Life
by David Covucci on November 11, 2013

I'm referring, of course, to “Explained By GIF.” You can find this new text almost anywhere now. From the nuances of foreign policy to the exciting come-from-behind win your football team had, “Explained By GIF” has become our preferred method for educating the masses about difficult to understand issues. Move the fuck over long-form journalism and in-depth documentaries; your time is up. The people want to digest their news with three-second clips of the babies from Teen Mom.

(He's against unilateral drone strikes in Yemen)

But why has it become so popular? Well, we have the explanation (GIFs).

GIFs mean less reading

You know what's exhausting? Looking at words in the context of sentences in the context of paragraphs in the context of articles. Especially if it's a subject you want to be more educated about. Double awful. But with a GIF it's just you looking at a computer screen, no slightly moving eyes left-to-right required.

No one likes this bitch.

GIFs are relatable

Most GIFs involve humans, and you are a human. Thus, when you see a GIF of a human, you could totally see yourself being the person in that GIF. So instead of posting a photo of tens of thousands of dead Filipinos after a typhoon (which totally couldn't happen to you, you live in Chicago), we use that GIF of sad Clive Owen in the rain. Which could totally be you.

(I'm not sure if this is Clive Owen. But this is totally what being hit by Haiyan must have been like. All wet and sad.)

GIFs are easy to comprehend

Here's a sentence that was in The New Yorker today.

“I always get terrified right before I travel”

How the fuck am I supposed to understand what Ariel Levy means by that? She should have used this GIF of Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory with the caption “<—– Me before traveling.” I would have gotten it.

GIFs make the writer's work more transparent

Alongside comprehension, GIFs take the difficult matters of nuance and subtlety out of media, where they're just there to confuse and bother us. Like, have you ever try to read James Joyce? It's like repeatedly hitting your dick with a ping-pong paddle. What the fuck does he mean? Is he trying to make me laugh, or cry, or reflect on my own life? I just had stroke thinking about the first sentence in Finnegan's Wake. With a GIF, readers don't deal with that shit.

GIFs SO useful

There is no way not to use a GIF to explain something, which means that it's the first ever medium that can be used to cover a great deal of subject. You can't use words to be both happy and sad, but with a GIF you can. And you can often do it with the EXACT, SAME GIF. Watch. 

Car bomb explodes in Iraq killing 168.

'N Sync is reuniting for the VMAs.

Amazing. Trying doing that with the stupid alphabet.

[All GIFs via the Internet]