Is Khaby Lame the only loved person on the internet?

Mahwash Ajaz/Dubai
Filed on June 3, 2021

Why this meme defines the age of the internet

You wake up in the morning. What’s the first thing you do? I look at my phone. Experts say that’s not the best thing to do. And it may be one of those instances when the ‘experts’ aren’t that wrong. I scroll through twitter. (That’s an even worse than picking up your phone first thing in the morning!) Who’s outraging, I sigh and ask myself as I glance at the ungodly hour that has awoken me this time. Someone is outraging at someone and every one of them has had over thousands of retweets and likes. They’ve all got their echo chambers in which they’re all comfortably nested, confirming their biases and solidifying their angst against each other.

So No One Told You Social Media Was Gonna Be This Way

Did creators of social media really think that’s what they were doing when they invented these monsters? Or were they initially very pleased with themselves at pushing technology to a point where the entire world consolidated in the palm of your hands? But the true nature of humanity can’t be beaten. Humanity has yin and yang. The darkness and the light. Every human being has a unique perspective. And when you get hundreds and thousands and millions of human beings clamouring and speaking up, division and polarisation becomes inevitable too.

The Naomi Osaka Question

In the latest storm in the social media teacup, Naomi Osaka was fined $15,000 for not attending a press conference/media talk due to her mental health. Piers Morgan was outraged and people were outraged at his outrage. Some folks lauded Naomi for taking a stand. Naomi wrote a lengthy note on her social media, which garnered praise from folks such as Usain Bolt and Venus Williams.

Snowflakes versus Tough Love

There is much to be said about the difference in culture and the evolution of rules in sports (or perhaps any other business/discipline in the world) when it comes to generational shifts. The kind of ‘tough love’ athletes were used to back in the day isn’t the kind of attitude young men and women are used to now. But then again, as the comedian George Carlin succinctly put it in his special It’s Bad For Ya!, “In today’s America, no child ever loses. There are no losers anymore. Everyone’s a winner. No matter what the game or sport or competition, everybody wins. Everybody wins, everybody gets a trophy, no one is a loser. No child these days ever gets to hear those all-important, character-building words: “You lost, Bobby! You lost, you’re a loser, Bobby!” They miss out on that. You know what they tell a kid who lost these days? “You were the last winner.” A lot of these kids never get to hear the truth about themselves until they’re in their twenties. When their boss calls them and says, “Bobby, clean the shit out of your desk and get the f*** out of here, you’re a loser.”

Truth from the Comedians

Despite truth being out there (perhaps way too much of it) on social media, we’re all becoming more and more hypersensitive to the surroundings around us. I’ll go back to another great monologue (legacy notwithstanding) of Louis CK: everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy. In an interview with Conan O’Brien, he says, “In my time, we had a phone, you had to stand next to and dial it!” He goes on to say that there’s the most amazing technology available right now and people get upset when the WiFi’s slow in the plane (and this is a video from 2016). “People come back from their flights,” said the comedian, “and tell their horror stories and act like it was a ride in a cattle cart in 1940s Germany.”

Even FRIENDS got Flak!

People’s general state of unhappiness was brought into focus again when the Friends Reunion aired and drove people crazy (with happiness and outrage — yes, people outraged on that too). One of the 1990s most beloved sitcoms was also torn apart by some people who thought it was just a ‘rehash’ of old interviews and ‘didn’t give them anything’ and some folks even had an issue with James Corden hosting it.

You can’t satisfy anyone, really. Unless you’re Khaby Lame. For now, Khaby Lame has been busting ridiculous 5-minute crafts on TikTok and has turned into a meme himself.

Khaby Lame is me!

If you’re stating the obvious, this is the first image that comes to your mind.And if you don’t know this guy, I’d recommend you log on to TikTok asap and go through his videos. They’re simple and to the point and perhaps, sometime during the day, when you’re mindlessly scrolling through Facebook Watch, you would have felt exactly how Khaby’s face is in this photo.

The truth is we’re all looking for relatability. The democratisation of social media has given power to the masses and not all of us are rich, botoxed multimillionaires like the cast of F.R.I.E.N.D.S is now. We’re all Khaby Lame. Bored. And obviously unmoved by what may seem like a grand idea by a group of old fogies — but in reality — is just lame.

mahwash@khaleejtimes.com