After reading this comic, I think we can all agree that Mary has
demonstrated that she has perfected the art of the clapback. I mean she
even has her own catchphrase! OK. Maybe not perfected, but somebody
somewhere would give her points for her sarcasm even if she didn’t stick
the landing of her clapback.
For the uninitiated, the clapback is the art of checking someone with
a witty and cutting rejoinder. This is not to be confused with the
crap-back, which involves free return shipping labels and a lack of
decency. No, the clapback is certainly all the rage on social media.
Nothing becomes trending faster on Twitter than when someone famous has an interaction with another person
(even better if they’re famous as well), that is witty and/or fierce.
It’s surprising that such antisocial behavior is so popular because
initially social media was designed for us to find friends or follow
each other’s thoughts and accomplishments, not to judge each other,
right? Just kidding, it was so Harvard students could judge which of a
pair of photos was more boneable.
All this being said, if you think I’m going to complain about the
toxicity of clapback culture as being mean-spirited or bullying, I’m
afraid you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m also not going to gripe that
it turns almost every interaction into a set-up for a punch. I mean how
monotonous can you get, doing constant set-ups and punches over and over
and over again (by the way, this the 50th Corgi Boss strip. Congrats to me!!!!)?
No, the problem with clapback culture on social media is that it is
incredibly democratizing. Everyone thinks that they have something witty
or cutting to say. This is because all it takes is something that
strikes a wide enough set of sass sensibilities and you could be the
next viral sensation. Everyone could be really witty and clever. That
sounds great, right? Well, it also means that so many—so so so many
others—will miss the target of a good clapback. They will not being
quite funny enough or just offensive or, worst of all, boring. These
still-born clapbacks populate the responses of so many Tweets, because
everything is a set-up looking for a punch in this world. Don’t believe
me? Look at this.
Does that need a clapback, really? Or just follow Piers Morgan on
Twitter. Sad. Or treat yourself to the comedy stylings of Mike Huckabee.
It’s like a open mic night at the improv, if that improv was in hell
with a two-drink minimum of vinegar. The worst right?
Chin-checking is a little bit like deep-frying a turkey. You can do
it if you have no idea what you’re doing—no one will stop you—but maybe
you shouldn’t burn everybody’s house down for your moment of glory
putting someone in their place. If you’re not sure if you can, maybe you
should stick to that other important function of social media: having
good conversations and vicariously enjoying other people’s interests.
Failing that, just write a crass app about whether people are boneable
Trivia: During Mary’s teenage summers, between the
years she went to Chess Camp and Make-Out-with-Braces Camp, she attended
Clapback Summer Academy for the Acerbically Gifted.