The Stratospheric Rise of the BuzzFeed Quiz

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New at Slate, I finally found an excuse to talk about my LiveJournal:

Viral quizzes allow us to easily categorize ourselves. Even more, they provide us with the instant affirmation that we share some part of ourselves with other people (orcities, or David Lynch characters, or Bill O’Reillys) that we admire. By sharing your quiz results on Facebook, you are saying: Look! Like a Ravenclaw, I am intelligent yet kind. Like Daenerys Targaryen, I am not to be trifled with. Like the city of London, I have a refined appreciation for history and literature. Like Animal, I embody #YOLO.

Of course, no one actually believes these quizzes are going to uncover some dark mystery about themselves. The quizzes themselves are designed in such a slapdash way that they seem to follow no internal logic. (I just deliberately tried to pick all the most Beaker-like answers in the Muppets quiz—including choosing “Meep” as my favorite word!—and was told I’m the “Mahna Mahna” guy.) Though, if you think about it, the seemingly random results could be a deliciously nihilistic commentary on the human condition. We are, after all, blobs of amino acids thrown together in an endless vacuum. BuzzFeed, you are so philosophical sometimes. You should live in Paris!

My editor told me that line made him LLOL. I’ll take it.

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