On Day 3 of the Chris-course, I Gotta Go

R. Eric Thomas
·6-min read
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

From ELLE

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When the Founders were crafting our nation they, in their infinite wisdom, determined that one of the bedrocks of our democracy is that when people on the internet say you gotta go, it's binding. It's law. There is no staying. Pack up your knives and leave. So it has been in every election since the dawn of time and so it shall ever be. This is how we maintain the sacred peace and hold back the Underworld. Everyone knows this. Someone posts four pictures of things related in some way and includes the caption "One gotta go" or some variant thereof and the Gotta Going commences. But there is a disturbance in the Gotta Go Industrial complex this week as a number of celebrities have gone rogue, questioning the validity of the Gotta Going and, like a plucky heroine in a dystopian YA novel, threatening to the overthrow the entire system.

Producer Amy Berg posted a version of the Gotta Go meme on Twitter on October 17 picturing four of the Hollywood Chrises: Chris Evans, Chris Pine, Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Pratt. (Note: in the interest of fairness and in consultation with my attorney and priest, I will be varying the order that the Chrises are listed in this article. This is known as Desperate Housewives Billing and it was determined at the Sheridan Summit of the early Aughts.) As is written in the Chris-titution, anyone, anywhere, at any time can post the Gotta Go meme and summon the Gotta Going. It's like when the Prime Minister dissolves Parliament and calls a Snap Election, except much more serious. Even though we are mere days away from a presidential election, the Gotta Going cannot be stopped and so the nation took their weary fingers to the keyboard polls once again. So it is written and so it shall be done in perpetuity.

The Chrises (Hemsworth, Pratt, Evans, and Pine) are frequent subjects of the Gotta Go meme, but the brilliance of our political system is that any four things can be put up for a vote and sent away. Many remember the acrimonious Gotta Going of 2018 that pitted Skittles, M&Ms, Reese's Pieces, and candy corn against each other. I am still bereft that M&Ms Gotta Went when candy corn was right there, but I cannot question our society's basic tenets.

While we are still awaiting the tabulation of oversees votes and a Supreme Court verdict about Gotta Go votes from Florida, it seemed that in this Gotta Going Chris Pratt was selected to Chrexit. This prompted much gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes in some circles; dark times for our nation. But then something happened that has shocked me to my core. I should note, I am something of an expert in this area. I majored in Gotta Go Studies at Acme Looniversity and I was nominated for a MacArthur Genius award for my piece "Chris Hayes Is the Hottest Chris" during Elle.com's legendary Chris Week in 2017. So, believe me when I say I have never seen anything like this before. The internet said "Gotta Go" and Hollywood said "Gotta no ❤️" After it seemed the matter had been settled and the people returned to their homes to tend their memes and try to put the pieces of their lives back together, some of Chris Pratt's co-stars took to the internet to defend the actor from... well, we're not really sure from what, but a vigorous defense was mounted.

Robert Downey, Jr., Mark Ruffalo, and Zoey Saldana, along with Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn all posted messages of support, making their case to throw out the results of the Gotta Going but not going so far as to call for a new vote. Like a character in Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, the stars saw that Pratt had been picked and cried "It isn't fair! It isn't right!" And now the internet is upon them.

While it is heartening to see celebrities get involved in national politics, this does raise the question "...what?" How does a simple, legally binding meme with no truly measurable results end up prompting celebrities to start a revolution? These celebrities are rioting in the comments section and I fear for my safety. What will I tell my children?!

Did it always have to be this way? Perhaps. I have a standing agreement with all of my loved ones that if any of them come up on a Gotta Go grip against any of my Never Leaves (Angela Bassett, Regina King, Audra McDonald, to name a few), I will not save them. I will not! If it's a Gotta Go and you're taking on a Gotta GOAT: see you later, I guess. Send me a postcard from... wherever it is that you go when you Gotta Go. Scientists don't know where we go when we Gotta Go but philosophers and my astrology app posit that you either go to the Heavyside Layer or "back to your career as usual because it's an internet meme with absolutely no bearing on reality." So, probably the Heavyside Layer.

Why did Pratt come up in the Gotta Going? Voters are not compelled to give their reasons but Chrexit polls indicate some voters are displeased by his resistance to espousing a political position, indicated most recently by his notable absence in an Avengers event for the Biden campaign. Other voters worry that he's actually secretly very conservative, also known as catching McPheever. I spoke to one Gotta Go voter on the condition of anonymity and, through tears, they told me "I'm not casting one Gotta Go vote; I'm casting three Gotta Stay votes." "Ugh, you're annoying," I said.

Gotta Go voters point to Chris Evans' activism in the fields of politics, dog pictures, and knitwear, Chris Pine's literate art zaddy vibes (what some call a Minor Tooch, comparing him to Ultimate arty zad Stanley Tucci), and Chris Hemsworth's height and what one voter called "sex muscles." "I will not be judged on my thirst thoughts!" the voter screamed at me as they drove away in their hybrid. The Gotta Going is tearing us apart but it is necessary. We, as a society, cannot have four things. We gotta have three. So the ancient scrolls decree.

But, now that celebrities are involved, I suggest a new option for the Gotta Going. When the Chrises (Pine, Pratt, Hemsworth and Evans) are once again put up for a vote, I know who's leaving: me. In the words of JoJo (first on the ranking of JoJos) "Get out (leave) right now. It's the end of you and me." But substitute "you and me" for "me and me." Like Patty in classic musical Co-Op, I gotta go. Send me to the Heavyside Layer or back to my career or to Chris Hayes' house. "Mom, celebrities are engaging in Chris-course; can you come pick me up?"

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