Tis’ the season: the Youtube Rewind video is here!! And it has raised many different reactions. While some people could recognize all of the YouTubers or the gags in the video, the rest of us could only get 30% of the jokes. The reason behind it is that in 2015 everything is really ephemeral. So the lucky ones who got the chance to be in all of the Internet jokes can understand this year’s Rewind, the rest of us just feel a little bit left behind.
This year, the mix includes that the girl from the Silentó’s “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” video dances in the same clip as Karlie Kloss, or a bunch of YouTubers from Latin America rock Left Shark costumes and flaming guitars like that guy in Mad Max: Fury Road. There’s also, of course, a reference to Drake’s “Hotline Bling.” And #PizzaRat. And The Dress. T-Pain even shows up—because there’s a sort of Rewind-within-the-Rewind that looks back at memes from previous years. (Hello, “I’m On a Boat” and Double Rainbow Guy!)
What really blurs the line here is the memes, almost none of which were originally birthed on YouTube. Instead, they’re from traditional media or other social platforms: Left Shark from Katy Perry’s Super Bowl show, or “Carpool Karaoke” from The Late Late Show.
The YouTube Rewind video works because it’s like CliffsNotes of facts that you’ll never be quizzed on. It’s just there to remind you of what you forgot earlier this year and teach you about the things you missed. It’s Cultural Literacy Lite. Learn it now—it may not matter in 2016.
We promise to pay more attention in 2016, Youtube.