We all love a good distraction.
I’m pretty sure that’s why social networks were invented. I’m pretty sure that’s why BuzzFeed and Kim Kardashian have colossal followings. That’s why there are soap operas, One Direction and Kanye West. They’re entertaining. They’re distracting. But for Christ’s sake, it has come to a boiling point. Over the colour of a fucking dress. And two llamas on the loose. It goes without question that the Internet is great. Its unprecedented ability to connect the world, to share stories, to hook-up for some ass based on your proximity and shallow-as-a-kiddy-pool vanity via Tinder, for Anonymous and Wikileaks to hold governments accountable and for us to all come out in droves to adamantly debate the colour of a dress.
We vote with our attention. We’ll be fed what we demand, which can be distractions or the truth.
Listen, optical illusions have existed forever. Have we all forgotten about those optical illusion books no one bought but we all stole from the school’s library? You know, Magic Eye, the book where you had to cross your eyes and the page evoked a momentary kid-friendly LSD-trip. If you didn’t see the illusion, you were uncool and clearly inferior as a human. Oh, the ‘90s.
The underlying evil is that we get so caught up with distractions. They take over. They become blinders to real issues. Herein lies the issue. If we’re all so collectively losing our shit over optical illusions—seriously, this shit is so basic it makes Criss Angel look like a goddamn genius, which he sure as hell is not—things that matter like one of Russia’s main opposition leaders being shot dead in cold blood fall to the wayside. Putin has assumed “personal control” over the investigation, which is a joke, as Boris Nemtsov was the opposition. But we’re not holding Putin accountable. He’s too far away. Instead we’re watching two llamas evade capture.
I get it. It’s easy to get distracted. To zone out. To not care what’s going on the other side of the world. To think we can’t make a difference by giving shit about what’s happening between Russia and Ukraine. But it matters. We vote with our attention. We’ll be fed what we demand, which can be distractions or the truth. This article won’t get shared as much as most pieces on Plaid Zebra. None of this is an easy pill to swallow, which again, let’s be frank, is another distraction. (Drugs are the ultimate distraction.) I’m not saying that you have to always give a fuck about what’s going on in the world. It’s a messed up place, I get it. It’s bloody overwhelming. But by us collectively turning our backs and distracting ourselves with Kanye West being a dickhead, we’re, in a way, watering down the power of the Internet. The dress is white and gold by the way, you maniacs.
A version of this article was originally published on Plaid Zebra.