Imagine that, on your way to the grocery store, you took a wrong turn and ended up in a neighborhood you'd never seen before. Everyone speaks a language that doesn't sound like any language you'd ever heard before. They wear capes, they eat only fish. They have a completely functioning economy, but it's entirely based on sticks. They've invented their own musical instruments, they have their own celebrities and politicians, and they have a bunch movies that are kind of like ours, but tweaked in some way. You're shocked, because it means these people have been successfully living with their own set of rules and laws, their own problems, their own history, and their own pop culture for years and years and you've only just discovered them. And they're just two blocks away from you!
That's exactly how I feel about the internet sometimes. I've spent a lot of time online, enough time that I feel like I understand it or, failing that, am at least aware of every fringe group that hangs out here. But every time I feel like I've finally encountered every bizarre, dedicated fan forum, every pointless meme, and every inexplicable fetish site, I'll stumble onto something new that completely throws me for a loop. I'll find some site or forum or video series that introduces me to a brand new niche community, a group of people from all over the world with their own interests, rules and behaviors, and they've existed on the internet for years, right around the corner from me.
Here are four of them.
#4. Why Is Christopher Meloni Trying To Have Sex With Me In Every Picture on Google
Christopher Meloni is a fine actor. Maybe you know him from Oz or his cameos in both of the Harold and Kumar movies. If you're me, you know him as the hilariously insane Gene from Wet Hot American Summer or the intense and constantly angry Detective Stabler on Law & Order: SVU. A while ago I was doing photo research for some Cracked article and knew I needed a photo of Det. Stabler looking badass and angry, which he does a lot. So I did a Google Image Search on "Christopher Meloni."
This... this isn't what I was looking for.
Those are all of the first, above-the-fold results for Christopher Meloni. I didn't type "Meloni shirtless" or "Meloni in bed" or "Christopher Meloni taking Majestic Shower."
Just regular "Christopher Meloni." And those were the results. I won't deny that he's a handsome man, but there are a lot of handsome fake detectives, and not all of them have an alarming number of "I just got done fucking you on a cloud" pictures, (or if they do, those pictures certainly aren't in their top search returns). I wouldn't be surprised if Google turned back a bunch of forcefully romantic, shirtless pictures of some teen heartthrob, but Stabler? Freakshow from Harold and Kumar? Why? Did an Ad Executive say "We've got a great new season of SVU coming out; let's get a couple of photos of Meloni lying on a white, plush carpet immediately post coital to promote it. Meloni, get your shirt off."
Law & Order is one of the most popular franchises on television. SVU has been on for 12 years and Stabler is arguably Meloni's most well-known role, so why do I have to sift through a dozen soft-focus pictures of Meloni eye-fucking the camera before I can find one of him with a god damned detective badge?
It's not just that these pictures were all taken, (although, yes, weird), it's that they're all the top results for "Christopher Meloni." Which means more people are searching for Meloni specifically to see him in some majestic, aggressively romantic pose than anything having to do with his career.
I don't know why. I don't care to know why. And, for the record I changed my search term to "Detective Stabler" in an effort to receive only pictures of the angry, tough-as-nails detective. My first two results?
#3. Why Is Flickr Full of Bleeding Nipples?
WARNING. The space below this paragraph contains pictures of bleeding nipples. Also, the space immediately above it. I'm really bad at giving disclaimers.
One of the awful, awful downsides to running a marathon is "bleeding nipples," or what doctors call "when blood comes from your nipple after you run." Running for a long time causes sweat, which is water and salt, (and other stuff, shut up). When the water part of sweat evaporates, you're left with the salt part of sweat. Salt on your skin mixed with friction mixed with your shirt feels like sand paper rubbing against your nipples, which causes them to bleed and get rubbed right off. We've covered this before, but we haven't really covered the community that's emerged as a result.
The above picture comes from a Flickr account, but not just some marathon-runner's personal account. It's a Flickr account that exclusively features pictures of bleeding nipples.
Again, finding this Flickr account, (and the many others just like it), felt like stumbling onto that mystery community on the way to the grocery store. "You take pictures of bloody nipples and post them to the internet? And you want to share them? And there are more of you and you all found each other?? Where have I been?"
"We- You don't have to point, man, we know why this picture exists, here."