USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘youtube’
Digital

MLG Remixes

The informant is a 19-year old college student.


 

BW: An MLG Remix is hard to explain.. It’s like,, making fun of the culture of like middle schoolers on Xbox Live, and everything around that. There are these gaming channels on Youtube that celebrate the highlights in a game of Call of Duty or Battlefield or something–usually CoD, and then set it to Dubstep music. MLG Remixes make fun of that by adding lots of really loud dubstep, a bunch of songs piled on top each other ’till you can’t even hear them… and also a bunch of other symbols and reoccurring.. “motifs” you can call them. Like Mountain Dew, Taco Bell, Snoop Dogg, smoking weed–they usually all show up in these MLG Remix videos. They’re meant to be funny too, like over-the-top, hyper-crazy, ironic.

What does MLG stand for?

BW: Major League Gaming. That’s the whole crowd that they make fun of, because they’re so serious about video games.


 

Various MLG Remixes:

 

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
Humor

Getting “Rick Rolled”

On sites like YouTube, it has been customary to “Rick Roll” someone who is looking for specific content/video. Often, when someone is searching for something of interest online, it is common to click on a seemingly relevant link to instead find the music video for Rick Astley’s 1987 song “Never Gonna Give You Up” playing. Even though this prank is harmless, it tends to be incredibly frustrating for its victims, as they are left feeling deceived and without whatever it is they were looking for. For the pranksters who are uploading these videos intentionally, this prank is quite entertaining because it allows them to feel that they have tricked a complete stranger.

The informant, Ian, is a 21-year-old university student who considers himself a gamer and internet enthusiast. He was first introduced to this phenomenon in the 9th grade after attempting to find a video he had been looking for on YouTube. He admits that while it can be frustrating to fall victim to it, it is still highly entertaining because it is so unexpected. He also enjoys how silly the video seems compared to today’s music videos. To him, the trend is interesting because it represents the randomness of and complete lack of control over the internet.

This phenomenon is fascinating because of its unpredictable nature. In American society, people tend to value completely understanding their actions and being able to predict their consequences. It is because of this that these videos are so disconcerting. We are so used to being able to easily find what we are looking for that it is genuinely surprising when something completely irrelevant shows up instead.

The relevant video can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0

Digital
folk metaphor
folk simile
Humor
Legends
Myths

Creationist Cat

While conversing with an informant about cyberlore, internet cats, cat videos, and the like, she told me about “Creationist Cat,” so I asked her to elaborate in an interview.

Informant: “There’s this thing on the Internet called ‘creationist cat,’ and it’s sort of a parody of creationist ideals… I watched the videos all the time ‘cus I think they’re entertaining and funny. And… usually he does sort of like, parodies… the cat is actually, like, made to talk, and he does parodies of like the most, sort of, extreme and irrational creationist ideals, but it’s satire. He’s acting like he really believes in it, um and, I don’t know like one example is, he did a TED talk, or a ‘TED’ talk – not obviously a real one – about how Noah’s ark was real and he goes on about how like he can talk to other animals and they all vouched for it and it was actually a real thing that actually happened and, yeah it was really funny.”

Collector: “So why do you think that the creator of the cat videos is doing this, like, what’s the point?”

Informant: “Um, I think mostly for entertainment, but I also think it’s maybe rooted in, like a desire to illegitimize that whole theory of thought, you know, like making it seem silly so that people who are creationist might be like, ‘oh, this is actually silly.’ OR just for the entertainment of people who already reject that entire mass of ideology.”

Collector: “Yeah, and who did you learn about these cat videos from?

Informant: “Um, I think it was on like suggested, like, ‘what to watch’ on YouTube, you know like a suggestion and I saw one video and I started like, looking for more content from this, because I thought that it was just, really funny”

Collector: “What is your personal opinion on the topic?”

Informant: “Um, I don’t know, I just like cats in general, but it sort of makes it even funnier what he’s trying to do, ‘cus if it was just some person doing it, it would seem more hateful, but since it’s a cat, it makes it… I don’t know, it like softens the blow, almost? Yeah, so I mean, um, that’s probably I don’t know, that’s probably why I like it so much”

Collector: “Haven’t cat videos been made before?”

Informant: “I think it’s a play off of that… ‘cus like cat videos and like, cats are so related to the Internet, you know, I don’t know, they’re so big, and now… maybe just cause like cats are awesome, actually, I see it, when like you have someone who’s in the internet all the time, they’re a lot like a cat. Like, you know, like, very secluded, they’re sedentary, you know, they’re maybe not as friendly, so maybe that’s why they relate to cats so well. And that’s why they became such a big thing”

As almost any frequent visitor of meme sites and YouTube will tell you, cats are a big deal on the internet. Some people have gone beyond simple memes and videos, and used their computer skills to create more elaborate content, such as Creationist Cat. As evidenced by the informer’s experience, internet cats can be used for many purposes, including entertainment and political/religious commentary. Creationist Cat is a prime example of the combination of those two.

Humor

No Soap, Radio

The Joke:

“There were two elephants in a bathtub. One elephant said to the other, ‘Pass the soap.’ And the other elephant said, ‘No soap, radio!’”

The informant, a sophomore in high school and my sister, told me this joke. She says that she got it from watching a video on YouTube of user SuperMac18 when she was in seventh grade, in 2010. She says that she and a friend of hers went around telling this joke to their entire grade. The joke is that it doesn’t make any sense. The teller of the joke is supposed to tell it, then laugh and act like the person they tell it to is missing something. Some people pretend that they get it and laugh, as many of the informant’s young classmates did. When the informant told this to my mom and I, both of us were very confused while the informant chuckled to herself as if amused that we didn’t understand; she finally caved and told us the punch line—that there was none. Therefore, it is not merely a joke, but a practical joke. The telling of the joke is in essence a prank on the audience, until they are also brought in on the joke. Since my sister got this from a young YouTuber (at the time SuperMac18 was 15-year-old boy) and was in middle school, I believe that the purpose of telling this joke comes from an immature joy in others’ confusion. Young middle-schoolers tend to enjoy feeling superior to others, using some type of knowledge in order to do so.

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