USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘Meme’
Adulthood
Childhood
Digital
Humor
Life cycle

Dixie Cup Ness

Informant is a facebook page that regularly posts memes. As the page’s primary following is teens and young adults, most of their content is humor based on 1990’s & 2000’s American youth culture.

Dixie Cup Ness

This particular post shows Ness, a character known from successful Nintendo game ‘Super Smash Bros Melee,’ with a retro Dixie cup print on his clothes. By combining the popular 2001 video game character with the distinct folk pattern of 2000’s school cafeteria cups, this satirical image is aimed to evoke nostalgia.

Adulthood
Childhood
Digital
Humor
Life cycle

Flip Phone Accessories

Informant is a Facebook page that regularly posts memes. As the page’s primary following is teens and young adults, most of their content is humor based on 1990’s & 2000’s American youth culture.

Flip Phone Accessories

This particular post shows an early 2000’s cell phone with an excessive amount of Pokemon accessories. Such accessories were a fad in the days of the flip-phone. The Pokemon attached to the phone are from the years 1996 to 2006, highlighting the target audience of this meme page. By combining the retro mobile phone with an excessive amount of once-trendy, Pokemon themed folk objects, this satirical image is aimed to evoke nostalgia for people who grew up in this era.

Adulthood
Childhood
Digital
Humor
Life cycle

Supernintendo Chalmers

Informant is a Facebook page that posts only memes. As the page’s primary following is teens and young adults, most of their content is humor based on early 2000’s culture.

Supernintendo Chalmers

This particular post shows a Super Nintendo gaming console (1990), with a decal of Superintendent Chalmers of the popular TV show the Simpsons. The pun here is on the words ‘superindendent’ and ‘supernintendo.’ By combining the show known for its success in the 1990’s, with a 1990’s video game console , this satirical image is aimed to evoke nostalgia for people who grew up in this era.

Digital
Humor

Scooby Doom

Informant is a Facebook page that regularly posts memes. As the page’s primary following is teens and young adults, most of their content is humor based on 1990’s & 2000’s American youth culture.

Scooby Doom

This particular post shows an early a classic image of cartoon characters Scooby-Doo & Shaggy, superimposed over popular 1993 video game Doom. Scooby-Doo was popular for children growing up in the 1990’s who would eventually go on to play these early computer games. By combining the two popular 1990’s mediums of entertainment, this satirical image is aimed to evoke nostalgia for people who grew up in this era. Further, the contrast in the subject matter of Doom (a violent shooter), and Scooby Doo (a children’s cartoon) is funny.

Digital

And his name is John Cena

Background

John Cena is a well-known WWE wrestler and Hollywood actor. In 2012, a prank call aired on a local radio station (“Z morning Zoo”) where the DJs repeatedly played a sound clip advertising John Cena’s wrestling career to a wife who was fed up with her husband’s obsession with WWE wrestling. Two years later (2014), the channel “RuinCommentsOfficial” uploaded a recording of the prank call to YouTube which gained over 20 million views. Another year after that (2015), the sound clip from the video resurfaced as a popular meme on on Vine, an internet platform where users can post 6 second video clips. Several other websites, such as Reddit and Tumblr, also contributed to this trend. Since then, hundreds of thousands of versions of the John Cena clip have appeared across the internet.

Context

The sound clip from the radio station prank call and a video of John Cena will pop up in the middle of a video which was seemingly about something unrelated to John Cena and WWE wrestling. There is usually no connection between the interrupted video and John Cena. Occasionally, the John Cena audio clip is mixed with a preexisting video meme.

Text

The prank call video that the meme originated from:

A compilation of John Cena vine:

Thoughts

Far more people participated in the spreading of the John Cena meme than actually watch WWE wrestling or are fans of John Cena, so there was a reason people were drawn to this folklore than actually had a personal investment in the subject matter. However, because of the way the meme originated, internet users were able to adapt the collective internet “inside joke” of the John Cena audio clip to fit into any other type of video that may interest them. Therefore, every person who came across the John Cena meme could contribute their own take on the joke and no one needed to even know who John Cena really was to join in on the laughter feel connected to the internet community.

Digital
Folk speech

I’m honestly feeling so attacked right now

Background

Tumblr user chardonnaymami posted a transcript of a conversation about virgin mai tias that included the phrase “I came out to have a good time and I’m honestly feeling so attacked right now.” Over the next several weeks, the phrase was used in thousands of copy posts, molding to fit any number of situations. It reaches a point where people began to parody the phrase often enough that it would be impossible to understand some jokes if you didn’t have the background knowledge to recognize the original phrase.

Context

This meme was spread mostly on the popular blogging website Tumblr. It would mainly be used after some sort of criticism to sarcastically complain about being criticized or challenged.

Text

Original Post

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Examples of the spread of the phrase

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Self-aware meme

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Thoughts

This piece of internet folklore probably caught on so quickly because it addresses a problem that many people face on the internet: trolls and incessant criticism. By enacting this popularly used phrase, users could playfully deal with situations that are normally uncomfortable and hard to deal with. Furthermore, once the meme reached a certain level of popularity, it became almost necessary to post some form of the phrase to establish one’s self as a real part of the community. If you didn’t get the joke, it meant you clearly hadn’t been paying very close attention.

 

Digital
Humor

Doge

 

 

Background

Doge is a slang term for the word “dog.” The most typical form of the meme contains a Shiba Inu dog staring at the camera with what looks like an approximation of a skeptical human face. Written over the image (usually in comic sans font) are sentences with intentionally poor grammar (Ex: very wow, much concern, so scare).

