I have a confession to make. I, J. Iufer, created the now infamous 19 Video “No Cry” Challenge.
What started as a game to find the most tear-jerking videos on the internet became a massive experiment on the human psyche. The playlist was originally private, but when a fellow reddit-user complained of feeling chronically emotionless I decided to release pandoras box.
Submitted on a dismal Monday, the playlist soon hit front-page, racking up thousands of views in just a few days. Who knew crying could be so contagious?
” F***, lost on the third one. Well played.” one commenter wrote.
“How’d you even make it that far?!” another replied.
What soon followed is arguably one of the saddest threads on reddit ever. Tales of lost lovers, aged pets, and childhood tears.
Most surprising of all, despite the site being mostly Male, nobody had the slightest hesitation in posting how hard they cried.
I thought of how society discourages emotions in men, especially ones involving tears. For something so natural, a lot of people deny themselves what it means to be human. It’s largely debated whether animals have the ability to shed emotional tears or whether it’s just a stress response. You know what I think? To paraphrase Jason Mraz “(It’s) only human”.
A lot can be said for how technology isolates us, leaving us more connected and further alone. Maybe this is why depression rates are higher than ever, maybe not. What I am sure of is that the internet has become a sort of 21st Century Confessional. We air our dirty laundry without a care for who reads it under the guise of our anonymous selves, and we’re better off for it. Maybe that’s part of why Confessionals are so important for certain religions, they offer catharsis.
For those unfamiliar, catharsis is the “purification” or “release” of long pent-up emotions. If you’ve ever heard of repentance, it’s usually what follows the humility we feel from catharsis.
I was called a lot of things for making that playlist. Sadistic, Psychotic, Worthy of Death (to paraphrase one tumblr user) and to be honest I have zero regrets. Because for every insulting comment, I received 10 of praise.
“I wept openly and loudly at the Thai Life Insurance commercial. I haven’t cried like that in years… A cry-gasm of sorts. A cry-piphany. A cry so sincere and honest, I couldn’t have cared had anyone seen me do it. Thank you.”
“I just saw Last Minutes with Oden last night and LOST IT. Sometimes I just need a good cry. Very cathartic. Thanks for this link.”
“Had to call my mom today to tell her I loved her. I suggest everyone does the same.”
Better yet, while youtube comments are usually filled with racism and profanity, anything slightly less than kindness got buried to oblivion. Perhaps it’s our pride that makes us hateful.
I imagined thousands going to their jobs that day, letting the rude driver merge with nothing but a friendly wave, giving the wheezing cyclist room at the stoplight. Maybe this is what The Beatles meant by “All you need is love“. People seem comfortable showing emotions but hold back when it comes to loving one another. Maybe, just maybe, tears are the road to enlightenment.
For those brave enough to try, here is the 19 Video “No Cry” Challenge. You can thank (or curse) me later.
Be good to each other, and speak in honesty.
– J. Iufer