Our brains love to categorize, simplify and stereotype. We find few things more enjoyable than laughing at ourselves and the idiosyncratic communities that surround us. New Yorkers, frat stars, hipsters, surfers, college freshmen, lesbians, LA residents, yogis … there are “Sh*t (Blank) Says” videos for all these populations. YouTube documentation of these social moments — which may compose the cultural history of our wonderfully wigged-out generation — is, based on quantities of YouTube likes and of country-spanning renditions, what we get a kick out of these days. Yes, somehow, someway, the series is still alive.

It all began with — forget Adam and Eve this time — not women, but “Girls.” Well, no, that’s not even accurate … the YouTube trend started with two clever boys named Kyle Humphrey and Graydon Sheppard who triumphantly mocked the shit girls say, by means of social media. The key to the success of the first episode of “Sh*t Girls Say” and other quality spin-offs out on the Internet is that these comedians were spot on … in a demeaning and generalized way, but still. Sheppard and Juliette Lewis killed it on the execution, letting vibrant humor gleam through their vocal imitations of, “Like I’m not even joking right now,” and, “Listen. Listen. Listen. Listen. Listen … shut up!”

This single video has over 15 million hits, a beast of a meme unleashed. It’s not exclusive anymore because the trend has literally spanned as far as “Sh*t Nobody Says” and “Sh*t People Say About Sh*t People Say” videos.

I’ve been trying to decide the level of offense these videos reach, and it seems to be a very complex answer. For a yogi watching “Sh*t Yogis Say,” it may work as a self-defense mechanism, making the yogi feel less stupid about the ridiculously archetypal utterances that come out of their mouths. There may be gain here for the yogi in question, and this can be applied to all populi.

The majority of these short films, falling under the same meme of #shitpeoplesay, illuminates the dark side of the Western psyche. When we view these clips, the content isn’t shocking to us — and that’s where the real issue might be. For the most part, the content isn’t unfamiliar because the stereotypes already exist in our minds, but the craze externalizes these thoughts in an exaggerated manner that sets these archetypes further apart.

We laugh at the renditions of the stereotypes we identify with because we get it, but when we laugh at shit said about another person’s religion, location, social class, ethnicity, sex or career field that is not our own, it gets messy.

Truth: It’s only appropriate to laugh when it’s your shit. It makes viewers feel better about pigeonholing groups of people when they step into the “it’s not just me” mentality that these videos bring about. But I don’t see any positive implications unearthing themselves from soiled thoughts being made public. Bystander apathy, anybody? While this term isn’t quite accurate, since this isn’t about helping a victim in an emergency situation, there is a diffusion of responsibility happening, a pacification of mind via the discovery that it’s not just you who is putting people in tight boxes.

As well as becoming pacified, we may be becoming more desensitized to the injustice of cataloguing and generalizing a type of person by one of their personal factors. Watching these videos, even if you don’t totally agree with the words, is likely priming viewers through exposure to generalizations that subconsciously affect the way we think of the imitated group.

There are absolutely offensive opinions being thrown around in the videos that are aimed at specific ethnicities, sexes, religions and sexual preferences — and that’s not cool — but some humor does originate when the topic is of a less controversial nature. For example, in “Sh*t Hipsters Say,” which happens to lack humor, lines like “Have you ever read any Bukowski?” or “I hate Adele” don’t cross the line of inappropriate. But most lines from spin-offs like “Sh*t White Girls Say to Brown (Desi/Indian) Girls” go far too far — except the director, writer and actors in this short film seem to be Desi/Indian and poking fun at bits of their own culture. Does that make it okay? Probably.

“Sh*t People Say About Sh*t People Say Videos” gets it right: When watching a video that addresses one of your own typecasts or folds of society, you say, “That’s so true … It’s funny, because it’s really true.”

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