There comes a point in the lifespan of any disaster, George W. Bush’s presidency, say, where it becomes such an accurate representation of its own central joke, becomes what it is, in the Kierkegaardian sense, that it emerges almost parody-proof. Consider the erupting volcano of brain-melting internet lava Buzzfeed, for another example. For a long time now, the listicle industrial complex’s cruel merchants of mirthful doom have been churning out posts like 39 Signs You Grew Up In The ’90s, 35 Signs You Grew Up In Los Angeles In The ’90, or 26 Signs You Grew Up In NYC In The ’90s, each of which are delightful collections of pop culture references that any sentient consumer will have heard of, and upon recognizing their own membership in our collectively shared history, feel a sense of overwhelming belonging to the human race. urkeldance.gif is a powerful uniting force.
The joke about Buzzfeed has always been, then, that eventually they’ll just say, Fuck it, and start posting 25 Things You Have Heard Of, or 30 Things That Exist in the World lists. Haha, that would be the logical conclusion to the insidious joke, we all laughed. Well, that day has finally come. Shut ‘er down, we had a good run. Not just the internet. Everything, I mean. Shut it all down.
This recent list, 22 Ways To Know You Were A 20th Century Kid, has written the last chapter in Buzzfeed’s inevitable ascent, or descent, into becoming Buzzfeed. What is it, you might wonder? Another list of pop culture references? Some cutesy in-jokes for millennials to chuckle over in what passes for the feigned human-bonding rituals on social media? No, actually. It’s pictures of 22 things that were invented since 1900.
A few examples:
You’ve eaten perfectly sliced bread without having to get out a knife. You’ve used a microwave. You have played a video game.
In other words, you were born roughly within the past century, and you also still exist, and are capable of reading. And then, if you weren’t aware of what any of these things are, there’s a picture, and a description.
Here’s my addition to the list: One way to know if you’re a 20th century kid? Look at your license. What’s the date say? Cool. The end.