There are many sub-categories and somewhat self-enclosed communities on the Internet. Each has their own particular set of users. Redditors seem to trade memes back and forth; 4chaners are best left to their own devices; and Twitter … ers? Twitters? Twits? Are mostly frustrated comedians stealing each others’ jokes and waiting for celebrities and businesses to screw up in real time. And then there’s Tumblr.
Tumblr is a bizzare niche. It’s like blogging, only everyone’s blogs look like they were designed on Blogger 10 years ago. For the most part, it’s used to promote artsy pornography and document every instance of sexism or racism in history. But, every so often, Tumblr-ers try their hand at actual fields of study. It goes about as well as you’d expect: a lot of misinformation spread quickly because “somebody got told.”
CEO and former Google employee, Marissa Mayer, believes that buying the Internet-ancient free-to-use blog site is exactly what the Ask Jeeves-contemporary needs to branch into “revolutionary” social networking.
Yahoo previously bought Flickr for $35 million and GeoCities for $3.6 billion, making Mayer the CEO of either the Internet’s first online museum or elephant graveyard.
Tumblr has long billed itself as a blogging platform that’s more adaptable than a traditional blog platform, but with keeping the same feel of a blog. However, it’s really just a mash-up of traditional blogs and Twitter used almost exclusively to host Internet memes. Tumblr sites seem to have the shelf life of tuna salad.
One of the newest photo memes out there is “baguetting.” This means taking a picture of a scene where an object or body part has been substituted for — say it with us — a baguette. This is a thing now, because George Takei, lord of the Internets, has taken part in it.
Daniel Tosh recently issued an apology for what someone quoting somebody else on Tumblr described as comedy word rape. It was probably the best way for Tosh to handle the situation given that nobody wants to even remotely look like they’re defending rape. And if things went down they way the anonymous friend-of-a-friend says, then yeah, apology (his) and scorn (hers) deserved.
However, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard that it’s never acceptable to joke about rape. (The last time I was told this was by a drunk pseudo-lesbian trying to axe kick my head, so you can see how well I learned.) It’s also not the first time I’ve heard that it’s wrong to joke about cancer, AIDS, 9/11, abortion, poverty, drugs, war, spiders or death.
I’ve heard the explanation: it’s wrong to trivialize things that people find morally repugnant. Or, really: it’s wrong to make people laugh about things they find morally repugnant because making them laugh involuntarily is rape. It’s never, of course: people shouldn’t laugh at jokes about morally repugnant things.
Although I think the principal is as admirable as it is misguided, I agree in one regard: I wish painful, terrible topics weren’t fodder for comedy, because that would mean they aren’t problems any more. After all, do you think your average 23rd Century Federation citizen would get jokes about poverty or gender and racial inequality? Not unless they’ve been hanging around Ferengi gree worm farmers. (Yeah, I said it.)