Touch Grass: Ever Given Anniversary

"Touch Grass" witha picture of the Ever Given in a party had with balloons, flanked by party emojis, above grass

Three years ago today, the ship named Ever Given did a silly thing.  It jammed the Suez Canal and disrupted global shipping.  The Internet still hasn’t recovered.

In March of 2021, many of us were in various stages of COVID-19 lockdown.  We’d either been continuously shut in for about a year or locked down in waves as it moved through our communities.  Besides the unique horrors that the pandemic brought, we had our usual horrible non-pandemic disasters, an insurrection, a coup, and I think there was even murder hornets in there somewhere.  I don’t know. I might have hallucinated that. But basically we were all exhausted, so a boat clogging up one of the most important shipping routes and screwing up the economy was hilarious.

The memes were gorgeous.  People created art.  There was even cosplay.  Somehow this stupid boat provided a level of catharsis to an increasingly sardonic Internet crowd.  It was a glorious gift.  An unexpected and darkly funny catastrophe to add to the pile of horrors.

I wanted to write about it at the time, but it didn’t really fit in with our usual coverage.  We tend to talk science fiction, comics, anime, and stuff along those lines.  We don’t really talk about shipping accidents (though we do talk a lot of shipping).  So I shelved the topic and moved on with life.

In the years since this happened, however, the Internet social media landscape has shifted rapidly.  Twitter is in it’s death knell (subscribe to our Patreon because it’s really hurt us, man), replacements are popping up with various degrees of success (follow us on BlueSky and Threads), and yet somehow the unhinged nature of these viral Internet moments has only continued to grow.

And then I had a dream…

The past few weeks have been filled with numerous viral moments, from the initially funny but recently revealed to be unfortunate terrible PR from Kensington Palace, to the darkly morbid Boeing and United Airlines mess.  The desire to explain all this madness seeped into my subconscious and spat out a weird dream. In said dream, I hosted a podcast called Touch Grass, where we discussed these sort of shenanigans as they unfolded. When I woke up, I kind of wanted to do it.  Unfortunately, I’m a terrible sound editor so doing a podcast was off the table. 

Writing though… writing I could do.

The way these Internet Moments spread, spawn memes, in-jokes, and drama closely parallels fandom culture, which is an interest of mine and something that we cover heavily here at the Geekiary.  It’s just a different kind of fandom.  Internet fandom.  A crossroads where thousands of sub-communities meet, interact, and exchange moments. 

People who can understand these things are told they are ‘too online.’  And honestly, I can’t argue with that.  We are.  I am.  I’m just going to be honest about that here.  If anything, I am the one who needs to touch grass because I somehow always know about these situations fairly early, and end up informing other sardonic Internet people as it unfolds.

So welcome to Touch Grass, a new column where I discuss whatever happens to be sending the Internet into a tizzy at the moment.  I quite frankly pay too much attention to the goings on of Internet meme culture and how it spreads through various fandom and social media networks.  I really need to go touch some grass.  But before I do that, I’m going to tell you all about it.

Stay tuned for more installments!

 

Author: Angel Wilson

Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.


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