Wednesday, January 08, 2014

what if...linkbait had existed in 1914?

What If Linkbait Had Existed in 1914?
Click on image for larger version. Don't click on it expecting to go to any of these stories.

Foods you shouldn't eat. Celebrities you shouldn't care about. Items that could change the destiny of humanity. Forgotten child stars as they look now. Sensationalistic photo galleries depicting people who require quiet, sensitive help.

You know what I'm talking about: those squares of content, usually at the side or bottom of a webpage, which drag you into an infinite hole of linkbait. There are whole sites whose grand purpose is to link you to links that will link you to links that will link you to linkbait links. The depths you can plumb are depressingly impressive.

After seeing one roundup o' linkbait too many, a light went on in my head: what if this stuff had existed a century ago?

The result: the collage above, based on what a websurfer might have run across had the internet existed in January 1914.

Some of the faux links are based solely on the teasers linkbait producers reel us in with. Others, I can answer:

What's The Deal With Kaiser Bill's Arm?: Traumatic delivery during the future German emperor's birth in 1859 led to Erb's Palsy in his left arm, leaving it shorter than the right. Wilhelm II used several techniques to mask the situation, including holding a pair of gloves or, as seen here, clutching the arm.

You Won't Believe Which Keystone Comedian He Is!: Ford Sterling, one of the legendary silent comedy studio's first stars. During his tenure at Keystone, Sterling usually glued on a goatee to portray a "Dutch" character. Were this collage produced later in 1914, I might have used makeup-free pictures of Charlie Chaplin, Mack Swain, or anyone else known for their screen mustaches.

Politicians You Wouldn't Recognize From Their 70s Looks: The 1870s, that is. We'll let you guess this one. Hint: American president.

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