You are here: Home>Collections>Facebook

We survived the Bitstripocalypse

OPINION

(Bitstrips )
October 30, 2013|By Hector Luis Alamo Jr., @hectorluisalamo | For RedEye

The end started a couple of Sundays ago. Rocio and I had picked up some wings and fries and were watching "The Walking Dead" when she got bit. I didn't realize she'd been bitten. There were no signs of infection. No rotting flesh. No dilated pupils. Just a bluish glow on her face. I thought she was scrolling through Facebook.

Then my phone lit up. It was a Facebook notification.

Ro had sent me what seemed to be a comic strip panel. There was a character that looked like me stirring a pot on a stove while another character that looked like her sat at a table, fork in hand. The caption read: "Hector, where's my dinner?!"

"What is this?" I asked. "How'd you do this?"

"It's called Bitstrips," she said. "You create your characters, and you can put them into a bunch of different scenes and write what they say. Want me to show you?"

I passed.

When a few more Bitstrips cropped up on Facebook that night, I didn't really think anything of it. Seemed other people had been bitten too, and I figured some government agency was already at work trying to contain this minor outbreak.

But by the next morning Bitstrips was everywhere. One post showed a character flushing someone down the toilet. In another, a couple having a picnic were being attacked by ants. All around people were being decapitated, bombarded with water balloons, forced to do push-ups, hung by their ankles and operated on while they were still awake. And those who'd been bitten just kept laughing. Every time a new post when up, they laughed and liked and commented "LOL."

A status update from my cousin in Kansas City confirmed the obvious: "Bitstrips has taken over Facebook!"

Women and prepubescent boys seemed most susceptible to Bitstrips, but a few men in new relationships were infected too. The infection was marked by a disconnect from reality in the victim. While more than a third of the population is obese, it was hard to find one avatar that was anything but thin and good-looking. Every woman's image of herself had a narrow waist, big boobs and flowing hair. The men's characters had biceps and pecs where there weren't any in real life.

The bitten also viewed themselves as creative. They thought what they were doing was funny and clever, though at most it was slacker art—as creative as possible while expending as little effort as possible. They were slacktists.

Luckily, enough of us seemed to be immune. We just didn't get how they were funny or worth even the tiny bit of effort it took to create them. The bitten laughed their heads off at strips featuring characters that looked like them and people they knew, while the heads of the immune remained securely in place.

Bitstrips worked its way through the Facebook population in a few days and began to die down by week's end. And while there were a couple of isolated outbreaks over the following weekend, enough of us had resisted Bitstrips to ensure that Facebook would live on.

Hector Luis Alamo Jr. is a RedEye special contributor.

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page

RedEye Chicago Articles
|
|
|