“I’m too smart for clickbait,” you reassure yourself.
You’re sitting in your oak-paneled study, poring over the latest edition of your favorite book (the Dictionary, of course). You finally reach the word “antelope” when you decide to treat yourself to a bottle of Bordeaux and some Internet time (to make fun of the philistines who would use such a thing). You pour yourself a glass of wine and log on to Facebook, swiftly posting a status about how you never check Facebook and would rather return to your beloved dictionary.
You scroll down your news feed when you see it: “10 Reasons Why Boxed Wine is the Best.” You choke for a moment. You click the link to investigate this madness. The article is preposterous. Why, one of the reasons they gave is “Because you can fit more pizza in the fridge” followed by an image of that horrid Jennifer Lawrence woman dancing about. Your monocle fogs from the heat of your disgust as you click another article to try and escape this hell.
Zounds! A questionnaire: “Which Magic Mike hunk is your soulmate?” First this website assumed wretched things about wine, now they dare peer into your very soul? You, unafraid, dive into the abyss. You do everything in your power to convey your status as an intelligent, cultured person with far more important things to do than this quiz. “Crunchy or puffed Cheetos?” You would much prefer a salmon trout tartare, but you suppose your sophisticated palate will tolerate the crunchy Cheetos more than the garish puffed ones. You give each insipid question the same academic consideration until you receive your results: Tarzan is your soulmate. You are appalled. This is most certainly not a man of culture and you simply detest the thought of sharing the rest of your life with him. Having to cook his meals and darn his socks when he cares not for the fine arts.
Tis no matter — you can depart this gloomy domestic partnership on a hopeful note: “20 Reasons Why Books are Better than People.” Yes. This is it. The bridge between you and the common man. Perhaps you will finally understand the appeal of this Internet contraption that you so diligently rail against. You enthusiastically click, but when the page loads, your eyes are stained by another dancing image of that terrible Jennifer Lawrence with a slice of pizza. The overstimulation sends you into a tailspin and you find yourself clicking maniacally.
“8 Puppies that Look like Chandler from Friends”
“This Grandma Draws Feminist Disney Princesses”
“Chandler from Friends Buys Feminist Grandma a Puppy”
“Why Puffy Cheetos are Better”
“Feminist Puppy from Friends Eats Puffy Cheetos—You won’t BELIEVE what happens next!!!”
You interests evolve to fit all that you’ve taken in. Your wine has been sitting out too long. Your beloved Dictionary has gathered an unforgivable layer of dust. Your monocle shattered ages ago under the pressure of your strained brow. You rub your exhausted eyes to find that your fingers are caked in Cheeto dust. You look down and discover that your ascot has been replaced with a Despicable Me Minions t-shirt.
“How do I know what Minions are?” you ask yourself.
You look back up at your screen. You’ve posted 37 Minion memes on Facebook, all of which you found on the article “37 Times You Related to Minions.” You scan the page. A Minion with crossed arms stares at you surrounded by the text “It’s Monday. I need chocolate.” You don’t relate to that in the slightest. Yet you posted it with a “LOL.” And you got 5 “likes” (more than any of your quarterly philosophical musings have gotten in the past three years).
The endorphins rush. You let out a hearty laugh. “CHOCOLATE!” you exclaim. What’s today? Saturday? Curses! You must wait two more days for the chocolate to be justifiably consumed. Oh, how you hate Mondays. You will expend all your energy to have them removed from this world. Armed with Minion memes and Jennifer Lawrence gifs, your holy campaign against Mondays shall endure until the last cocoa bean is consumed. You click tirelessly through the various tabs you have opened to stock your artillery, but not before reading at least three more articles on “The Worst Eyebrows in Hollywood.” And you won’t believe what happens next. You surrender to the madness. You are the madness.
And you were never, ever too smart for clickbait.