Happy Father’s Day, webtaculators!
Special mention to one particular dad – a confidant, savior, guide, muse, terrible-but-somehow-still-funny comedian, sage, healer… actually, this goes so far beyond what the basic definition of what a father is that someone should probably invent a new word for it, oh wait – got it. Dadtacular. Thanks for being the best Dadtacular I could have. Love you.
On to the news.
STORY OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Majority Leader No More
Why:Because this is the first time in history where a generally popular politician in a powerful position has lost in the PRIMARY.
ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (15 min. read)
What: The Value Of Feet
Why: Because the Copa Mundial and the part of the body the players use is worth a lot of money.
LAW THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. read)
What: Tesla’s Patents Are Belong To Us
Why: Because not only are Tesla’s patents open for most practical purposes, but we also learned that Elon Musk appreciates decade-old memes from derived from poorly translated Japanese video games.
FOOD THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: How Food Works
Why: Because you eat food, so you should know understand how it gets into your mouth.
HEALTH THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. watch)
What: Anderson Cooper Tries Out Schizophrenia
Why: Because this is one of the few diseases that humans can actually replicate, and the thought of having someone yelling at you constantly inside of your head terrifies me.
MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: A New Home For War
Why: Because I don’t think that Eisenhower himself realized the future reach of a weaponized public force.
SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: The World Cup Is In Full Swing
Why: Because anything is better than the Kings winning Lord Stanley’s Cup or the lackluster Heat driving their fans out of the stadium. Viva Futbol!
MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (13 min. watch)
What: If Everyone Is Super, Doesn’t That Mean No One Is?
MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. watch)
What: Psy’s Back
Why: Because this time he brought Snoop with him.
ANTI-LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK ()
What: I Hate Clickbait, And You Should Too.
Why: Because it’s rant time.
Clickbait has slowly but surely become the scourge of my daily internetting. Open Facebook, and you probably see one of your friends sharing something that includes the word “GENIUS,” “EPIC,” “AMAZING,” or “UNBELIEVABLE” (always in capital letters) claiming that you must read this story or watch this video because it is the best thing that has ever happened. Although webpages have always tried to find ways to draw your eyeballs to their content, with the proliferation of social media, and the growing importance of “shareable” content has led to the rise of Upworthy (with articles such as “This Video Might Hurt To Watch. Luckily, It Might Also Explain Why”), Uproxx (“Important: An Independent Baseball Team Is Wearing Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ Jacket Jerseys”) and the mother of them all, Buzzfeed (22 People Who Forgot To Be People).
Now, I have nothing against the the occasional listicle, or even a title that leads to actually decent information. However, the insistence that everything is absolutely the best must see thing ever produced dilutes from things that you actually should know about or read or watch. In fact, one of the reasons why I created Webtacular World in the first place was because so much good content is not actually making it through the din of blabber (Share if you agree!). Moreover, much of this content is more concerned with people sharing it or commenting on it than actually reading it, as noted by the very clever April Fools Day NPR Facebook post, which anyone who did not actually read the article would have only seen the title, and therefore commented on how lamentable it was that no one reads (although not so eloquently), thus showing that they themselves were part of the actual problem. An even bigger problem now though, is that in order to compete with views, legitimate news sources such as TIME or Slate are starting to resort to the same sort titles (“Eat Butter: Scientists Labeled Fat The Enemy. They Were Wrong” and “This Is What Happens When Your Foot Falls Asleep”). The problem is that these well researched originally reported articles now don’t differentiate themselves from the other drivel (ironically also a Slate article), and therefore have to compete with that drivel.
However, Webtacular World is not the only entity that has noticed this problem. Many outlets such as Clickbait Dissertations and Factbot have turned to humor to point out the inanity of this subset of titling. XKCD imagined clickbait through history. Most recently The Onion rolled out a new platform, Clickhole, comprised of entirely fake clickbait articles, which hopefully will produce enough nonsense and confusion to drive the practice out of journalism completely. So help out. Next time that friend of yours (definitely not you) posts a clickbait article, don’t share it. Don’t like it Don’t comment “OMG KITTENZ IS BEST” on it. Instead, find a real article with a real title and share that instead. Or just share Webtacular World. Together, with your help, we can end the scourge of clickbait, and use the internet for good.
FATHER’S DAY THING OF THE WEEK 1 min. watch)
What: Dad Pants
Why: Because you should just say no to them.
THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Any Of These When They Are Released
Why: Because Brian deserves it.
Managing Editor, Webtacular World
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