02/27/2015 11:16 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Emperor's New Dress Exists; Has Gone Viral

What color is this dress to you?

Remember the story of the emperor's new clothes? Briefly today, it seemed it just might have found its real-life, modern day adaptation. But the truth is stranger than fiction.

Tumblr user Swiked posted this picture of a dress with the caption: "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 f*** out."


It turns out people had strong opinions on the color of the dress:


In just 24 hours, "dressgate", "whiteandgold", "the dress", and "What Colors Are This Dress" began trending on Twitter. Those over at Gawker were exasperated and BuzzFeed's Cates Holderness even put up a poll. I mean, people were taking this super seriously and claiming the dress changed color in front of their eyes and so on.

I hadn't been to my ophthalmologist recently, but the dress looked so white-and-gold to me that I voted blue-and-black just to trip everyone else out. But the split in vote was rather drastic:


I don't know what made me and the others on #teamwhiteandgold think almost 80,000 people (now: half a million) on the poll were willing to collectively troll the world into thinking the dress was a color it wasn't. But hey, this IS the Internet. Perhaps this day of mass trolling was inevitable.

But when I looked at the same picture of the same white-and-gold dress a couple of hours later. It. Was. Blue. And. Black.

By this time, the people behind the dress confirmed they were still clueless and VICE had called in the experts for theories as to what was going on. But none of it answered the question-- what color is this dress, REALLY? Even if we were to both agree it was, say, blue-- is your blue my blue? What is blue anyway?

If we can't agree on something as simple as the color of this dress, even to ourselves, how can we agree on anything at all?

Back when I thought the dress was white and gold, I believed like the '90s cartoon Daria Morgendorffer that if the emperor looks naked, the emperor is likely naked; that my perception was THE reality and that the Internet was full of trolls.


But then along came the biggest troll of all: