We’re all familiar with the Upworthy-style sensationalized horseshit click-bait headlines that are making us stupider every day. In fact they’ve become such a cliche that they’re almost impossible to parody anymore and the jokes about them have become equally as tedious. Even worse, the style, to no one’s surprise, has infected the serious news media. Look at this tweet yesterday from CNN Breaking News, for example:
What can we do, besides bitch about it? One brave soul by the name of Snipe has decided to make the matter into her own hands, developing a browser extension that translates the headlines into something a lot closer to the truth. The result, Downworthy, replaces familiar cliches from headlines on sites like Upwotthy and Viral Nova with more straightforward approximations of the content you can expect. A bit more explanation from the creator:
“Literally” becomes “Figuratively”
“Will Blow Your Mind” becomes “Might Perhaps Mildly Entertain You For a Moment”
“One Weird Trick” becomes “One Piece of Completely Anecdotal Horseshit”
“Go Viral” becomes “Be Overused So Much That You’ll Silently Pray for the Sweet Release of Death to Make it Stop”
“Can’t Even Handle” becomes “Can Totally Handle Without Any Significant Issue”
“Incredible” becomes “Painfully Ordinary”
“You Won’t Believe” becomes “In All Likelihood, You’ll Believe”
… and so on.
These articles are, in general, not nearly as bad as their titles – but the titles have become SO overblown, they’re meaningless and annoying. But people still click, so the trend continues. Consider this me doing my part to stop the insanity.
The list of cliches is being updated, and there are a few dozen more examples over at the Downworthy site. The Atlantic has a short primer on how something like this works on your browser. The answer just might divert your attention for a moment or two.