Because I am not transfixed by every single internet sensation, (like much of contemporary news) I found it incredulous when Today Show anchors were yammering on about “Yanny and Laurel”. When our area NBC station—WVLA—
participated in the hullabaloo, I was even more baffled.
My assertion is that: the memes of the internet are mock comedy when compared to the truthful catastrophes of gun violence, money laundering, climate change and ethnic bias.
I did what any person confused by a meme does. I asked my friend.
He told me that the “Yanny and Laurel” controversy dealt with how people’s struggle with hearing high frequencies. He said someone favors one name over the other. His story, valiant effort it was, gave me closure, even at the precipice of more inquiry.
Sitting alone, I pondered: What is there to be curious about here? I knew zero about what color “the dress” was.
Today, I ran across a find at Wired.com that cleared all the nefarious hi-jinks right up. After all, I couldn’t laugh at something that I didn’t understand.
Nervous people do that all the time because they want to be accepted. I’m beyond such a performance. Wired.com gives –readers and thinkers like me–the scoop behind why “Yanny and Laurel” is important. They tell me why I should care. There’s the link below.
They say that in an English class far, far away some student had a vocabulary word and used Vocabulary.com as a source. The audio version of the word “laurel” sounded opaque and a meme was born. The question I want to ask is: Why couldn’t this student have used Merriam-Webster or Cambridge Dictionary to learn the meaning of a vocabulary word?
Of course, she’s a freshman in high school. So, notably when you’re a freshman in high school, you’re taking shortcuts to learn the material. I know I was an UN-interested high school freshman, more interested in being seen and finding friends than getting my education.
This isn’t an insult to the person who sparked the meme. It just goes to show us how people in America can find really quirky things fun and entertaining thereby creating the surprising situations that make for interesting news stories. At the end of it all, I’m not mad that the story became viral.
I’m not angry about opera singers recording words for a website. I’m disheartened that I had to go to Wired.com to get the context and background for why the story was relevant. And that is an indirectly horrible lesson for how the internet influences how often we as American people participate in critical thinking. Maybe, I’m reading too much into the story. Or maybe I’m just scared at what predictable foolishness in pop culture we’ll report next. #timewasters