The Horrible Reason This YouTube Video Has 50 Million Views
No sarcasm here: Most popular YouTube videos are awesome. If you can't appreciate an adorable baby or puppy doing something hilarious, then you have forgotten how to smile. But occasionally, something else slips through the cracks.
Because humans are by nature both depraved and deeply confused, this random video of a guy doing an arm tattoo is one of the most popular pieces of entertainment ever created by the human race. It has 48,437,278 views, and the reason for it is both hilarious and terrifying.
The video itself is just this:
A guy doing a tattoo. There is no shocking twist ending, no hot girl or celebrity shows up. This is a mystery, because everything else on YouTube's most popular list is there for a reason -- you may have no interest in Justin Bieber, but we have nothing against the people who do. But to put this random video's number in perspective, more people watched it than bought tickets to the final Harry Potter movie. It also beats Top Gun, Transformers and Terminator 2. It has more views than most Britney Spears videos. So, why? Well, if we look at the comment section, we see the same thing over and over:
What? Why would a video called "Scott Campbell hearts Mom" lead you to think you'd see a vagina?
Oooooh. We think we know what's going on here. When YouTube creates thumbnails for videos, it grabs a frame from the middle to preview what you're about to see. And when you're browsing some other video on YouTube, the thumb for this one comes up like this:
Yes, it seems to promise somebody fingering a vagina, close up. On YouTube.
Wait, that's not quite right. It seems to promise a man fingering a vagina in a video called Scott Campbell hearts Mom.
If you pause the video at 1:22, you'll see that the close-up incest porn you thought you had clicked on is actually just a hand, an arm and the tattoo artist's cheek:
If YouTube had waited just two more seconds, the guy would have lifted his head and it'd be back to looking like a boring old tattoo video:
This is the world we live in: Because YouTube's algorithm grabbed a vagina illusion instead of waiting a few frames, that video has now been seen by 20 times more people than watch Mad Men, and by more people on the whole than who saw the Beatles' first appearance on American TV.