Context

The image is circulated on forums across the internet, most often on Tumblr, Reddit, and 4chan. There is no real specific time that is is supposed to be used, other than when the poster finds it to be humorous. However, after the image and internal monologue phrases went viral on the internet, companies, news broadcasters and politicians began to utilize them when trying to reach a younger demographic.

Text

7bc

Use in American politics

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850

Thoughts

This piece of folklore combines several things that are consistently popular on the internet: cute animals and bad grammar. There seems to be little reason for the initial circulation of the image other than that it made people laugh. However, the continued use of the meme seems, for many, to be a way to identify oneself as a member of the internet community. The use of the image or phrases by politicians and companies seems to be a somewhat misplaced attempt to connect with the “younger generation” who spends more time on the internet. These attempts are usually mocked in online forums, proving that the point of the meme, as folklore, is to connect a certain group of people (common internet users), and when it’s used outside of that context, it doesn’t carry the same weight.

Digital
Humor

Mmmm whatcha say

Background

In the second season of the television show The O.C. (airing in 2004), the final scene of the season finale depicts the shooting and death of one of the shows characters. The scene utilizes a slow-motion effect along with Imogen Heap’s folktronica song “Hide and Seek,” including the infamous line “mmmmm whatcha say.” Ten years later, in 2014, the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live did a parody of this scene, playing off of the humorous contrast between the character’s death and the more upbeat pop song. This SNL skit went viral. Following that, parodies of this parody began popping up across the internet and a new meme was born.

Context

Whenever there is a video of someone falling or getting hurt in a humorous way or a television/movie character dies, someone can edit the video into slow motion with Imogen Heap’s song playing over it. This is popular on many platforms across the internet including YouTube, Vine, Tumblr, Reddit, and 4chan.

Text

Scene from The O.C.

SNL Sketch

Compilation of use on the internet

Thoughts

It amazes me how many layers of group knowledge exist in this piece of folklore. The Imogen Heap song that is used in the episode of the O.C. and which is an integral part of the meme was, itself, a folktronica song, meaning that it synthesized existing folk music with popular music. When it was used in the episode, the O.C. was a fairly popular television show, but it was still obscure enough that it was strange for SNL to make a parody of it 10 years later. Furthermore, once the reworking of this parody became an internet sensation, more people were participating than who even watched the SNL sketch which was only somewhat viral by internet standards. Because of this, it appears that most people perform this piece of folklore don’t even know very much about where it came from. Instead, it seems their reason for performing it has more to do with the connection they feel to the internet community.

Digital
Folk speech
Humor
Signs

The “Trollface”

The “trollface” is a popular image that can be found online. It is meant to represent the face an internet “troll”, or prankster, makes after playing a prank on another. The image often appears on an online discussion when an individual intentionally interrupts the flow of the conversation by mischievously misdirecting the original poster. The image usually follows one of these situations, indicating that a trick has been pulled. Sometimes, the image includes intentionally misspelled words or grammatical errors in order to frustrate readers even more. Because of the negative connotation surrounding it, the image can be frustrating for those who had been taking the conversation seriously.

The informant, Ian, is a 21-year-old university student who considers himself a gamer and internet enthusiast. The image has a special place in his heart, as it is one of the first internet memes that he encountered in his younger years. He learned about the image after seeing it posted in the popular comedy website ebaumsworld.com, where many similar humorous images and videos are posted. For Ian, this image in particular is entertaining because it represents the triviality of the many arguments that internet posters have. He argues that after coming across so many useless and childish arguments that people on the internet have, it is refreshing to see someone mess with them with a quick joke and the posting of the image.

What is interesting about this image is the fact a simple image that used to be insignificant has gathered much connotation and meaning. Even though the image was posted by a single individual, thousands of people came together online to assign a definition and purpose to it. Because of this, the image should be considered a strong indicator of the collaborative nature of the internet.

 

trollface

Folk speech
Humor

What are “Dank Memes”?

The informant is a 20 year old, American college student, who studies at the University of Southern California.

Informant: “Dank memes”–is just like like, you know how marijuana is dank? It’s described as dank. So people describe these memes as dank memes. It’s basically just shit you find on the internet, and stupid stuff that people post about whatever topic.

Collector: Do you collect dank memes?

Informant: No, I just look at them, and laugh.

Collector: How did you hear about dank memes?

Informant: Just on the internet. Like on Reddit. Here’s the perfect example of a dank meme. “The most perfect anime ever created, in terms of story, direction, characters, plot development has got to be Corey in the House. It’s like the greatest anime ever made.” That’s an example of a dank meme. (Explanation: Corey in the House is not an anime, nor considered the best show ever created, hence the irony and humor.)

Collector: Who creates these dank memes?

Informant: Everyone on the internet can.

Collector: Why do you think people like these dank memes?

Informant: It’s just something super inane, something stupid that you laugh at for the stupidity of it rather than the merit it actually has. It’s just something funny to spend your time on.

I think that the significance of this is that the internet gives everyone a voice to express their opinion and humor on something. It’s reflective of the audience’s reaction to a television show or to make fun something. The internet gives way to express and share the humor in a widespread way. The producers of culture spread culture through the vertical mode of communication, yet the internet is an equalizer and gives people the ability to create their own counter culture and express their dissatisfaction for the culture that’s being sold to them.

For reference, see Corey in the House (TV Show).

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