Gather around children, and let uncle Eric tell you a quick story about the Internet.
You see, once upon a time, the Internet was the wild west for pretty much everything. No rules and everyone who hopped on it was in agreement, let’s do whatever we want and not tell a soul. Make the jokes you want, post the pictures you want, fire off the tweets you want, no harm no foul. We used to have so much fun over here on Barstool Sports dot com. Sure, a lot of the jokes I made in 2013-2016 I wouldn’t make today. I’ve grown and evolved, thank you very much. But the point is, none of those jokes were ever meant to directly offend. I just made jokes that made me laugh. That was really the only instruction I ever got from Dave, make funny jokes. Looking back, I made some pretty “offensive” jokes about public figures. Talking weight, looks, illness, whatever. I used to view the internet as one world and real life as another. We all did. Remember when Perez Hilton because the biggest name on the internet and achieved mainstream fame and success due to…drawing dicks and cum on the faces of celebrities? That was the internet, baby! He later had a mental breakdown and has profusely apologized for that, which is understandable, he pushed the envelope to the point he hurt people in real life and he felt guilty. The more months and years passed, the more mainstream and connected the world wide web became, which of course then made everyone have to tighten up a bit, and it’s only gotten worse and worse and worse.
Right now the Internet is about as least fun as it’s ever been. Dave has always said that when we started, people didn’t get mad at Barstool because we knew it was OUR fans who came to the website to read the jokes, and they were in on them. Akin to going to a comedy show and seeing your favorite comedian- nobody got mad because they knew what they were in for. But the bigger Barstool got and then with the inventions of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter that allowed Barstool to blow up even more, the more scrutiny we started getting. When non-fans started getting mad at jokes that weren’t intended for them. People looking for reasons to be offended, finding us, and then starting an e-rally against us. And for some ultimate irony, my job is literally to edit and make sure nobody says anything that can get us in trouble. It’s so easy to cross the line now, and the line is ever-moving, that myself, Hubbs, and Coley have the impossible task of trying to keep the site funny while also minimizing the trouble it can get into.
The outrage mostly only happens in blog form or on Twitter. Videos, podcasts, and other forms of media still kinda get a pass, but for some odd reason, the written word gets the brunt of the anger from the peanut gallery. You make one off-color joke in a blog, the mob finds you. God forbid you make a joke on Twitter that doesn’t go over well, they try and “cancel” you. It’s gotten to the point a ton of people don’t even blog anymore and really, truly think about “is it ok to tweet this?” before sending it off. So many good jokes go into the draft folder because it’s not even worth it anymore. You sit there and think “I could make this joke, but is it worth it?”. I mean shit, here’s an example of a fairly harmless blog that just popped into my head:
In that blog, it’s a video of a dad going crazy because his son made the basketball team. “Back in my day” we were ONLY allowed to write blogs that took the “opposite angle”…aka make jokes, make fun of it. Nowadays, everything is like “wow, a must watch video, this is what love is really about, blah blah blah”. It makes me sick to my stomach. God forbid you make a joke online anymore. Like honestly, I see the blogs that go up on this website now and I want to chuck my laptop out the window. And don’t get me started on Twitter. Just like how kids these days wouldn’t even understand that Facebook used to actually be cool and you would post pictures of you and your buddies and make jokes on each others Walls (remember the Wall????), Twitter used to be a place for jokes too. Not anymore! Now it’s just…exhausting.
So I say all that to say this- I woke up this morning and Pabst Blue Ribbon sent out the following tweet:
I was like “ah, how refreshing, a brand that realizes it’s just Twitter and you can make silly dumb little jokes and nobody will care”. I was truly, genuinely excited for them.
And then you WOULD NOT BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED NEXT (s/o Buzzfeed):
They deleted it. They god damn deleted it. The first time anyone has paid attention to PBR since college and they deleted it. You just cannot have fun online anymore. It’s Twitter, it’s not even real life, and a beer can’t suggest you eat ass in lieu of drinking anymore? It’s such a shame.
My New Years resolutions? I want to eat better, I want to work out more, I want to read more books, I want to care less about what other people think, and I want to get back to making funny jokes on the internet. I don’t even know if that last one is possible. Some things are just not worth it. The juice ain’t worth the squeeze, as they say. But we’ll try. It’s always been my main objective. I just hope you kids remember there was once a time the Internet was full of laughter. There really was. And I hope we get back to those days soon.