Sesame Street has been home to lovable, diverse puppets ever since 1969. Over those 46 years, Big Bird and his buddies have done some cool stuff, mostly singin’ about numbers and letters and playin’ street ball with kids and elderly neighbors.
But, like all neighborhoods, there is a dark side to Sesame St. It’s one filled with drugs, murder, and solicited, anonymous sex. It is one filled with .gifs and memes, and it is one borne of that ungodly place known to the unlucky as 4chan. It’s amazing, isn’t it, how the cryptic nature of the .gif and the seedy aesthetic of hazy white captions can transform innocence into its very opposite? How, if the context that’s put upon us shifts, it can likewise shift our very nature?
It’s pretty much the same as hair in video games. Hear me out here: if Mario didn’t have his mustache, sideburns, and tuft of hair, would you even have cared that he didn’t like Donkey Kong, or would he have, without his hair’s role in his popularity, just gone away and never saved the Princess? It’s a valid, important question, and it’s one you should be thinking about, because hair has been — as one would expect — sitting atop video game characters’ heads for years and years, ever since the conception of the medium. It’s been used all sorts of ways, and the above linked article is a pretty good rundown of that.
Look, video games didn’t come up with hair. Pay attention: most human beings have hair. It’s kind of a thing. Video games just took it and ran with it. There’s something that’s a little less of a bodily absolute happening with the second phase of Marvel movies: every single one of them features a fight that results in the loss of a limb — an overly subtle reference to a producer’s love of Star Wars.
Star Wars has led to many unfortunate things since it became the standard of sci-fi blockbusters, most notably an influx of ’80s kids named “Luke.” What it didn’t lead to was the rise of athleisure. According to that nicely written/reported piece of BuzzFeed writing, Athleta forces its employees to run an “unstinkable test” on all of their prototypes. The test is as follows: wear a piece of clothing during five workouts, and then wear it to the office. If people can smell you (in a bad way), it fails the test and is not working. Sign me up.
It’s a smart way of testing: do something kind of gross, and see if people notice. That likewise seems to be BuzzFeed’s modus operandi when it comes to their standards and ethics, if this ginormous, incomprehensible Gawker piece is any indication. The motto of CEO Jonah Peretti and editor-in-chief Ben Smith? Break your own rules until someone calls you out on it so that you can learn to follow your own rules better. If nobody calls you out on it, no harm, no foul. Huh.
Here’s a parting tip: don’t live your life like that.