Slacktory

Videogum viral montage

The Best Viral Videos Of 2011: A Retrospective | Videogum

It’s over 4 minutes and it still feels cramped and skimpy (but excellent!). It leaves out Ted Williams the golden-voiced hobo, Asians in the Library, Jim Carrey’s creepy message to Emma Stone, Benton, and probably a million people misbehaving on trains. And yet it catches dozens of things that other year-in-virals montages missed. That’s how huge our weird little internet has gotten.

Earlier this year I asked Greg Rutter if he’d ever make a third 99-item You Should Have Seen This list. He said there’s just too much stuff now; he wouldn’t dare to try defining a canon now.

Videogum’s montage includes 79 videos. (Last year: 57. 2009: 17.) No one can see all the memes any more. If you’re watching all the videos, you’re missing some of the advice memes, or the 4chan threads, or the Reddit novelty accounts or the Ryan Gosling Tumblrs or this Russian offshoot of face takeovers…

This August, Videogum’s Kelly Conaboy wondered if all the new viral videos were really as good as the old ones from the day when you could, you know, make a list of the 99 important viral videos. She decided yes, probably, they are. I agree. More of the funny, interesting shit in the world is now online.

And the “viral” world has qualitatively changed. A few years ago, Ted Williams might not have actually revived his voiceover career. No one was around to turn Cat Lady or Reality Hits You Hard Bro into music. Quirky local commercials weren’t made by professional, internet-savvy quirky local commercial producers. We’ve lost a kind of innocence, but you have to lose that to gain sophistication. No sense of camp means no Chuck Testa. No integration with mainstream media means no Rick Perry parodies driving his campaign into the ground. No sense of irony means no increasingly rarified Advice Animals. No capitalization means Antoine Dodson doesn’t get to move his family out of the projects.

So don’t worry. The weird parts of the internet are growing up, and that’s good for them. Growing up is good for all of us. So you’ll never see all the videos! That means there’s always something new to discover.

Double Dream Hands, everybody.

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