A photograph of a horrid blue and black dress enraged Twitter Thursday evening as the online-o-sphere was rent into two camps: those who believe the dress in question to be blue and black, which it is, and those who believe the dress to be white and gold, which it is not. The photograph of the blue and black dress is below.
Warning: No matter what you decide—blue/black, white/gold, or don’t care—looking at this photograph will soon cause you to feel alienated from large swaths of the human race.
The image, which has captivated our culture since the end of tonight’s Wheel Of Fortune, originated on a Tumblr blogspot called Whoa wow wow!. When the author made the original post, she was already experiencing a localized version of the soon-to-be-global argument over this charmless frock. She wrote:
guys please help me - is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can’t agree and we are freaking the fuck out
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By late Thursday evening, the post had 350,000 notes or likes or Diggs or whatever the hell. Tumblr hadn’t seen this sort of frenzy since the last time someone posted a picture of Link.
Even the diction in the post spread and became canonical: Nobody was arguing that the dress was “gold and white.” On Thursday, the dress spilled out of Tumblr and smeared onto Twitter, oozing to the top of the micro-bloggery’s “trending” list, a list of things you are sick of seeing in your Twitter feed.
If you see a blue and black dress in the photo above, you are correct. That’s the end of the story for you. Grab your spear and join the other partisans. If you see a gold and white dress, you’re wrong, but you’ll have more fun. Because if you keep looking at the dress—perhaps catching it in a sidelong glance, or as you scroll your browser window back up to look at it again—at some point the world will shift. You will see the blueness and blackness you could never perceive before. You will commune with a deeper self. It will be very weird.
The people who see blue and black from the outset will never achieve this transition. How sad for them.
Yes, Josh Modell and I still use AIM to communicate. How sad for us.
It’s strange that people see such different colors in this T.J. Maxx clearance rack mess, and stranger still that both camps are so assured of their correctness. The owner of the original Tumblr Livejournal weblog posted another photo of the unflattering outfit, showing its blue and black color scheme clearly:
I can attest, however, that even after viewing this evidence, it is possible to look back at the original photo and see nothing but white and gold. The white/gold truthers—I used to be one—will insist that the dress appears to be in a shadow, or maybe the white balance of the photo is off (which it is, but not in the way it seems to these misguided souls).
Perhaps the harsh overexposure of the background and the undersaturation of the photo conspire to dazzle the brain. But many more theories abound, as half the fun of this madness is to theorize about its roots. There are innumerable possibilities: The offending phone-camera shot is shitty in so many respects that it’s hard to settle on just one way it makes the dress look even worse than it inherently is. Because good lord, white and gold? Who would wear this dress in that color scheme? “Look at me, I’m queen of the junior prom chaperones!” she would say, and later she would have too much to drink.
I don’t understand this odd dress debate and I feel like it’s a trick somehow. I’m confused and scared. PS it’s OBVIOUSLY BLUE AND BLACK
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) February 27, 2015
Taylor Swift weighed in, and she will be proven right in the end, as she always is. You remember what she said about the haters? And look what happened: They did.
Cleveland Browns punter Spencer Lanning declared himself firmly on the side of white and gold. The Browns went 7-9 this season.
Wednesday night’s episode of Broad City appears to have foreseen the controversy, with Abbi representing team blue and Ilana team white. There is nothing Broad City cannot do.
The top story on Reddit this evening was an image of hand-jewelry enthusiast Arnold Schwarzenegger with popular recording artist Katy Perry, who wore a sweatshirt with one of those Super Bowl sharks. Try to keep up, Reddit, that was like two memes ago.
Quiet, IHOP. Nobody asked you. And butter isn’t white, for pete’s sake, it’s—no. No. I’m not going to engage.
In other news Thursday, the FCC approved new regulations that were viewed as a major victory for net neutrality. In the hours since, our society has dedicated untold bandwidth to a llama chase and an apparel-based optical illusion. It’s as if people took the $100 bill of newly assured Internet freedom and used it to light a cigar. What better way to celebrate? Llamas and dresses and tweets and tumbles—tonight we revel in asinine bullshit, because we can.