Last week, the world tottered on the edge of a global crisis with potential wide-ranging disastrous effects. No, the world didn’t run out of Nutella. No, Facebook didn’t introduce a “dislike” button. No, Nicki Minaj didn’t release a new single. This was far worse.
They call it “The Dress”.
The Dress first appeared on social media at around 12:00 PM GMT on the 26th of February, which was followed by successive waves of panic that radiated from the epicentre – Tumblr – to places as far-reaching and obscure as Orkut and (you would have heard of this only if you’re adventurous and a seasoned traveller) Google+.
It was the day the Earth stood still.
They’re saying that the Dress broke the Internet. They’re wrong. It broke the fundamental human will to survive in the face of crushing adversity. It broke the age-old spirit of nations and the metaphorical camel’s back. It broke windows of old-age homes and every three-year-old’s favourite action figure and Stephen Hawking’s speech synthesizer. It broke our conception of reality as we transcended dimensions and the constraints of space and time and became acutely aware of the existence of a higher consciousness, a.k.a. Will Smith’s children, who took the road not taken with the proclamation:
In Japan, every worker in every office stopped whatever he/ she was doing as the establishment collapsed, anarchy ruled, and sushi flew through the air. In the USA, Starbucks offered discounts to anyone who saw the Dress as blue and black and a new religion, Protestism, was developed to protest against the uncultured heretics who didn’t immediately see that the Dress was obviously gamboge. In India, programs were written to detect the exact colour of the Dress depending on the intensity of sunlight and the exact position of the sun in the sky, corrected to thirty-eight decimal places. The Russians offered The Dress a place in the Grand Russian Circus.
The Internet meanwhile, as it is prone to do, lost its mind.
Tumblr set fire to the Dress, screaming “WHAT COLOUR IS THE DRESS NOW MUAHAHA” and then running around in circles screaming “PROTECT US FROM THIS SORCERY” and “WHAT IS COLOUR?”
The supremely wise inhabitants of 9gag, on the other hand, took it upon themselves to explain the baffling phenomena, which I will summarize in five words for those of you who aren’t well versed with the nuances of the scientific method: “Such Retinas, Much Magic. Wow.”
Buzzfeed decided to take the onus of sharing their vast knowledge of Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theories with the unschooled public by means of an extremely scientific quiz titled “What Does The Colour Of The Dress Say About Your Personality?”
Twitter became a microcosm representing a divided Internet in a divided World in a divided Universe. For the first (and possibly the last) time ever, the world identified with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West who took the website to express their sense of disillusionment with the fundamentally mutable nature of reality.
So is The Dress a symbol of irreconcilable human differences? Does this mean that nothing is ever black and white? Do I have to apologize to Michael Jackson and/or colour blind people for making that comment? Does this exterminate racism? What is political incorrectness? What is political? What is? What?
Individual differences exist in how we perceive the world. Some may see blue and black, some may see white and gold, some may see blue and black with their spectacles on and white and gold without (all credits to my mother), while some may see teal (these people probably forgot to take their medication in the morning). But in the end, for one single day, the world was able to forget about its various problems, like poverty, and swine flu, and slow wifi. New friendships were forged between Blacks-and-Blues and Whites-and-Golds. As Kim and Kanye demonstrated so kindly, we now have proof that inter-Colour love can exist and thrive. The very construct of colour has been challenged and dismantled, which means that racism will become a thing of the past and humanity finally has something other than their hatred for Starbucks employees who spell their names wrong on their venti mocha lattes, to collectively bond over.
Yes, one fairly unattractive item of clothing can prevent, and perhaps even end, a World War.
I bet Hitler’s regretting his shopping decisions now.