1. The setup: there’s a new NBA video game coming out. NBA 2K14. LeBron James, the greatest basketball player in this or any universe, is on the cover.
2. LeBron James also has a reputation for flopping, i.e. falling over dramatically to make refs think he’s been fouled. So here’s how the game cover was posted on Reddit:
Now, let me walk you through the appropriate stages of reacting to this comment:
1. “Wait — a flop? Isn’t this game a pretty safe bet, business-wise? I mean, it’s the latest installment in a long-running franchise of basketball video games; it’s not like it’s going to surprise anyone.”
2. “A floppy disc? Playstation games aren’t on floppy discs. I haven’t even seen a floppy disc since the Clinton administration, and it came in a letter from AOL.”
3. “Something’s not right here.”
4. “OHHHHHH it’a LeBron flopping joke.”
At first, this Reddit commenter — I would rather be dipped slowly into a vat of egg yolk than use the word “Redditor” — is making an ambiguous statement: he could be talking in the parlance of entertainment, using “flop” as a reference to hilarious failure, or he could be referring to LeBron. It’s the bizarre non-sequitur follow up re: the floppy disc that gives away the proverbial goat. (Joke-goat.) Obviously, the game will not be on a floppy disc; that’s just another opportunity for a dig at LeBron’s theoretically compromised masculinity, and a chance to reaffirm Western hetero-normative notions regarding the performance of authenticity.
So: this is bad, because it’s a bad joke, structurally; this is good, because the “floppy disk” non-sequitur is so weird that it almost redeems/winks at itself.
But the best part is that there is a single, totally earnest response to this joke.
It’s beautiful. It’s poetic. It’s perfect.