Nobody enjoys the distraction of stupid Internet crap more than I. A woodpecker flying with a weasel on its back thankfully distracts us from real news, like passionate Academy Awards speeches and Bruce Jenner's alleged sex change. Nevertheless, I didn't really get that "what color is the dress" thing. It was boring; it was the baseball of viral Internet stories, the C-SPAN of what's trending.
Some people looked at the dress and saw white and gold. Some people looked at the dress and saw blue and black. I looked at the dress and saw 1980s pro wrestling legend Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. Scientists say it has something to do with the reflection of the light.
Nevertheless, the Internet dress sensation and the horrible, despicable, worthless people who couldn't stop talking about it got me thinking about our relationship with colors.
Conduct your own sociological study. Go up to ten random people, introduce yourself, and say, "Quick. Without thinking about it, ask me a personal question." I bet "What's your favorite color?" pops up the most frequently, along with "How old are you?" and "Why are you handcuffed to Taylor Swift?" One's favorite color gives no real insight into his or her personality. But, yet, people want to know because we love colors.
According to most polls, the largest percentage of Americans name blue as their favorite color. Blue has it easy. It's all around us. The sky is blue. The ocean water is blue. Well, water isn't actually blue. It's clear. It just wants you to think it's blue, like when people wear blue-colored contact lenses.
Yes, so many people wish they had blue eyes. Nobody with blue eyes wears brown-colored contact lenses. Nobody likes brown. People with brown eyes don't even like to use the word. Instead, they say that their eyes are hazel. It sounds more exotic. Hazel is brown for the insecure. I'm not even sure if hazel is a real color. Crayola doesn't make a hazel-colored crayon. It makes an eggplant-colored crayon (seriously), a timberwolf-colored crayon (really), and even a Vladamir-Putin-morning breath-colored crayon (no, not really). But no hazel.
But brown is a wonderful color. It's the color of big beautiful eyes, of long flowing hair, of chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Unfortunately for brown, it's also the color of feces. And it's hard to live that down. If people crapped indigo, we'd have an entirely different color perspective.
Red might be our most intriguing color. On one hand, we associate red with love and valentines. When children draw a heart, they color it red... unless they're drawing Dick Cheney's heart, in which case it's more accurate to use a grayish gremlin-like hue. On the other hand, red is violent- bloody and loud and unstable.
America's red states associate themselves with a conservative, anti-communist philosophy. And communist countries associate themselves with the color red. If red were a Senator, it would be accused of political flip-flopping.
Politicians usually wear red ties during debates. Red denotes power. You don't want to mess with red. Red comes before blue when describing the colors of our flag. Yet, I don't think I've ever met anyone who claimed red as their favorite color. Really, we pledge allegiance to the blue part of the flag.
Red is passionate but dangerous, powerful yet unpredictable. In Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts turned heads in her red dress. On the other hand, she was wearing it for her job as a prostitute. Then George Costanza suddenly went from being the movie's comic relief to a violent sexual predator. Weird movie.
After blue, green and purple are the colors that people list as their favorite, according to my unscientific poll of how I think people might answer if I asked them.
Green is blue's cooler, better-looking-but-in-a-more-subtle-unconventional-way cousin. Green is my favorite color. No reason in particular. I just like the way it looks. I'm pro-Kermit. You just can't go wrong with grassy fields and leaves and mountains and the Hulk. Green brings to mind the environment. I think that everyone likes green. Even some of the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracking that seep into our drinking water are green. In a way, we're all "going green."
My mother tells me to wear green because she says it brings out the color of my eyes. And I say Speaker of the House John Boehner should wear more orange because it brings out the color of his face. But I don't really believe that different people have different colors that look better on them. I mean, everyone looks good in black. Everyone looks dull in beige. And, unless you're Prince or the Grimace, everyone under the age of ten looks ridiculous in purple. (Though, in fairness, purple does bring out the color of my grapes.)
Customarily, boys wear blue and girls wear pink, though this relatively new tradition has no objective basis. I mean, boys aren't blue and girls aren't pink. If your newborn baby is a Smurf, then I can understand the blue ribbon on the birth announcement... along with the awkward explanation about who the father is. Otherwise, it's illogical. Perhaps it's time to change things up a bit. How about yellow for boys and silver for girls? Or why does it have to be about gender? Let's do magenta for easy deliveries and peach for difficult births. Fuchsia for C-sections.
I sometimes wonder how blind people- those born without sight- perceive color. Can they "see" red and blue in their mind? I would miss losing the ability to see and enjoy all the wondrous colors that surround us. On the other hand, blind people are also unable to see The Real Housewives of New Jersey on the Bravo Channel. So in that respect, they're lucky.
Some people are color blind. They can see. They just can't see color. When I was in elementary school, we all had to take a test for color blindness. I had difficulty with the test. (I still do.) Hence, I was told I was color blind. But I wasn't color blind. I can see color, and I can easily distinguish one color from another. I mean, hold up an American flag and I can clearly point out the difference between the red stripes and the white stripes and the tangerine-colored stripes. Seriously, though, I question the accuracy of the color blind test. But thank you, elementary school, for making me feel weird and different.
Also, when I was a kid, we learned about a rainbow's color sequence by using the acronym Roy G Biv. And we learned about early 90s hip-hop using Bell Biv DeVoe. As a matter of fact, rainbows span a continuous, infinite spectrum of color. But as a way of remembering the seven colors most visible to the naked eye, our teacher told us to think of this name. It's interesting that Roy G Biv works so well as a mnemonic device since I've never met anyone with the last name Biv, and after checking the white pages of various cities, I'm not sure if Biv even exists as an actual American surname.
Roy G Biv, if memory serves correct, stands for Red, Orange, Yelp, Guarini, Botox, Idina Menzel, and, oh, let's say Violet, which is like purple for rich people. Or something like that. Basically, it's the main colors.
Actually, one might suggest black and white are the main colors. But science explains that black and white are not really colors, per say. Rather, black is the absence of color and white is the presence of all color. Perhaps. But can science explain plaid?
Science aside, out of convenience, most people still refer to black and white as colors. I mean, nobody ever asks, "What is your favorite absence of color?" Answer: the 2012 Republican National Convention.
We refer to people by color. Some people are black. Some people are white. Some people are brown. Black people call themselves black. White people call themselves white. Brown people don't refer to themselves as brown. In Washington D.C., some white people and black people are called redskins. Although the actual race of people that is being referred to as red doesn't use that term because it's insensitive. Hence, some white people and black people and brown people say that the people in charge of the Redskins are cowardly, or yellow. Yellow can also a separate race of people, though that is not really an acceptable term and would never be used to describe a football team. Other people say that the people in charge of the Redskins just don't know any better because they're still kind of new at this, which makes them green. And the controversy makes people blue- which means that some people are sad about the nickname while other people refuse to change it until they're "blue in the face." And all fifty shades of Christian Grey are into rough sex. Orange you glad this paragraph is coming to an end?
That race is described by color isn't accurate, of course. Skin color is more subtle. No real human being is literally white or black. Clowns and mimes are white, but that's just the make-up and besides, they're not real human beings. We're all the same basic color, just lighter or darker versions, based on environment differences and how often you go to the tanning center in the mall. Hence, color shouldn't separate society. Color unites us. And regardless of your race, we all agree that the built-in crayon sharper on the Crayola crayon box is stupid and doesn't work.