The internet has made us doubters. After a decade of being burned by viral content—from Lonely Girl to balloon boy to whatever Jimmy Kimmel did that one time—we’ve become more cautious. And, in some cases, a little callous.
Take today’s news about Colleen Ballinger (better known as Miranda Sings) and her husband Joshua Evans (better known as Joshua DTV). Combined, they have almost 6 million YouTube subscribers—and that’s not counting another 6 million from Ballinger’s Miranda Sings account. On Friday, they each uploaded videos announcing their divorce after just over a year of marriage. They cried. They apologized. They begged their viewers to keep believing in love. And yet I watched them with a pronounced side-eye—inspecting their performances with my hands clasped together in front of my face, my index fingers extended and touching.
Take this moment, for example:
“I hate that I can’t control that [this video] is gonna end up in the hands of all these people who are gonna be so mean and use it as thumbnail clickbait and titles of news articles. So gross. To use our heartbreak as a way to get attention. So gross.”
Instead of saying, “Aw bb!” I thought, “What do you mean you can’t control this? You could have chosen not to upload an 11-minute video of yourself crying about your divorce?” How rude of me. Or was it smart of me? Only time will tell.
Is this the end of a great love or an elaborate performance meant to promote Ballinger’s upcoming Netflix series, scheduled to premiere in just two weeks? I’m not sure, but I do know I’m uncomfortable.