Jonah Peretti’s Hollywood Kabbalah Center of Internet Memes—better known to the general public as Buzzfeed—has been the target of a few sardonic, condescending takes on their business, by critics, casual observers, and media pundits alike, some of them well-reasoned, others being generally piss-poor (see above).
The idea that a site can wildly succeed as a meme factory, a listicle aggregator, and as of recently, a serious news operation rubs some folks the wrong way. The most recent source of attack was the web presence of McSweeney’s, the San Francisco-based publishing house (and internet humor destination widely known for—but of course—their lists).
McSweeney’s recently published a list by one Jory John entitled “Suggested Buzzfeed Articles.” Among the titles were “15 Ways to Obliterate a Tree” and “3 Opera Singers Covered in Day-Old Newspapers,” both of which made this braindead, heat-stroked writer chuckle (as a McSweeney’s list will sometimes do), the joke being: Here is the extreme version lampooning the extent to which Buzzfeed will go to make a list for their website, for which sometimes they can be found reaching.
So Buzzfeed answered them, by actually creating the articles Mr. Jory jokingly suggested, explaining:
McSweeneys was kind enough to suggest some articles for us and here, we make those suggestions a reality! If you’ve got a suggestion for an article we should do, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll do our best to make it happen!
- 11 Political Lessons We Learned From “Gilmore Girls”
- 29 Reasons to Hate Your Life
- Elvis Presley’s 42 Sweatiest Moments
- 3 Raccoons That Will Kill You And Your Family
- 50 Photos of Bill Clinton’s Forehead
- 18 Things To Scream At A Cow
- 10 Peaches That Resemble Pat Sajak
- 4 Inspiring Lance Bass Quotations
- The World’s 13 Laziest Salmon
- 25 Numbers Bigger Than 2
- 16 Beautiful Photos From Underneath A Bed
- 8 Surprising Uses For An Orange
- 10 Grizzly Bears Doffing Newsboy Caps
Yes. They actually made all of those.
For the lists that seem unlikely to be even remotely possible—like the Pat Sajak one, for example—they simply photoshopped the meme into reality. Others, like the 50 Pictures of Bill Clinton’s forehead, they aggregated into reality. It is as funny, canny, and absolutely as frightening a response they could muster. For all the wiseass moxie employed in making this a reality—which they appeared to start working on yesterday—there is an utterly odd and somewhat disconcerting boast at the heart of this: That anything can be turned into a meme or a list, no matter how absurd, uninteresting, or fictitious. Challenge this, and you’re daring them to excavate heretofore unmolested depths of Internet Ephemera, and bring them to the surface of the collective consciousness in response. Let this be a lesson to us all.
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