We've been fooled a lot by stuff on the Internet lately. Between an airplane note-passing battle that never happened and a gay Marine waitress who wasn't denied a tip by a homophobic couple, we're starting to feel a little jaded over here at Happy Place. And we want you to feel jaded, too.
So, there's no easy way to tell you this. But everything you know and love on the Internet is fake. Every time you see something on the Internet and think "That's cute!" or "That's funny!" what you should really be thinking is, "Why are these bastards trying to screw with me?" We need to stop taking the bait so easily, and that begins by facing the facts about which viral videos you still stupidly thought were real that are actually edited, staged, or completely fabricated.
For starters, here are 7 viral Internet vids that you may not realize are fake:
7. Star Wars Kid. Yep, the viral video that started it all is also the viral video that started the trend of not being real. That really is Canadian student Ghyslain Raza flailing around with a golf ball retriever like he's some kind of Jedi Master. But Raza was in on the joke the whole time. In fact, back in 2002, he's the one who realized that his hilariously awkward video was likely to get passed around and encouraged some other kids in his class to share it (with his full permission). Now, he's turned being bullied into a lucrative career as a motivational speaker. Guess we're the ones who should be feeling completely humiliated!
6. Rusty the Narcoleptic Dog. A generation of college psychology students fell in love with Rusty the Narcoleptic Dog, and the Internet did as well. Totally cute, right? Only one problem: dogs don't get narcolepsy. The phenomenon of falling asleep without warning during waking hours has only been identified in humans and, most recently, squirrels. This pup—real name "Lucy"—is simply a highly trained Dachshund capable of flopping over on cue. Wait a minute, that squirrel thing is probably fake too, isn't it? Dammit.
5. Charlie Bit Me! Okay, okay, Harry. You can stop faking it now. The fact is that Charlie never bit Harry's finger. The whole thing was staged by the boys' mom, who was looking to make a little bit of extra YouTube cash and asked the kids to put British accents on as well because she "thought it would be mega cute." Charlie was—and still is!—an exceptionally well-mannered young boy who complained between takes that he was worried he was really hurting his brother. Harry, for his part, wanted Charlie to bite harder because he was having a hard time pretending "it hurts." Today, Charlie and Harry have a traveling stage act that includes the famous—but fake!—"biting" sequence.
4. The 1969 Moon Landing. Before you get all up in arms, let me make one thing clear: The moon landing was real. But this viral video of the moon landing, uploaded in February 2006, was faked on a sound stage in California in late 2005. The quality of the original footage was too bad for modern audiences to believe it was real, and YouTubers were hungry for a moon landing video they could really sink their teeth into—especially one with a waving American flag. Pause the video at 0:46 and you'll see a ticket stub for Brokeback Mountain poking out of Armstrong's spacesuit. Now that's a conspiracy theory anyone sensible would believe in!
3. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech. Unlike the moon landing, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech really was faked. In fact, it's pretty obviously an attempt at viral marketing by executives at the National Broadcasting Company. Yes, Dr. King really did make a speech that day, but he was exhausted and overwhelmed by the number of people present, and it ended up being mostly a convoluted metaphor about Junior Mints. The video footage is real, but the sound was edited in afterward using a speech written by a team of writers from I Dream of Jeannie. The new video, packaged as King's now-infamous "Someone told this black man he wasn't an equal. How he responded will make you cry" speech, went viral, reaching over 24 people, which in the '60s was a lot.
2. The 2007 Live CNN Democratic Primary YouTube Debate. In July 2007, CNN hosted the first ever "YouTube Debate" during the run-up to the Democratic Presidential Primary. Candidates answered questions in real time from YouTube users, and the debate was also livestreammed on YouTube. Okay, actually this one is pretty obviously fake. A couple of moron executives at CNN got it into their heads that using the word "YouTube" more would result in higher ratings and make them seem more Internet-savvy and get everyone bigger offices. The whole thing was edited together weeks in advance using clips sent in by the candidates' representatives, which led to a pretty awkward moment when Joe Biden appears to answer a question about tax reform by saying he would do everything in his power to bring our boys home soon. Basically, it's super fake, but no one watched it anyway.
1. Psy's Gangnam Style. This video wasn't faked so much as it was a collective fever dream that we may never recover from. This video doesn't exist except in your mind. Clicking above to play this video will only result in the activation of a sense memory stored months ago by your subconscious. Also, it will get stuck in your head. Don't do it!
(by Shira Rachel Danan)