Comment of the Week: Internet Laugh Syndrome Edition


Comment of the Week: Internet Laugh Syndrome Edition

Illustration: Akshita Monga

Come on, readers! Buck up. Our comments section this week was full of garden-variety accusations of minority appeasement when we wrote about Rajasthan’s new slash-and-burn policy. (Please chaps, for the last time, this is not the Samajwadi Party page.)

But one comment did catch our eye; this one left behind by one Baba Mohan, on an article about humour in the era of LOL.

We feel you, Baba, we really do. In the age of snark and fake LOLs at #failjokes, your comment is so good and real, it makes our hearts ache. It is a reflection of how jaded and pessimistic our generation is about finding happiness in our everyday lives. If this comment is any indication, we can safely assume nothing offline brings us joy anymore.

So your sibling just welcomed your niece or nephew IRL, we wager it won’t make you as happy as seeing the wee baby’s visage behind an Instagram filter. Got a new puppy? Forget smiling at it in real life, gush and fawn over it on Facebook. Heart reax only. Laughing or smiling takes a bunch of facial muscles working in concert to produce a visible parting of the lips and a brightening of the face. Fuck that shit, use a couple of finger muscles instead to thumbs up the post.

What may seem fairly commonplace to us in the now, is a disturbing psychological disorder that we’ve just invented, called ILS or Internet Laugh Syndrome. ILS presents itself with a host of symptoms. In the early stages, sufferers use the “Haha” reaction on FB more frequently than any other. Later-stage complications include visual and auditory hallucinations, such as seeing a laughing smiley appear behind the performer at an open-mic or stand-up show.

The last and final stage is the most disturbing, when a sufferer’s cheek muscles atrophy and the vocal chords are unable to physically sustain actual laughter. You’ll find ILS patients roaming the streets as humourless zombies, using the words “LOL” and “LMAO” as substitutes for real laughter. You won’t hear much about the disease because it’s a silent killer. And also because on the internet, no one can hear you laugh.

There is hope yet for sufferers, however. Getting out there and finding a puppy is a failsafe option. But if you’d rather stay indoors, there’s always this.