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Sunday, May 2, 2021

Going viral – a plague upon social media posts

 

Covid-19 is running rampant in wave after wave, afflicting millions, killing a huge number and crippling the economies of almost every country. In some countries people are literally dying in the streets.

We’ve never witnessed a calamity of this scale in over a century. We’d have to go back to the early 1900s to the Spanish Flu pandemic to see something similarly horrible.

However, since the victims then suffered in black and white and in silence, it can’t be as bad as it is for us, who have to suffer in full colour HD and in stereo too. Progress isn’t always a good thing.

The link between what humans have wrought and how nature has responded has been well and truly established. Scientists have researched it deeply and agreed the cause of the pandemic is the revenge of Mother Nature against a nefarious human practice.

I can now reveal to you the reason we are being savaged by the pandemic is the cruel and objectionable overuse and misuse of the word “viral”.

You can’t turn your head nowadays without seeing that word. It used to be applied to, well, viruses. Then it came to be applied to computer software that you download from porn websites (or so I am told) that freezes your hard drive and asks for Bitcoins.

Then it jumped, or rather mutated, to social media memes and silly TikTok videos. Mother Nature groaned under the assault, but such warnings went unheeded.

Even politicians move to join social media celebrities. If that isn’t another crime against Mother Nature, I don’t know what is. I meant social media celebrities. Politicians are already viral. Given that the virus infects and sucks the living daylights out of healthy hosts from the inside, that particular use-case may not be inaccurate.

But when viral started appearing on roadside stalls advertising nasi lemak and roti Arab, that was one step too far, and Mother Nature exploded with her full wrath.

I was told viral in such advertising means popular. I didn’t quite catch that, as almost everything they described as viral sucks. Just like the actual viral pandemic that also sucks big time, and is definitely not very popular (except to glove manufacturers and Elon Musk).

I somehow couldn’t see the connection between viral, which is the explosive spread and propagation of biological viruses, and the spread and propagation of bad nasi lemak and roadside fast food.

I shall not make a bad situation worse by further mentioning the “v” word. The letter “v” is *ery dangerous, and best left alone.

I now feel *ery much better and *ery comfortable discussing the topic of *irality. Ha*ing looked at it *irtually from all *iews, I now *ow ne*er to use it again. E*er.

I shall propose another word that may suit our purpose better and not run the risk of raising the ire of Mother Nature again.

What about the word sh*t? It’s been around for a long while, and has become respectable such that my spellchecker doesn’t e*en flag it anymore. Social media celebrities (and politicians, and in fact most of us too) are often full of it. And it has no known biological twin that can get offended, gi*en that it is already biological and it is already offensi*e.

And nasi lemak going sh*t seems to be a much more accurate description for some of the stuff they peddle by the roadside than the old word they used, right? - FMT

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.

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