Epic Beard Man and the false truth of viral videos | 22 Words

Epic Beard Man and the false truth of viral videos

By Abraham Piper

Writing for Cracked, Nick Coffin analyzes the viral video from back in February in which a black guy and a white guy get into a fight on a bus in Oakland. In general, online, the story was pitched as an old white guy standing up for himself against a young black thug.

But while this might make for an appealing story to the white masses, it’s quite obviously inaccurate. Coffin considers what you can tell from the video and a little bit of backstory and then compares this with how the event was actually presented by almost everyone who posted it or commented.

Needless to say, reality and the internet’s interpretation of reality were different.

The article closes with a reminder that something being true and something being based on truth, can pretty much be opposites:

[A] video titled “Bi-Polar 67 Year Old Beats Crap Out of Much Smaller 50 Year Old” wouldn’t have become an internet sensation. So someone early on edited all of that stuff out, and made up a new story that appealed to our imagination, desire for justice and the racism simmering just below the surface of most sites on the web.

It’s no different from what Hollywood does when they release a movie that’s “based on a true story.” The saga of Epic Beard Man just proves that you don’t even need to change a single event. All you need to do is upload it to YouTube, give it a good enough title, and the echo chamber of the internet will do the rest for you.


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