Thing Tank

White woman calling the cops, shaved Mario, and Eurovision: It’s a thing


You know those videos that document the adorable little nervous breakdowns children have when their fathers abruptly shave off their beards? (If you don’t, the recent collapse of the beard boom has bestowed dozens of them to YouTube.) I just experienced similar trauma thanks to Shaved Mario. The Internet works in mysterious ways, so I can’t claim to understand why anyone needed to know what Mario looks like without his signature stache, but clearly someone did, and now the whole concept of Mario has been flung into flux. Without his mustache to stabilize the look (or eyebrows, for that matter), Mario’s whole overalls-gloves-and-cap ensemble suddenly feels . . . unsettling. (Even more than Luigi’s tennis shorts.) I’m hoping this was just a bad mushroom decision and we can warp back to normal before Princess Peach starts to consider dreads.


The soft, alabaster crescent of Mario’s upper lip (shudder) was certainly a worthwhile distraction, but it had nowhere near the meme momentum to compete with the early front-runner for 2018’s Thing of the Year, White Woman Calling the Cops. A woman in sunglasses in Oakland, Calif., went viral last week when footage was posted of her calling the police on a black family plotting the destruction of the Avengers by . . . whoops, sorry. Wrong notes. They were actually just barbecuing. It was the latest in a string of roughly 1 billion recent cases of nervous white people mistaking 911 for a therapy hotline. In response, the neighborhood threw a really big cookout, and the Internet threw the greatest Photoshop party in the history of the form, deftly dropping what’s-her-face into great moments in black history to reimagine them as “white caller” crimes. 


Speaking of white people phoning things in, Eurovision was this week! The annual international pop song competition continued to elude the steely global awareness of 99 percent of Americans, but it still dazzled Twitter for the better part of an afternoon. This year’s contest (taken by Israel’s chicken-dancing Netta Barzilai and her song, “Toy”) was reliably replete with weird costumes, weirder lyrics, and near constant reminders that we essentially live on another planet. Now if you’ll excuse me a moment, I need to report a very suspicious group of harmonizing Vikings. Can’t be too careful.



Finally, much like childhood beard trauma videos, marriage proposal fail videos have carved out their own little corner of the YouTube canon, and understandably so. They’re sort of like watching videos of people texting while walking and tripping into mall fountains, only it’s their dreams falling apart. In any case, not all marriage proposal fail videos end in failed marriage proposals. In fact, the most recent viral example, which features a youngster marking the occasion of his dad’s big moment by relieving himself all over the proposal site, strikes me as borderline good luck. (Not to worry; I’m still calling the police.)

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Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MBrodeur.