of peculiar, simplistic nomadic wanderlust, where I just drink in tiny pubs in total silence, then go home and make a fire to burn printouts of famous people beefing on Twitter. I want to lay down in a field and look at the sky, then sit up and fire a bazooka in the direction of the Shard. Send a cruise missile to the internet. Launch a barrage of heat-seeking warheads to everyone with a Kickstarter tab open. I want to destroy and start again, take us back to the dark ages. I want to churn butter and die at the age of 35 as a result of a disease that no longer exists. So I'm an aspirational luddite – what's new? And what does this have to do with Boaty McBoatface?
To give some context for those lucky enough not to have been ensnared by this colossal example of human folly, the RRS Boaty McBoatface is front-runner of proposed names of a new £200million research vessel setting sail in 2019 in Antarctica. It's the result of a public vote after some #genius #legend suggested it. In second place on this poll lies the name of Henry Worsley, an explorer and father of two who fucking died in January attempting a daring solo crossing of the Antarctic.
Since the inception of this phenomenally crap joke, plaudits have poured in from every dickhead with a modem, a browser and a copy of Microsoft Word. Thinkpieces, tweets, Facebook posts, the cyclical, forgettable guffawing that follows every instance of a shit meme before it fades away into nothing, like vape smoke blown to the air from the mouth of a particularly egregious Arsenal fan. Except this won't be forgotten. The scientists aboard that vessel, around 90 in total, experts in their field, will have to board a ship called Boaty McBoatface, because British people have now infantilised and trending-topic-ed themselves to the point of catatonia. We have been royally thinkpieced out of our senses. Where once we were the noted wit of the world, now we join our homogenised brothers in being totally, idiotically facetious at every available opportunity. To me, this is now beyond a joke.
On Tuesday a train called 'Trainy McTrainface' pulled mutedly into Waterloo Station, a place named after the glorious victory we exercised over a tyrannical, empiric man. Trainy McTrainface. It's tweeted. It's hashtagged. It's picked up by online newsrooms. It's shared. And we all join hand in hand, dancing merrily around it as it wraps its tentacles around our feet and drags us into a hallucinatory nightmare of total shit. The cycle of bollocks continues unabated, and we're more than happy to pedal at its wheels.
British culture is trolling me right now. It is prodding me in the shoulder, like a pisshead looking for a fight outside McDonalds. How much longer can we allow this childish trend to continue? Are you happy to debase yourself, reader? To relinquish yourself of independent thought and let this tsunami of cultural effluence wash over you? We can still save it, friends. We can make Britain great again, but first you have to stop letting yourself be sucked in by trash. Criticise everything: nothing is ever good enough. Only once we reject this rank memeification can we be allowed to call ourselves an enlightened nation. Until then, Boaty McBoatface is a fittingly stupid monument to our own childish inadequacies. And if you voted for it over the name of that dead explorer, then fucking shame on you.
Photo via NERC
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