Our Curious Obsession With the Ridiculous
February 4, 2013 7:15 PM   Subscribe

Our Curious Obsession With the Ridiculous
For its ten-year anniversary, online magazine The Millions has kicked off its new series of shorter-form ebook originals with: Epic Fail: Bad Art, Viral Fame, and the History of the Worst Thing Ever.

Dublin-based writer Mark O'Connell (who in the past has explored such oddities as Martin Amis's guide to classic video games and the phenomenon of the unboxing video) now turns his attention to the phenomenon of unexpected viral fame for producing a spectacularly bad work of art.

One might, he writes, first look all the way back to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and the "tragical mirth" of its play within a play. And from there to Amanda McKittrick Ros, famously the worst novelist in history and famously bad poet William McGonagall.

Of course, nowadays (by way of Sontag's "Notes on Camp") this once esoteric phenomenon has surged into the mainstream, where "what Marshall McLuhan famously referred to as the Global Village now anoints a new Global Village Idiot every other week."

And what, really, should we make of the "facepalm fresco," Rebecca Black and Tommy Wiseau's "The Room"? More importantly, what should we make of the cacophonous global reactions to them?

O'Connell's discoveries may make you think twice the next time someone passes along a link to the latest, greatest "Epic Fail."
Role: Editor
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