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YouTube Rewind 2018 is the worst acid trip your dad can’t remember

If self-flagellation was a video.

I suppose, as much as the internet rewards us daily for its existence, it must punish us. To further confuse the object-reward centers of our brains, YouTube’s Rewind 2018 video is supposed to celebrate what is great about the platform but instead creates a confused reality in which we are soullessly reminded that we are just spectators of an adventure in which we were not invited — but get to watch from the other side of the fence.

As the most disliked video in the history of YouTube, this Rewind 2018 video is a tribute soaked in the blood of innocents rotting at the altar of false gods and prophets babbling incoherently in a language only they understand. It’s a circle jerk of YouTube stars, each with hands more calloused and bloody than the person next to them, each spewing content out of whatever orifice hasn’t been surgically sewn shut.

So naturally, I had to clear eight minutes and 13 seconds from my schedule of not giving a shit about YouTube stars to consume this celebratory content, this cake of despair, this goodie bag of used condoms, active bacteria and tapeworms. This is the reason baby boomers gave up on us. Death by climate change is the escape, YouTube Rewind 2018 is the prison. What is considered the best of, but is the worst of, is highlighted in what can only be described as a terrible acid trip you never wanted to take.

00:00 – 1:00

Oh shit, it’s famous actor Will Smith pretending to look at a phone! You probably know him from his famous movies Men in Black 2 and that one where he’s poor. YouTube could have got Adam Pally for a fraction of the cost. At least he’s got his own YouTube TV show. Now we’re hooked, now the trip down the pothole-infested memory lane can begin as he snaps his fingers and….

We’re in the clouds, where Twitch streamer, and YouTube re-poster of Twitch streams, Ninja is driving a flying bus of future rehab dropouts. Just like a fevered dream after eating peanut butter out of the ass of a stranger that smells like your grandmother in the back of a garbage truck, all your favorite YouTubers are on the bus. Just like waking up from that dream with a cat’s butt hole on your lips, these doofuses are real.

But then, they jump off the bus! Because it’s a Fortnite gag!

1:01 – 2:00

Some green haired people celebrate some curly haired girl landing in their shopping cart, here on kidnap island. They catch up with the other folk who will be spending a lifetime trying to branch out from herpes commercials around a cozy campfire. Apparently, there is a genie somewhere because they start making wishes, but not regular people wishes. The first wish is for K-pop, so that happens. Then one girl, clearly ready to take the next inevitable step in her life, wishes for a royal wedding to something called a bongo cat.

Bongo Cat, the son of Keyboard Cat, descendant of Totoro, lives a charmed life in the meme realm of the internet. One afternoon, about two minutes into an unrelated video, he is removed from his current existence and forced into a disjointed narrative, where he is forced to marry and procreate with a human female. Knowing he can never return to his realm, he resigns himself to a life of bongo-playing for his eventual cat-human children and fame-seeking wife.

2:01 – 3:00

Science becomes the new conversation, as we roll around the campfire, each new stranger wishing for something to eat. Boiled lipstick, Mukbang and a birthday cake for a dog show up in quick cut, lens-glaring flashbacks. Things are getting weird, but not in the flying unicorn sense, more in the homeless guy spouting conspiracy theories on the sidewalk sense.

Now some child is yodeling on an ice staking rink, the fantasy is devolving into areas of the brain that can only be accessed through personal pain and mild stupidity.

We flash through these images like the moments after a head injury. The world is spinning, the people are spinning to a K-pop soundtrack and death seems like the sweetest release possible.

3:01 – 4:00

A cartoon thing and a spider get turns to speak. A dance is suggested. We flash to random characters dancing, proclaiming their love for something. Fortnite dances begin to appear. John Oliver and Trevor Noah, obviously threatened with de-platforming, each show up for a split second. You blink, and like the meme-focused careers of everyone else in this video, they are gone. Kiki does not love any of you. Ninja is alone in the bus.

There is an awkward silence. The group realizes that four minutes of their selfishness is enough and pretend that altruism is the true hero of YouTube. It’s time to think about all the good in the world, or at least, all the ad-supported good in the form of easily digestible videos.

4:01 – 5:00

The next minute is spent pretending to give a shit about social issues and education, refugees and others. This doesn’t last long, as the YouTubers quickly remember the real heroes of their stories, the schlubs who spend hours watching their videos. The conversation quickly turns to thanking viewers and supporters, because it would not have been possible to be selfless for more than a minute.

5:01 – 6:00

Someone got sick and wasn’t alone. A girl tosses a piece of wood in the fire and suggests the worst idea ever — reading the comments. There is a fashion show reminiscent of a recent Kanye performance. There is a car in space with no barrier from the emptiness of space, yet the four people in the car appear to be breathing fine in the void of space.

This minute moves quick, as whatever theme this video might have had, whatever message it was trying to send for a split second in the last minute, has quickly been replaced by jamming as many pigs feet in the jar as possible.

6:01 – 7:00

A giant silver ball appears. They play with the giant silver ball. I’ve had this dream. Quickly, we’re back to Fortnite dances, this time in the forest. Because we all know that YouTube comment sections aren’t a cesspool of racism and trash, but rather requests for YouTubers to half-ass Fortnite dances in the forest.

Fortnite dances on the soccer pitch. Fortnite dances on a K-pop stage. A license plate on the car in space. Quick flashes of everything we’ve seen and… and… Will Smith.

7:01 – 8:13

Will Smith can see the bus in the sky, declares it’s “hot” and collects his paycheck. The last minute is filled with links to everything and everyone featured in the video, while we watch some dude make a rewind button out of mud and clay. Because that makes a whole shit ton of sense. All this apparent talent in this video, all the collective creativity in the virtual room, and YouTube spends the entire last minute of the video giving them the best gift of all — links to their pages.

In true YouTube fashion, this video has quickly become the source of much worse criticism than mine, if you can even call it that. It’s a trash compendium of the year in successes for YouTube stars, with a slight nod to anything else that might exist on YouTube, without even really skimming beneath the surface.

This is not a true year-in-review video for a social media platform, this is a strange reward for the YouTubers who have created a profitable life on the platform. Congrats, you did great on YouTube this year and haven’t burned out of existence, appear in this video and congratulate yourself and your peers.

Ninja, to his credit, stays above it all in the bus. Perhaps this is a metaphor, as he found greater success on another platform and the YouTubers are below him. Seek whatever answers you want from this video, but don’t read the comments. Never read the comments.

Did you watch YouTube’s Year in Review? What did you think? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Writing about consumer technology, social media and the deep layers of psychological torture endured by all of it. The world is changing, but that doesn't mean we can't be cynical about it. It's not all sunshine and roses in Silicon Valley. It's self loathing, pretentiousness and machines that squeeze juice for you. Also, a strong affinity for toasters.Follow on Twitter @cebsilver for them jokes. Chaotic neutral. Pitches to cebsilver@gmail.com

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