Something you might notice about that picture is that someone has, for some unfathomable reason, decided to censor Smallwood's name and picture. To protect his comedy career from reaping any benefits from his awesome joke, I guess? Thanks, Internet vigilante!
What that well-meaning snot-goblin doesn't seem to realize is that a blog-comedian's only reward is recognition. The number of eyeballs on your work is a valuable Internet currency that can be parlayed into jobs or book deals that will allow them to quit their dish-washing jobs and spend more time making funny things that you, the consumer, can continue to enjoy for free. This is the best thing about the Internet, and when we abuse it, everyone loses. Which is what makes the next example so infuriating.
I recently caught a video posted in my Facebook feed that was credited to Chili69Palmer. He's the guy on the left, making faces.
The person on the right, who posted the original video, is Pupinia Stewart, which probably isn't her real name. She's a performer on Our Third Life, which is a collaborative YouTube comedy channel that posts tons of weird, satirical videos with this character explaining stuff like how we're running out of gravity and suggesting that we send astronauts to the sun. She says she's dating Donald Trump. Even if you didn't realize she was joking by how over-the-top her video is because you're kind of a jackass, just glancing at the titles of the other videos on that channel should prove that she is clearly joking. I don't want to speculate about whether or not Palmer knew this when he made his reaction video, but it's clear that she deserves the bulk of the credit for the comedy here, right? She deserves the eyeballs.
Stewart's posting of the video has just over 400,000 views. Chili69Palmer's version has 31 million. I find that irritating, on a moral level. Especially since this isn't the first time this has happened to Stewart: Her follow-up video about the language barrier between America and England has another solid 400,000 views, while a shameless ripoff by a fucking thief who posted the video to Reddit has over a million. Frankly, I think that's an unfair distribution of eyeballs.
It's worth dwelling on this point: The victims here aren't just creators like Stewart -- it's everybody. If we share the ripped-off version of cool stuff, then the people who make the cool stuff don't have incentive to make more cool stuff for us to enjoy. Which means we have less cool stuff. I like cool stuff, so as a favor to me, if you're going to share something, please take the extra 15 seconds to make sure it's the right one to share. Make sure the people putting themselves out there and making fun stuff for you get to reap some benefits for their hard work.
And if you catch someone not doing that, make your younger self proud by taking the extra 15 seconds to call them a taint-sniffer.
JF Sargent is a senior editor for Cracked.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and wait for him to break one of the rules he just came up with so you can pounce.
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