We Give You The Six Degrees Of FAIL
We fail every day. Before the advent of smartphones and the internet, people could fail without the moment being immortalised and viewed endlessly by your friends, let alone millions of strangers.
Failures caught on video are in all caps. The FAIL is a social contract between the target of the failure and the viewer of the video. There's a contrary relationship between the pleasure derived by the viewer, and the sympathy felt for the target.
These are the six degrees of FAIL.
Degree 1 - The Common Fail
You're minding your business. Maybe at work. Maybe cooking pancakes. Not seeking FAIL. But FAIL finds you. It could happen to anyone. This is the entry-level failure that evokes max sympathy from the viewer.
Also includes any video involving kids or animals because they're cute, don't know any better, and if you can't feel sympathy for that then you're the worst.
Degree 2 - The Drunk Fail
Booze makes people do dumb sh*t, ergo FAIL. Low-degree on the failure scale, because all higher forms involve fully lucid people.
The Drunk Fail is highly relatable. We've all been there, we've all made bad decisions. If you're trying to be the life of party and sacrifice your dignity for the greater good, then you have our sympathy.
Degree 3 - The Surprise Fail
The M. Night Shyamalan of FAIL videos. You could be serenely filming your kids playing sport or have a triumphant moment of un-FAIL. Incorrect.
The viewer presumes the target of failure, or is lulled into thinking no failure will occur, so is immediately shocked into sympathy.
Degree 4 - The Arrogant Fail
The backbone of the FAIL zeitgeist. Showboating for the camera, trying to impress the opposite sex, or anything involving a skateboard, snowboard, or BMX bike. You are putting yourself at risk of a FAIL, but arrogantly believe that you can beat the odds.
Only a subsequent ambulance ride will rouse any sympathy from the viewer. Includes a delightful sub-category called the Scorpion Fail -- we'll let you figure out why.
Degree 5 - The Synchronised Fail
Essentially an Arrogant Fail involving two or more people. The failure increases and sympathy decreases because at least one adult in the situation should have known better.
Degree 6 - The Karmic Fail
Where the universe decides to own you for being a jerk. Humiliating others, breaking rules or disrespecting public/private property will max out your FAIL, and reduce the viewer's sympathy to zero.
Sorry champ, you had it coming.
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