By Lauren D’Ambra
Last Thursday, I was working on some graphics for the newspaper when my phone started incessantly buzzing with lots of messages. Confused, because it was barely 9am, I picked up my phone to see what the fuss was about, and discovered that a student GroupMe I am a part of was riled up over the fact someone had posted a poll asking people to vote on what there was more of in the world: wheels or doors.
Puzzled, I sat and looked at my phone, still buzzing as people chimed in to voice their opinions. First off, what a weird question to ask. Second, why is everyone so passionate about wheels and doors all of a sudden? Third, literally all I was trying to do was finish my Obi Wan Kenobi graphic in time for this edition, why was everyone debating this now?
I wound up relaying the story to my roommate as she walked by the door to my room, phone still vibrating with notifications by the way. She laughed and explained it to me: someone on Twitter had started this debate with a friend, a bunch of people had gotten involved, TikTok jumped in and blew the whole thing out of proportion, and now I was an innocent spectator to what could be called the most passionately vicious group debate in the history of this GroupMe.
Honestly, learning that TikTok was behind the whole mess cleared up any confusion on my part and I wound up reading through some of the messages, pausing only once to send a GIF of Kenan Thompson eating popcorn. Some of the comments made some decent points, others were borderline rude, and others still were sent after specific people to poke fun. Somewhere between bemused and mildly annoyed, I read a couple of the more savage comments out loud to my roommate so we could share a laugh.
This heated debate went on for nearly three hours, finally concluding itself as I was getting out of my environmental laboratory class. I was reminded very vividly of the 2015 Buzzfeed dress scandal, (yes, that one) where no one could agree on the color of a random cocktail dress and in person fights ensued for what felt like weeks. I was also reminded of some other silly questions I’ve heard lately, like “Is water wet?” and “Is a hot dog a sandwich?”.
So, why do these crazy internet debates happen over such seemingly insignificant questions? In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter if the dress is blue and black instead of white and gold or if there are more wheels or doors in the world? Why do we care so much about these silly queries? I think the answer is quite simple: we don’t. No one actually cares about the presence of wheels or doors or whatever, but debating what the hypothetical right answer might be is supposed to be an interesting way to pass time.
Debates like these are impossible to answer because the parameters defining them are often unclear or vague (The better part of an hour of the three hour GroupMe debate was spent defining what constitutes as a door and a wheel). They’re also tricky to answer because every discussion happening regarding the topic will have different parameters attached to it depending on the people in the conversation. For example, my GroupMe spent a while debating whether or not to count doors and wheels in peoples Minecraft games. They also spent a bit of time going over popular phrases and/or songs containing the words ‘door’ and ‘wheel’. Adding constituents like these may make for a more interesting debate, but in doing so, you prevent the possibility of the question ever being answered.
For anyone wondering my opinion, I’m pretty sure there’s more wheels in the world because you can have doors with wheels but wheels do not have doors. However, I also strongly believe that this is one of those questions that isn’t posed to have an answer, but rather create an intense debate between friends and colleagues. Though, the next time one of these impossible questions decides to dominate social media, could we have a less violent and lengthy debate please?
Edit: And less than twenty-four hours later, they’re debating it again. *facepalms*