The three-second video, barely audible to ears not obsessively trained to pick up the dulcet tones of five British boy banders, purportedly features One Direction member Louis Tomlinson saying "I'm gay, it's pretty unfortunate."
Judge for yourself — and try to ignore the girl keening, "HI LOUIS":
Can you hear it? Neither can we. But that hasn't stopped hundreds of thousands of Directioners from losing their collective minds over the "coming out."
Although Tomlinson has repeatedly dismissed previous assertions about his sexuality, the One Direction fan hivemind has run with the notion that he has finally "come out," with more than 615,000 uses of the hashtag #ImGayItsPrettyUnfortunate between Saturday and Sunday evening.
It's hero worship at its most pathetic and terrifying. So-called "Larry 'Shippers" have been obsessed with the notion that Tomlinson and co-Directioner Harry Styles are secretly in a relationship, and have gone to dramatic lengths over the years to prove their suspicions.
Although Tomlinson, Styles and the rest of the band's members have gotten used to the perennial cries of 'shippers, the drama has occasionally spilled over into the lives of normal people. Keith Calder, a film producer, gained the obsessive attention of tens of thousands of Directioners by virtue of having the same name as Eleanor Calder, Tomlinson's model girlfriend. Those Larry 'Shippers, who believe that Eleanor Calder is merely an industry beard for Tomlinson and Styles' relationship, have filled in the nonexistent blanks and used Keith Calder's so-called industry connections as proof of the conspiracy.
Although it's refreshing that teen girls, who were on the receiving end of the condescending marketing of non-threatening boy band members in the 1990s, are now celebrating the inaccessibility of celebrity men (with a queer-positive conspiracy to boot), the obsession is out of control. Today's Larry 'Shippers are tomorrow's 9/11 truthers, people dedicated to moulding evidence to fit preexisting narratives that don't stand up under scrutiny. The world would be a smarter place — and Tomlinson's life a whole lot easier — if the fans toned down the crazy and took this Vine at face value.