If you're anything like me, you spent an embarrassingly large chunk of yesterday on Clickhole, the new site from the Onion that—headline by headline and stock photo by stock photo—brutally, beautifully takes apart BuzzFeed, Upworthy, PolicyMic, and their ilk. Which means you've also realized the insidious brilliance of Clickhole: For a site parodying the increasingly inescapable PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST CLICK ON THIS FUCKING HEADLINE style of writing for the internet, Clickhole is worrisomely... clickable. And smart, too: Unlike parodying, say, a newspaper (said the guy who writes for a newspaper), the other clever thing about Clickhole's concept is that the thing it's making fun of is likely to stick around for a while. Regardless of how long BuzzFeed and the like keep clogging up Facebook, their influence will be felt long after they've left, like a party guest who takes an upper-decker.
I'm curious to see how Clickhole does, and at least part of that is a little insider-y: As someone who makes a living writing for the internet, Clickhole's belief that "each and every article—whether about pop culture, politics, internet trends, or social justice—should be clicked on and shared by hundreds of millions of internet users before they can even comprehend what they just read" is discomfitingly close to the currently pervasive mentality in journalism. But I'm also curious about it from the "other" side, as someone who spends a great deal of his life reading on the internet. I'm curious to see how Clickhole actually gets shared around: Having out-of-touch relatives or friends who believe what they read on the Onion is pretty common; I'm waiting to see how long it takes for the first earnest posting of a Clickhole quiz to show up on my Facebook timeline. It'll be less than 48 hours, I'm guessing, and my money's on it being "Which 'Orange Is The New Black' Character Are You?"