That right there is literally the entire performance of this recent piece of cyberlore. This weird custom arose from the video game Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, in which the player (if playing on a computer) has the option to go up to a fallen soldier and “press F to pay respects.” The game was released in late 2014, and for some reason, towards the beginning of 2015 users on sites like Reddit started commenting with “press F to pay respects” whenever death or dying was mentioned on the site. This soon evolved into users simply shortening it to “F,” and now most Reddit users will know what someone means if he/she comments with that single letter. I frequent Reddit, so I kind of picked up on this a while ago, but I love how simple yet inexplicably hilarious it is.
The “Deez Nuts” cyber-lore is an internet sensation found in video and meme formats throughout the internet and social media. People began mashing up videos using a segment of an Instagram video in which a black man in the video prank calls someone and answers “Deez Nuts!” when the person on the other line asks who is calling.
“I saw it from Instagram, everybody made like, different memes and videos about it. My friend sent me a survey about it and said it was for class and when I opened it…it was just talkin about, bout deez nuts. *giggles*”
My informant encountered the mash-up in a different format than usual, having been introduced to it through a survey and not an Instagram video. One of her friends sent her a link to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9NDGKP6 after he had told her to take a survey for class, which she proceeded to open only to find out that it wasn’t actually a class survey, but a meme with the text “Deez Nuts”.
Analysis: When looking at this piece of cyberlore, I found that it is used primarily as a means of playing a practical joke. Though the video itself may not be particularly funny on its own, when used in a context that “pranks” other people, the pranksters and the pranked find the scenario funny because they “got someone” by getting them to open something seemingly important, only to find out that the only message is that they’ve found “Deez Nuts”. I also thought it was interesting the way that thus particular cyberlore spread and evolved. The “Deez Nuts” reference can be found in a variety of different formats, from video, to memes, to quizzes, which hints at how quickly and easily things can become varied and spread on the internet.
The meme: “It’s like a frog cartoon that…people use as a reaction image…I don’t know??? Some people use it to express sadness.”
The informant is a college student who gets on Tumblr every day, regardless of having a love-hate relationship with it; the website is where she first encountered Pepe the Frog, but she says that she sees it used on Twitter as well. When I asked her what she thought when she first saw it, she said, “That it was another dumb meme.” I then asked her if she knew the exact origin of Pepe the Frog, to which she responded, “No, Amanda.” Further research on the website KnowYourMeme.com shows that “Pepe the Frog is an anthropomorphic frog character from the comic series Boy’s Club by Matt Furie. On 4chan, various illustrations of the frog creature have been used as reaction faces, including Feels Good Man, Sad Frog, Angry Pepe, Smug Frog and Well Meme’d.” The meme has spread very rapidly in the last year. This is probably due to the popularity of Twitter, Tumblr, and Reddit recently. Even if people don’t know the exact origin, they find it funny and worthy of using. The Internet is a weird place.
“lel” is a common term used among people who frequent certain online imageboards. It is commonly used as schadenfreude in response to something bad happening to someone else, or some antic that elicits inappropriate laughter, implying the emitter of the laugh is a “troll.”
It has had a complicated history. The original acronym, “lol”, stood for “laugh out loud” and quickly replaced simulating laughter online. In the massively multiplayer online game World of Warcraft, there are two factions, Horde and Alliance. While their chat messages appear to each other while standing nearby in-game, the two factions cannot communicate with each other, which the server facilitates by running dialogue through a coder. When a Horde player types “lol” in chat, it appears to Alliance players as “kek,” which in itself is accepted as a sound made by silly laughter, especially when repeated (kekkekkekkek).
Soon, kek became itself used as to indicate inappropriate laughter, until it morphed back into “lel,” as k is next to l on the keyboard, and it also looks like a bastardation of “lol.”
There exists a type of Turkish snack food called “Topkek,” which the boards have since adopted as an higher-tier substitute for “kek.” Even this usage has now morphed into “Top lel” among groups of friends who have ventured deep enough into the imageboards.
The informant and I had recently gone on a retreat together to a wooded area. At the retreat, we participated in a nighttime ghost story telling session with some friends, and my informant was talented at performing ghost stories. I later asked her to share some ghost stories with me again, and I recorded the interview for collection purposes.
Informant: Once upon a time… there was, um… You know, I don’t know if, in the story… I don’t know if it ever tells you who it is, ’cause it’s written from… When I read it, on like, Creepypasta, although the first time I heard this story, it was not on Creepypasta. It was, someone told me in my highschool art class. That was when we were sharing scary stories one time. In my highschool art class. When I was like, “You guys, let’s tell scary stories.” I think it was Halloween.
Me: I feel like… I feel like you’ve had too many instances, where you were like, stuck somewhere, and were just like, “Let’s tell scary stories.”
Informant: Yeah… I think it was Halloween. That’s the first time I heard about Creepypasta. It’s because, we were telling scary stories, and then I was like, “Where do you guys get this stuff?” And some guys were like, “Creepypasta.” Um, but yeah. The first time I heard this it was socially. Um, so, okay. Anyway. Once upon a time… There was, let’s mix it up and say, a teenage… boy this time, who was home alone. Um, his parents were gone for the weekend, and he was alone and he heard something in his house when he was up in his bed. And he got nervous, and he thought, “Okay. It was probably something.” But then he heard the sound of something heavy, like, coming up the stairs. Like this like sound of something, like a really heavy person, thumping up the stairs. And he was like, “Okay, maybe they think it’s an empty house. I’ll just lie in my bead, and I’ll like pretend, and I won’t do anything, and maybe they’ll leave and maybe they won’t notice.” And he heard it creep closer to his door, and closer to his door. And he like lay himself flat against the bed under the covers and he thought, “Maybe, it’s like a thief. And maybe if I act like I’m sleeping, like they’ll just, they won’t harm me and they’ll leave.” And then, under the covers, he looked through the door, and saw this… huge caveman looking like… like this caveman, this big bulky, hairy caveman, with like this prehistoric face. And he was like, “What?” And he was like, “Maybe, okay, like it’s a caveman. He’s probably not that intelligent.” And he was like, getting really nervous and scared. And he was like… sweating. And he was like, “I’ll stay under the covers, and maybe he won’t notice me, and he’ll leave…” And so, and he heard the caveman walk to the wall, and like, make some scratching sounds, and then the caveman sat down on the other side of his room in a chair. And he was like, “Okay… Maybe he’ll leave…” And like an hour passed. And then like another hour passed, and he stayed under the covers, and like, he was just peeking just barely under the covers, and the caveman wasn’t leaving. And he, like, was waiting, and waiting, and at some point he decided to just look under the covers just a little, and then he realized the scratching noise, was the sound of the caveman writing something on the wall. And he looked up at the wall, and it said, “I know you’re not asleep.” The end!
This story plays off of the listener’s fears concerning violation of privacy within one’s home, the unknown, and being watched. Its ability to invoke shock from an audience in such a short span of time makes it appropriate to tell both verbally and digitally, as shown by its being shared through multiple platforms. The informant’s explanation as to how she became exposed to the story suggests that it is usually performed at night, the time of day scary stories are usually associated with. The story itself also takes place at night while the main character lies in bed trying to sleep.