The Betty White Meme: When The Internet Stopped Making Sense
Betty White is a talented comedic actress who has been in the entertainment industry for over 50 years. This is a screengrab of a Digg.com search of "Betty White."
The top three results, all within the last month, are about Betty White and the show Saturday Night Live. The bottom article, the one with the most diggs, describes a Facebook campaign demanding that SNL let Betty White host the show, the one in the middle lays out a few sketches she should appear in. (That Facebook group, by the way, has almost 500,000 fans.) The most recent story in that screengrab links to the story confirming that Betty would in fact be hosting the show. The day that article went live, Betty White was a trending topic on social networking site Twitter, just below the show Skins and above something called a justin bieber.
The Facebook campaign starts it, Digg.com keeps us posted and Twitter celebrates. Congratulations, Internet, you got Betty White to host SNL. Quick question though: Why did we do this? This is one of the most perplexing Internet things I've seen in a while but, before we get into that, I wanted to quickly get something out of the way. I Have Nothing Against Betty White No problems with her whatsoever. I thought she was great on The Golden Girls, and as far as old people go, it doesn't seem like she's completely lost her mind, which is good. She's a terrific entertainer and seems like a pretty sweet lady (though I have no idea what that means). I'm not a Betty White hater. I'm not sure if I'd call myself a fan, exactly. I guess if I had to answer the question, "What do you think about Betty White?" I'd respond, "I don't." But still, nothing against the old broad.
The Internet is a fickle, complicated and delicate beast of omnisexuality. It can be confusing or alienating at times but, in general, I think I understand it, I have a pretty good handle on why it does what it does. It's not surprising to me that Rick Rolling became a thing. When you and your friends become so desensitized that nothing shocks you anymore, it makes sense that you prank your friends by making them watch something completely, utterly and nonsensically random. And Rick Astley's otherwise entirely forgettable tune hits the sweet spot of pop obscurity (popscurity). And it snowballs from there, and I get that. And I even got lolcats, despite my best efforts. But somehow over the last few months, we made Betty White the darling of the Internet,
Does Betty White Even Want To Host? Hey, there's a good question. I'm sure she wouldn't mind, but I'd lean towards "Not really." Saturday Night Live's writing, rehearsal and performance schedule is a hectic, maddening week-long process. I don't want to make assumptions about what old people can and can't do, but she needs to be in the building all day, every day keeping up with a bunch of twentysomethings who've been living this schedule for years. The show that makes it to TV? She has to perform that
I just worry, because there were clearly a lot of people who really wanted this to happen. Maybe they even celebrated when the announcement came that Betty White would be hosting. I'm worried that when they throw their Betty White party the night her