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Tumblr teens know exactly who the late Antonin Scalia is, thank you very much

Tumblr teens know exactly who the late Antonin Scalia is, thank you very much


Anatomy of an insane reblog chain

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It starts with a confession: "I have no idea who Scalia was."

Then a joke, to deflect attention from a failure on the part of public education: "Isn't that the thing that people call themselves when they are furries but with reptiles?"

The perfect seed for a baffling chain of Tumblr reblogs with no clear endpoint or purpose!

"You're thinking of scalies," starts the first reply. "Scalia is a quantity that has magnitude but not direction." And we're off to the races.

Obviously the joke only works if the next person to reblog the chain accurately guesses the former's intended Scalia-adjacent word, Jeopardy-style. As the chain continues, this feat becomes more and more impressive. If you can't guess or Google your way to the correct word for "the scary bird-like creatures from the 1982 fantasy movie The Dark Crystal," then you'll have to give the chain a like and move along. Listen, the game is for everyone, but only if you're funny and not dumb.

You didn't memorize those SAT vocab words for nothing!

Responses flit in and out of pure nerddom ("Scalia are green-skinned, shape-shifting antagonists in the Marvel comic universe"), pop culture ("Scalia is the electronic music producer and DJ who just won a grammy"), scientific minutiae ("Scalias are Australian legless lizards, of the genus Pygopus, with prehensile tails and scaly flaps in place of hindlimbs"), and five-point SAT vocab words ("Scalia are subjective internal experiences") — the only constant is absurdity. And of course, never explaining who Antonin Scalia is. Because who cares!

Tumblr is known as a home for the young, the weird, and the witty, and they come out in droves for something like this. Under the guise of educating each other on a current event, Tumblr's hordes take what might have been a serious question and turn it into a well-meaning troll that now involves over 40,000 people. This joke would be impossible to execute on Twitter, where replies quickly get clogged with the usernames of everyone involved, or on Facebook, where all it takes is one "lol you guys are nuts" from someone's mom to derail all the fun. It's a friendly reminder to Tumblr that the hideous reblog chains they would like to clean up are actually the truest expression of "it's a feature, not a bug." To some, it's the platform's core feature.

To sum: Tumblr is obviously the best social media platform.