Animated GIFs have been around, clogging up the Intertubes, for nearly as long as Netscape Navigator, the first browser into which the moving Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) files were intoduced. (Remember Netscape, that old dinosaur? If you're still using it, may I please direct you here or here?) If you're unsure what an animated GIF is, simply check out this comprehensive glossary of GIFs courtesy of Jezebel and we'll see you in about two days.
Unlike Netscape, those GIFs are experiencing a renaissance on the Internet in the same fashion as Polaroid cameras and film. Like Slate, we blame geek-savvy hipsters. Nevertheless, we enjoy a truly good animated GIF and its often hypnotic effect on viewers. Check anything and everything at Señor GIF (a LOLCat subsidiary, natch) for proof.
And then there's GASTROCINEMA.
A Tumblr page (another subtle nod to the hipster origins of the newly-popular animated GIF format) dedicated to animated GIFs solely of people eating and drinking in movies, GASTROCINEMA is at first only amusing. And then you keep watching. And then it gets darker.
GIFs of people performing actions in short, repetitive bursts can be interpreted by the eye in many ways. Some of the GIFs look like people having epileptic fits. Some of the GIFs look like people with obsessive-compulsive disorder licking their spoon clean UNTIL THE ANXIETY ATTACK GOES AWAY. Some of the GIFs look like people who are condemned to gnaw at a piece of pizza, shades of Sisyphus, that never diminishes or allows itself to be fully consumed.
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And then there are the GIFs that are just plain dirty. Wanna watch Laura Dern endlessly suck on a candy necklace, eyes closed in concentrated rapture? Go for it. How about Kitten Natividad drinking out of a carton of milk, the liquid spilling in a neverending stream down her chest as she gulps it all down? Yep. Hell, some of the GIFs actually are honest-to-God food porn. (That link is obviously NSFW.)
Still others remind me of a highly disturbing movie I once saw on Netflix. Alone. Poor decision. If you haven't heard of feederism, I'll just let Wikipedia fill you in on that little gem. Come back when you've showered.
The GIFs that show people feeding other people in an endless loop -- or, worse, force-feeding them in an endless loop -- take me back to the dark, dark hours spent watching Feed and then never being able to look at Alex O'Loughlin the same way again. It's ruined Hawaii Five-O for me, if you must know.
And yet, like when I was watching Feed, I find myself unable to look away from the glorious trainwreck that is GASTROCINEMA. You'll see. Oh, Internet. What disgusting treasures do you have stored up for us next week?