It would not be utterly absurd to declare that all humans exist on a spectrum of eccentricity. Indeed, every individual possesses their own personal quirks, their own set of habits and their own preferences for entertainment. Some people gush at the seams, to the point of manic reverence, for the incomprehensibly annoying Justin Bieber, while others much prefer the dulcet monotones of Mumford & Sons or even the ear melting, nonsensical rage of Slayer. Some people are irritated so much by the stacking of a dishwasher that GBH is a result not unheard of, others so laid back a rat could defecate on their face without so much as a twitch. Similarly, the Guiness Book of World Records is littered with bizarre accomplishments, such as the longest fingers nails (33inch), the most t-shirts worn at one time (121) or typing every number up to 1 million, a feat which took a staggering 16 years and 7 months and over 19,000 sheets of paper. Without these people our world would be a dull, miserable place residing permanently in a low greyscale. As such, these eccentricities should be unquestionably embraced if we are to avoid the otherwise inevitability of a world possessing all the excitement of a rainy Milton Keynes.
There is certainly no place on Earth that demonstrates the eccentricity spectrum better than the internet. A hive of procrastination where even the most mundane situations can acquire the attention of millions, it is a forum for endless creativity, bizarre depravity and relentless masturbation. The most common platform is of course YouTube, a phenomenon that sees countless parties, gatherings and other social occasions inexorably interrupted by one inebriated individual screaming “Have you seen the one where the chimp rapes the frog?” And so the evening spirals further and further down into the gutter, making the seemingly innocent stops at the ‘Numa Numa guy’, the sleepwalking dog and ‘Snatchwars’ before the inescapable descent into ‘2 girls 1 cup’ and ‘1 man 1 glass’. Whether you’re the thirteen year old promptly vomiting into his shandy or the middle aged loner secretly aroused, it is a pattern everyone can relate to and one certain to continue over the years to come.
While some people may sneer at the vast amount of time spent on video sharing sites such as YouTube, boldly declaring that watching hours of inane attempts at comedy is as intellectually nourishing as reading an orange, appealing only to a nation’s youth pandemic with undiagnosed ADHD, others may argue that they provide an unparalleled networking opportunity, a way to get your voice heard when no one around you will listen. Just look at the success of artists such as Lilly Allen, who first shared her music on MySpace, or the millions of views on charity virals trying to spread their message, and even the unrestricted access to world culture such as anime and foreign film. Not only is it a place for human eccentricity to take the spotlight, shining in all it’s stop motion, animal infested glory, but it’s a place where people can exist and succeed where attempts in reality failed.
A relatively unappreciated example of this is online flash videos. Adobe Flash is a programme used internet-wide every millisecond of every day. Every time a video is watched on YouTube, a web-based game is played or even if graphics flash across the screen, chances are it was made in flash. Yet, not many people know that there is an entire community of amateur artists who use this programme to create beautiful, hilarious and absurd animations. Stories such as the six-part Korean made ‘There she is’ series, a tale of the forbidden love between a cat and a rabbit, or the brilliantly made adventure of a hybrid zombie named Dirge battling the ravenous forces of the mindless, or even memorable characters such as Salad Fingers, weebl and the Clock Crew are prime examples of how much can be achieved with a simple animation programme and the human capacity for innovation. Sure much of the site is inundated with game and film parodies, but hidden amongst the relative unoriginality are priceless gems of incredible creativity and story telling, as well as a talent any Pixar employee would envy.
It’s easy to dismiss the internet as a breeding ground for procrastination and irrelevance, with those against it furiously arguing that the hour spent watching a squirrel jump into a brick wall could have been better spent reading George Orwell or crafting a sonnet. Yet, these ignorant individuals have missed the opportunities such an unrestricted forum presents. If the spectrum of human eccentricity is something to be celebrated, and it is, then the internet should be commended for being the ultimate representative of its cause, a permanent and devastating weapon in the war against mundanity. The endless possibilities for humour and awe that YouTube provides, with numerous honorariums to human greatness and absurdity, are both immensely enjoyable and illuminating. Similarly, the rich and inspiring catalogue of amateur made flash movies show just how much can be achieved if human inspiration is allowed to roam free. So, next time you’re at home during the day watching the ludicrously dull Heir Hunters, turn it off, log on to www.newgrounds.com/portal and prepare to be amazed.