Laughing Baby vs. the YouTube commenters.

Culture and technology.
April 16 2008 1:23 PM

Laughing Baby vs. the YouTube Commenters

A battle of Internet good and Internet evil.

(Continued from Page 1)

Sounds like: Laughing Baby's cackle is compared to smoker's cough, an old man laughing, Conan O'Brien, the guy in Saw, "Chucky and Exorcist combined," and Joe Pesci.

Predictions: Laughing Baby will ... be a 350-pound American, grow up to be a cheerful person, be the next Jim Carrey, have a great personality, be a "freaking awesome person. maybe annoying at times. but freaking awesome," be a comedian, be a rapist or something, be an actor, be a politician, be a zookeeper, find a cure for cancer.

Advertisement

Sell-out advice: Laughing Baby should be on America's Funniest Home Videos. Laughing Baby's laugh should be sold as a ringtone.

Look at me: The slightly craftier spammers offer praise for Laughing Baby before plugging their own videos. This guy had the best pitch: "if you have 14 seconds. I have a life changing video on my profile. (you will never forget it until the day you die, and maybe even after that)."

Mean: The occasional commenter will get provoked by all the cute remarks and say that Laughing Baby has a "bigass forehead" or that he'd like to see Laughing Baby laughing "while engulfed in flames." These comments typically set off little wars, such as, "Don't hate on the baby," "You obviously have no life and no children," and so on.

Religious: Some commenters speculate that Laughing Baby might be the voice of God. I assume this is not meant literally, but rather that Laughing Baby was sent to YouTube by God to make us all happy. One commenter suggested that Laughing Baby "must be a jewish baby" (because he has a sense of humor?), while others assumed he was Buddhist, while still others asked that Allah make him a Muslim.

Insane: "Retarded human infant!!! I will destroy you all!!!!" and "Imagine the US president being honest like this baby—the world would be more peaceful, I think!"

After reading a few thousand comments, they begin to fade into similar patterns: cute, cute, cute, evil, spam, I think the baby is ugly, How can you think that!, cute, cute, I want to have a baby, cute, baby is high, look at my videos, cute, just like my kid, cute, LOL, cute, cute, etc., etc. It's soon overly clear that the comments aren't a conversation or debate. Laughing Baby has become an Internet monument, and posting a remark is like tagging your name on the Statue of Liberty.

Still, there is one meaningful debate that can be gleaned from the tumult. There are those who complain that Laughing Baby is a pointless waste of time, while others respond that happiness is made up of small, simple pleasures like the laughter of a little boy. It's a debate that speaks to the essence of YouTube itself. Do these little video distractions buoy our spirits and connect us to our fellow humans, or are we frittering away our time and talents with two-minute diversions? Do we laugh at the Laughing Baby, or is the Laughing Baby laughing at us?

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.