One of the more mis-quoted phrases is that “art imitates life.” With a little research, the origins of this quote can be found with Irish writer Oscar Wilde: “All that I desire to point out is the general principle that life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” Wilde’s quote has never been proven more true than with a recent comic over at the webcomic xkcd and with the hit video website YouTube. It seems that Google is implementing an audio comment preview that will read back the comments that listeners post below YouTube videos so they can hear just how inane their comments are.
The irony? xkcd did it first. Of course, xkcd had an annoyed cast member writing a virus to infect YouTube and implement the code, rather than Google itself realizing “this is a good idea” and running with it, but at its core, xkcd seems to have inspired the YouTube change. Indeed, an Australian spokesman for YouTube admitted that xkcd inspired the audio preview feature, and that YouTube engineers developed the feature in their spare time. (Unfortunately, it appears that the feature is not mandatory for all commenters. The morons out there who post stupid things will just continue to post their idiocy to piss off people and to be jackasses.)
So it appears Oscar Wilde was right. Life does imitates art. I just hope that YouTube includes a link to xkcd in thanks for this brief moment of inspiration… and that Randall Munroe gets some added web traffic as a result of a moment of genius that was noticed by corporate America.