Bad stuff on the Internet is a league unto itself. It interrupts your mindless surfing with a jolt that temporarily ends the wheeling of your finger on the mouse scroll, instilling just as quickly some kind of extreme response. Is it shock? Revulsion? Laughter? Disbelief? Perhaps it’s all of those, combined with a blaze of fury as you continue looking at it and begin to wonder why it exists. Exist it does, but it may not be accompanied by an explanation. It merely nests on some area of the website you browse, steamy radiations of menace keeping it comfy in its dark, cold crevice. Bad things are posted all over the online world, tendrils wispy and stretched, awaiting passersby to ensnare in their unanticipated horror.
It is baffling to us how these creations come into being, and even more, why the creators decided to put them on the Internet. Didn’t they know what would happen? The havoc and hysterical laughter that would be wrought as the consequence of one simple click? Before they know it, the file in question has latched onto its host domain, hooks unfurling from its slimy underside and latching onto the webpage’s innermost sanctum. Code flicks in and out of view in a recess of HTML, shuddering into glitches under the ghastly influence of its new resident.
It is now embedded, for better or for worse. Like all antagonists, bad pieces of media can bring us together in our collective response to their absurdity. Even better than finding these monstrosities of nature are the inevitable wake of comments left behind, another forum full of what makes up the best and worst part of the Internet.
Randy, Domino’s pizza guy: What did I see. Literally, what did I just see.
Tai, AP History student: I’m pretty sure that was a parody
Delores, botanist: I saw the iguana at the middle and burst out laughing. There’s just, no way this can be an actual thing that people are supposed to take seriously.
Ranger, IT manager: My mind is seriously incapable of fathoming that this could exist as a real thing. It’s convinced me I’ve warped through the TARDIS…landing in the time of the Uncanny Valley. Movement is slow here. Nothing makes sense. This is alien and inhospitable and I now understand the meaning of clusterf*ck…ng the jingle sounds catchy though.
Jason, warehouse picker: BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Gracie Lynn, copyright attorney: A couple years ago I moved on from my career in Search and Rescue. I’m pretty sure whoever helped the creator on this was being held hostage.
They’re bad, random, and can throw off our whole day. But it is for the very presence of these bad things that I find them such a great part of the World Wide Web. Could we really call it our home away from home without the works of audacious Disney ripoffs, fan artists’ endless reincarnations of the Sonic universe, or the bad voice-acting that blanches an otherwise pretty cool video game? Perhaps the most famous of all is the 2003 cult smash The Room, a truly baffling film with a history and success as full of mystery as its unlikely director. Bad things exist on that exiled plane of being the things that cannot be replicated and the things we never want to make. In that unstable world lies a chemical twist that places them in their own special league. They are so bad, so unexpected, and almost so innocently posted online that I can’t help but appreciate their existence. They’re beautiful in their own way, just as much as they are terrible.
Equally as important is their necessity. We need these bad things, to entertain us, to humble us, and to put a massive twist of shock on the monotony of our ordinary lives. At the most erudite, they remind us that everyone starts somewhere. They don’t have to be antagonists. They can be bursts of spontaneity, revving up the chaotic neutrals of our day. Maybe we like them, maybe we don’t. But we can accept them for what they are, and enjoy them in their failtastic endeavors. And I don’t think that’s too bad of a thing in itself.