Remember “The Dress”? Of course you remember the dress. The dress—which was white and gold, and I will not brook discord on this matter—was a cause of much delighted-in debate and inquiry back in halcyon February 2015. The hashtag #thedress netted some 11,000 tweets per minute during its winter’s day in the sun. We all had a lot of fun with the dress. So why not give it another go?
Earlier this week, we took a dry run with the Bill Murray/Tom Hanks debate. Originally posted to the Facebook group Reasons My Son Is Crying, the picture features an older, knobby-nosed white man who is clearly Bill Murray. This fact was confirmed by the picture’s caption and, again, by its photographer. It’s Bill Murray. But that did not stop an intense debate from brewing up: Maybe it was Tom Hanks?
It’s Bill Murray.
Today’s controversy is an Instagram image of someone’s legs—legs which appear to be wrapped in cellophane, or are just incredibly shiny for genetic reasons about which I can only speculate.
What is going on here? Are humans shiny now? A handful of social posts repurposing the original image (which is now private) have netted reposts in the thousands. Unfortunately, the answer’s already out: These are just streaks of paint, made to look like the glare of lights on a plastic surface.
Once you know the trick, the jig is up. You can see the disappointment in the replies. Quoth one @DarcieGoodey, “OHHHHHHHHH.” It’s less point-counterpoint than befuddlement-clarity, which is why this particular internet argument is not long for this world. The dress was an interesting case study on the way our brains perceive color, particularly when poorly recreated in a digital context. It’s literally white and gold in the image, but also literally black and blue in real life. The only question is if your brain color-corrects it or not. The Dress was the platonic ideal of internet content: something for people to argue about perpetually, but so innocuous no one could get mad over it.
I do not anticipate such a fate for shiny legs. But hey, they had me fooled for a minute there. Maybe it briefly fooled you long enough to forget your own real-world troubles.