In a world violently divided by black-and-white issues, it can be hard to remember that life on the ground contains nuance, gray area. Luckily, a Reddit trend has emerged to demonstrate ways that images can be more than either “blessed” or “cursed” — they can also be “blursed,” which is to say, both. In the subreddit r/blursedimages, users upload and discuss these dynamic images — most of which are photoshopped memes, but some just naturally blursed — that simultaneously evoke delight and dread. “Reddit has a thread for that” is the “Germans have a word for that” of the internet era.

So what makes for a blursed image? Sometimes it’s the interpolation of an unexpected item into an otherwise unremarkable picture, as with this addition of a pocket mouse to a family photograph.

Or it may refer to the use of analog angles and techniques to pull off a homegrown special effect, as with this nefarious theft of the moon.

Often it involves penises:

Or anime figures:

Or, powerfully, both:

Obviously, it involves cats, which are an inherently blursed animal, prone as they are to excessively cute and violently antisocial behavior:

Generally speaking, blursed is the trend for anything that is both not okay but also lightly rad. Blursed is like Walt Whitman, in the sense that it contains multitudes. Blursed is more than a feeling, but less than a vibe.

It should go without saying that basically everything produced via AI image generation is blursed to its core, with some generators producing greater emphasis on the “cursed” side of the equation. But software engineer Dan Johnson has become a master AI artist, using Midjourney, and his Instagram profile is full of Platonically perfect blursed AI.

Ultimately, blursed is a welcome concept for our times, when even the best of things are probably slightly problematic. There is not much positive to say about the highly polarized internet hellscape we find ourselves navigating on a daily basis, but at least “blursed” proves that some faction of Reddit users are capable of holding contradictory positions within themselves, and exploring that tension with comedic and disastrous results.

Sarah Rose Sharp is a Detroit-based writer, activist, and multimedia artist. She has shown work in New York, Seattle, Columbus and Toledo, OH, and Detroit — including at the Detroit Institute of Arts....