If you’ve been online today, you know that one year ago today, ‘the Dress’ became a cultural phenomenon. Is it blue and black? Or white and gold? (Spoiler alert: the lighting was weird so it created an optical illusion, but it’s blue and black. Now make it stop. Make it all stop.)
With this anniversary comes the inevitable avalanche of think pieces, oral histories, biting critiques, and gentle musings on the important meme.
The think piece industrial complex can be hard to navigate, but you’re in luck, for I am here to guide you through the best, worst, and entirely mediocre dress-related content on offer today.
Each piece of content will be judged by the following extremely scientific guidelines:
• Outlandish self-importance (1 being the least self-important, 10 being the most)
• Uniqueness of the angle (1 being the most unique, 10 being the least)
• General tolerability (1 being the most tolerable, 10 being the least)
So here they are, from worst to best.
CNET — “Why The Dress lives on in infamy one year later”
Summary: Basic overview of content spawned by ‘the Dress’
Choice quotes: “[‘The Dress’] has spun a thread across the world, reaching through our computer screens and tying us together in a debate that was both silly and engaging.”
Outlandish self-importance: 3. The author’s heart isn’t really in it.
Uniqueness of angle: 10. There is literally no angle.
General tolerability: 7. The piece isn’t intolerable, just deeply unnecessary.
BuzzFeed — “2/26: The Oral History”
Choice quotes: “On an internet that can feel increasingly toxic, these two back-to-back news events were nearly impossible to politicize.” – Charlie Warzel, writer
“I saw white and gold, and because I’m always thinking about this sort of thing, I immediately made the connection that the best thing in the world is white and gold: a cheese pizza.” – Jenna Bromberg, manager of digital engagement, Pizza Hut
Outlandish self-importance: 9. The author asserts we all came together on 2/26/2015 because of “The Dress” and its apolitical nature. I could argue it’s a lot more nuanced than that, but I won’t, because we don’t need any more think pieces on “the Dress.”
Uniqueness of angle: 2. Congrats! No one else did an oral history. That being said, an oral history is just a really detailed summary.
General tolerability: 8. While the tone will undeniably make you squirm, the informativeness of the piece redeems it a little bit.
Observer — “‘The Dress’ Is 1 Year Old Today — You Won’t Believe the Impact It’s Had on Science”
Summary: An overview of scientific studies that stemmed from the meme.
Choice quotes: “‘The dress’ is undoubtedly the most quintessential viral phenomenon ever.”
Outlandish self-importance: 7. Science is important, but calling “the Dress” “the most quintessential viral phenomenon ever” without any real evidence is questionable.
Uniqueness of angle: 5. The science angle is played out, but I’ll take it over ‘summary of events’ any day.
General tolerability: 4. The piece doesn’t make you squirm, but it’s vaguely boring.
The Guardian — “#TheDress one year on – eight things we learned from the viral phenomenon”
Choice quotes: “Sometimes it doesn’t matter if it’s ‘not news.’” (Good point.)
Outlandish self-importance: 2. A very reasonable overview of the ways “the Dress” was and was not important.
Uniqueness of angle: 7. While the angle itself isn’t unique, it included good information most other overviews skipped.
General tolerability: 4. It blends into the sea of “the Dress” think pieces, but it’s surprisingly tolerable!
Cosmopolitan.com — “It’s the 1-Year Anniversary of #TheDress, and Oh Sh*t, It Might Be Happening Again”
Summary: BuzzFeed is trying to make an Adidas jacket this year’s “the Dress.” Cosmo is not pleased.
Outlandish self-importance: 1.
Uniqueness of angle: 7. The angle is basically “‘the Dress’ sucks and is annoying.” Yeah, we know.
General tolerability: 5. The article is written tolerably, but the content — BuzzFeed trying to recreate the meme — is so abject, it’s hard to read.
Nymag.com — “Forget the Dress: The Best Meme of 2/26/2015 Was the Runaway Llamas”
Disclaimer: I am an objective journalist, and thus will judge my publication’s write-up of the anniversary by the same sickeningly judgmental guidelines as the other pieces.
Summary: Fuck “the Dress.” The llamas are where it’s at.
Choice quotes: “The simple truth is this: A good meme is hard to find. Those llamas had broken their chains and risked their lives to give us something to stare at. And instead of giving them their rightful place as that year’s great viral story, we gave in to the — honestly, super-ugly — striped dress.”
Outlandish self-importance: 4. While the article thoroughly demeans “the Dress,” it celebrates the llamas a little too hard.
Uniqueness of angle: 6. Sorry, babe, BuzzFeed did the llama-dress thing first.
General tolerability: 2. I found this piece very tolerable! I promise I’m being objective.
Jezebel — “It’s Been 1 Year Since ‘the Dress’ Ruined My Life”
Summary: It’s Sex and the City fanfic about “the Dress.”
Outlandish self-importance: 1.
Uniqueness of angle: 1.
General tolerability: 5. I mean, it’s SATC fanfic …
Wired — “A Year Ago, The Dress Murdered the Idea of Objective Color”
Summary: Uses “the Dress” as a lede to talk about the philosophical nature of how we see color.
Choice quotes: “Color is a proxy for understanding the difference between objective reality and the version of it that people perceive with their senses and create in their brains. It’d be good to connect those things.”
Outlandish self-importance: 2. I would argue the philosophy of color is sincerely important.
Uniqueness of angle: 1. Great angle! Utilizes the click-bait-iness of “the Dress” for good, not evil.
General tolerability: 3. I love philosophical musings about the subjectiveness of reality; I also understand why people would find it grossly insufferable.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t rate my own piece:
Outlandish self-importance: 10. As I write this piece, God speaks through me.
Uniqueness of angle: 1. No one else did this! Muhahaha!
General tolerability: 10. I can be a harsh-ass bitch.