Opened in 1869, the Suez canal is one of the most important shipping routes in the world. Its easy to see why—a ship passing the 162km canal avoids a journey of near 10,000km around all of Africa. For those who believe the Great Wall of China is the only man made object visible from space — think again.
There’s a good chance you’ve seen a few jokes about the blockage in the Suez canal the last week or so. The shot of a tiny looking bulldozer trying to assist a ship many hundreds times its size, has become a humorous symbol of perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds.
Whilst it was a bad week for the captain, the Japanese owner, the canal operators as well as anyone who happened to be in a queue behind the Ever Given (or was waiting on a delivery sat on board theseships), it was definitely a good week for internet humour. Websites such as https://istheshipstillstuck.com/ spawned, who’s only purpose is it answer the question, is the ship still stuck? The question on our minds is this—why did the internet love this so much?
The answer seems to go beyond the underdog story of wanting the digger to triumph. Firstly, the internet seems to have had a soft spot for boats in the past. Remember the poll to name the HMS David Attenborough? Well, technically speaking, it should be named Boaty McBoatface until the NERC (Natural Environment Research Centre) had a sense of humour failure, after their competition drifted from their control.
Secondly, it’s hard not to anthropomorphize the boat to being one of us — stuck one place against its will, barely moving for a week, hits home hard for those stuck under lockdown. Naturally, the Ever Given didn’t have pyjamas on and showing a pedometer with 500 steps, but, nonetheless, it feels that we’ve all been there