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Jimmy Kimmel is why the Internet can’t have nice things

Shame on you for stealing any sense of bewilderment we had left. Shame on you. 


Molly McHugh

Internet Culture

Posted on Feb 21, 2014   Updated on May 31, 2021, 5:42 pm CDT

Congratulations, Mr. Kimmel. You’ve fooled us.

I hope you’re proud of yourself. Because once again, you’ve ruined something beautiful.

If you’re not already aware, the story about a wolf wandering the halls of an Olympic athlete’s hall was not real. It was a hoax fabricated for the Jimmy Kimmel Live. It’s far from the program’s first offense: There was the infamous Twerk Girl fakery, and some rather eyebrow-raising antics involving celebrities reading mean tweets about themselves.

And now we can add to the list the Sochi Wolf that Never Was.

Why are you doing this, Jimmy? What did the Internet ever do to you? Maybe all these gotchas are a self-fulfilling prophecy; we get what we deserve. We love these nonsensities. We know viral content’s not particularly good for us, but we can’t stop indulging. So you could say we deserve it. We’re the girl who looks at the ceiling when you say “gullible” is written up there. Every. Damn. Time.

Of course the Internet is going to lap up a video of a wolf loose in the hall! It’s got all the elements of a piece of viral content: an animal, a hyped-up event, rough video footage. It corresponds with the wildly popular #SochiProblems hashtag, for crying out loud. And considering how bad things have been in Sochi, it’s not out of the realm of possibility. 

You’re not playing us for a fool, though. You’re just lying. Repeatedly. You lying liar.

And it’s not like it’s all that clever; the Internet is where ridiculous crap is supposed to show up. We’re not idiots for thinking any of this stuff is real; far crazier things have legitimately been found on YouTube or Imgur or Reddit or wherever. (See this and this and this and this.)

What you’re doing is endangering any sense of wonder there is left in the Internet. We’re all so critical, so skeptical of anything even moderately fantastical we find online. We’ve been conditioned to call hoax before letting ourselves laugh or gasp or stare at something amazing. Pics or it didn’t happen isn’t even close to good enough anymore. There’s no point in celebrating a bizarre story, because the potential for being made an idiot is too high. You better think twice before posting that story about the orphaned snow leopard adopted by penguins, because Jimmy Kimmel’s just going to come out from behind your laptop, grab your chair out from under you, throw the computer against the wall, and scream, “GOTCHA!”

But don’t apologize to me, Jimmy. I’m old and embittered by my excessive time online. Apologize to the dad who shared the wolf video with his daughter, thinking he’d finally found something cool online. Apologize to the middle schooler who sent it to his crush because he thought it would make him seem worldly, and because wolves are cute. Apologize to the Web-weary grandparents who found something comical and amusing in the thick of all this dag-nabbed Snapchitter-chatter and Instagrammering.

Shame on you for stealing any sense of bewilderment we had left. Shame on you. 

Photo via Jimmy Kimmel

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*First Published: Feb 21, 2014, 9:30 am CST