Enough Already With the Going-Viral Craze

It's 'calculated and intrusive': Mary Elizabeth Williams
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2011 3:35 PM CDT
A screen shot from the 'greatest proposal ever' video on YouTube.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – More than 9 million people have now watched the "greatest proposal ever" on YouTube. All the best, kids, writes Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon. But, please, let's give a rest to this got-to-go-viral craze. Stuff like this—along with flash mobs and insta-musicals—used to be fresh and clever a few years ago. "Now it's not just a tired trope, it's a public nuisance," writes Williams.

She's not immune to the "utterly magical" moments possible when people get together to play. "Yet there's something about the whole Improv Everywhere, all-the-world-is-my-stage ethos that's maddeningly calculated and intrusive," she writes. "It makes everyone within camera range not just a participant but, as a colleague describes, an 'audience victim.'" So "even if your mob never does flash in my path, permit me to hold my applause for a phenomenon that seems far less about having a good time than getting attention on YouTube." Click for the full column.

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