Readers Write In #261: Here’s to The Most Breathtakingly Excellent Dude of Them All

Posted on September 6, 2020


(by Aman Basha)

A teenager wonders over how in 2019 the Internet fell for the One

Few days ago, the Internet was abuzz with celebration; even the toxic minefield of Twitter had nothing but joy and positivity for his birthday. As Keanu Reeves (supposedly) turned a year older, there was nothing but good wishes and love for the Internet’s Boyfriend, who almost made it to become the Person of Year in 2019 with petitions online. A strange phenomenon, isn’t it? That a senior actor with no online presence would end up social media’s darling and everyone’s favorite celebrity? And so be prepared as I take you on a most excellent adventure tracing how I and the Internet fell in love.

We had all made it on time to the Mall and contrary to my worst fear, managed to pass through the counter without eliciting any suspicion about our age. As we settled in our seats, a slight regret crept in my typically twisted teenage head wishing that my first adult film in a theatre would be more, well, “adult” unlike this sequel to an action film my friends simply couldn’t shut up about. My regret roughly lasted about 15 minutes, as a man, looking and moving beautifully on screen killed a big Russian giant with an old, dusty book. A god damn book!! Over the course of the film, he patted horses to knock people out, had a sword fight on a motorcycle, killed ten people in a knife throwing contest, and took part in a shootout with dogs, you know numerous other awesome things. Yet, my head was still stuck in that one moment with that book, cooking up gruesome revenge plots that concluded with my evil teachers feeling the HC Vermas and RD Sharmas. So, I chose to watch it again and came out floored by the man, the myth, the legend John Wick.

I spent the next weekend watching the prequels I missed as Baba Yaga unleashed hell on his rightful quest of vengeance for his dog, I squealed like crazy when he took down 2 men in a subway ‘with a fucking pencil’. In real life, John Wick was, I came to learn, known as Keanu Reeves. That the leather clad, black specs wearing Kung Fu Jesus from the Matrix was back in another cool avatar left me impressed. And so the first date was a success.

(Keanu is Jesus LOL)

With the passage of time, Keanu kept popping up on the Internet’s timeline in different ways, once in a training video that proved he was just as badass off screen, another time as Canada’s greatest stuntman in a beloved franchise, playing with cute puppies and proclaiming it was gravity that kept him down to earth. Different quarters suddenly became abuzz with stories of his kindness to people who have met him, offering his seat to a lady in the Subway (which A-lister even travels in a subway), entertaining a bunch of co passengers whose flight got stranded, about how he once bought an ice cream from an anxious fan so that he could give her an autograph and many more. The guy was obviously doing something good when the strangest and creepiest thing about him is the popular theory that he is an immortal/vampire (yes, it is very popular).

(Check from 2:44 onwards, too much of a coincidence?)

There were numerous other things that came up about Keanu over the following days, a debate over whether he intended respect for women with hover hands over them or just the consequence of the post #MeToo era? Was it the same reason people loved his going on date with a woman of his age and not a young, nubile model? But the greatest effect Keanu had on the Internet Matrix was with memes. Memes and Keanu go long back, “Sad Keanu” was a craze back when Twitter and Reddit were in their infancy but it was in the summer of 2019, where Keanu memes exploded.

Puns abounded around Keanu’s name, Keanu Reeves has a baby? Keanu conceives.  Keanu Reeves as a tailor? Keanu Sleeves. Keanu Reeves sews a quilt? Keanu Weaves. Keanu Reeves as a musician? Piano Reeves. Keanu seeing these terrible jokes on Twitter: Keanu leaves. You get the gist. As the trend of wholesome memes began, Keanu seemed to be the perfect material, the personification of a wholesome, nice kind man, so much so that 70,000 fans (including yours truly) signed a petition to name him the “Time Person of the Year”. The best part of it was how casual he was about it all, perhaps people finally found in him the celebrity whose fame and fortune did not get to his head? A reputation he made fun of with a cameo in a Netflix romcom playing a jerk version of himself. His entry scene fuelled yet another round of memes of him just walking to cool music.

What was it about him that made people declare him to be the most wholesome person there is? Keanu had always been around, right from the time of Bill and Ted and so was his unique Zen persona.

He was no thespian, but there was some indefinable quality about his presence that just made him stand out. He is criticized to be the same while playing Ted, AN FBI AGENT, Neo, Constantine or John Wick but it is hard to think of anyone else in those roles. His androgynous features work perfectly in tandem with the Matrix being a Trans allegory. He seems as wise, calm and nice as the Buddha, a role he actually played, both on and off screen, either as the kind shrink guiding Lily Collins or in his simple yet profound answer about death. Maybe, that was it, he was both simple and profound and also hella lot awesome. He’s someone who actually seems to measure up on woke people’s impossible standards. Or is it his niceness, him being just breathtaking that makes us want to paper over his deficiencies?

The most iconic moment in the “Keanussance” was at the video game convention E3 where the trailer of a new game had a sudden surprise at the end. If it wasn’t enough, right after Keanu himself was on the stage and this beauty of a moment happened, thus the Internet made its love for Keanu Reeves official. He was the “Internet’s Boyfriend”, whose journey from “babe to Baba Yaga” got its own film festival in Scotland.

It wasn’t just the Internet, yesteryear co stars like Sandra Bullock and Winona Ryder spoke on crushes while driving buses and unofficial weddings in Greece. All that transpired could be summed up in one simple image, yet another meme:

The culmination of the Internet’s love for Keanu was the double announcement of John Wick Chapter 4 and The Matrix 4. Hubs and sites were abuzz with theories over the possibility of John Wick being in the Matrix, not helped by the fact that both seemed to have the same release date. Glee was expressed at the possibility of John Wick calling Operator, or even in coming up with a wild one that Keanu is the immortal one who’ll break his identity and save us all from this Matrix. I laughed it off at first as the desperation of Americans trying to pass off Trump’s win as a glitch in the Matrix, till it struck me, when men like Trump wield power over lives, ergo it is not surprising the world have awoken to loving Keanu Reeves.

PS: This piece may seem irrational, meandering and pointless, words ultimately signifying nothing, but as a wise philosopher once said, “The only true wisdom consists in knowing, that you know nothing”. So be excellent to each other and party on, dudes!