Emotional Overreaction and the Interwebs

Earlier this week I was on YouTube watching videos of Jensen Ackles singing (hush, I'm not obsessed, I don't even know his address... yet).

But I noted a common reaction among fans which was something like, "OMG so beautiful-crying" or "OMG bawling my eyes out" and I thought to myself, That's a bit of an overreaction. I mean he's talented. He's attractive. The songs were pretty. But bawling? Seemed extreme. I noticed other YouTube videos of con panels had similar comments. I chalked it up to melodramatic fandom teens and went about my business. Then I began noticing it on Facebook, amongst my thirty-something and up friends and family. Especially on cute cat videos and those cheesy memes that always say things like, Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.

Which, as an aside, I love me some wise and witty quotes but when I read stuff like that, I always think, What if the person reading that is a sociopath planning their first crime? Some dreams really shouldn't be realized just because we have them. Like the one where I eat an entire chocolate cake and then get freaky with Ryan Gosling. The reality of that would be much different than my fevered imaginings. Mostly because I've got The Diabeetus and I'd drop dead from cake overdose long before I managed to knock boots with the Baby Goose.
 
I digress. I noted that on those cheesy memes and sappy videos, comments like, "OMG crying over here, so beautiful!" and it turned out to be an inspirational advertisement for a soft drink company. Or "This is UNBELIEVABLE! The most hilarious thing I've ever seen" and it's a video of a cat batting at someone through the mail slot. Cute yeah. Worth all-caps and total disbelief? Maybe if you've never seen a cat before in your life -- and if you have an internet connection, I don't think that's possible. The internet is pretty much stitched together by cat videos and porn (and trimmed with creepy fanfic that intersects both).

The whole thing made me think about one of my favorite books from my teen years. Despite my love of frothy romance, my preferred genre used to be dystopian fiction. I love angsty, sad novels about human hubris. The Giver was one of my favorites. If I'm remembering correctly, the lives of the citizens of Community are ones of bland conformity. Their needs are met, they're comfortable and have no real strife. Because of this, they lack emotional depth. Having never experienced strong emotions of any kind, they use intense words like hate, rage and fury to describe mild emotions like irritation and displeasure. 


Shortly after thinking about this, I was eating a lovely meal and a nice restaurant and I told my husband, "This food is AMAZING." I said it in all-caps too. But was it amazing? Not really. I wasn't astonished. I didn't wonder at it's majesty. It was just really tasty chicken shawarma. 


 It's interesting to me that most dystopian fiction features monolithic government or rulers who create the dumb-ing down/emotional dampening of society in the name of progress; Big Brother and the like. But the fact is, we are dumb-ing ourselves down just fine without any help. It's not even for progress. It's for brevity and perhaps attention. It's like everyone reverted to being thirteen and now we're stuck there.

I don't have any answers. The whole things seemed silly and worth blathering on about. Why do you think language is becoming more melodramatic? Because, OMFG, it's, like, seriously making me want to bawl my eyes out.
 


 **Bonus question: What did you learn about me today? That I fantasize about cake before I fantasize about Ryan Gosling nude? Or that when I'm not slaving away on my novel, I spend way too much watching YouTube videos of the cast of Supernatural at con panels? Or perhaps did you learn that I know more than is healthy about internet porn and creepy fanfic?

***Another Bonus: Jensen Ackles and the talented Jason Manns singing the isht out of The Weight. Le Swoon. Skip to 1m 30s if you want to get right to it. Part of why I love it so much is that Jensen is clearly nervous and has the same look on his face when he thinks he screwed up that my husband gets when he plays guitar and messes up; that sheepish, perfectionist eye roll at himself. It's endearing.