Author Archives: Ashish Keshan

EVKitty

Informant DP is a 19-year-old male studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California. He is well-aware of most USC folklore and he describes a very peculiar one to me (AK).

In this piece, DP describes the folklore surrounding a very special cat that hangs around a dining hall at USC named Everybody’s Kitchen or EVK for short.

EVKitty

DP: So I actually found out about this cat my first time at EVK freshman year. Basically it’s this regular cat but it just hangs right outside EVK by the outdoor seating. I’m not really sure whose cat it is, but I just know it’s been there for a while.

AK: So you have no idea where it came from?

DP: Well there’s rumors that it’s Stan Rosen’s cat. He’s the faculty master for the Birnkrant Dorm. I should probably know this cause I lived there but oh well haha.

AK: Sounds interesting is there anything else I should know about EVKitty?

DP: Yeah there’s actually a facebook page dedicated to her. It’s legendary.

This was another piece of USC folklore, but I especially enjoyed this one because it is so specific and probably unknown to a lot of students. For those that have no idea, they would be thoroughly confused to see a cat roaming around the outside seating of a dining hall. However, for those who are aware of this folklore, they have really done their part to help spread it to the larger USC community. I found out about EVKitty through word of mouth, and I’m sure many other students have also found out from their fellow friends and peers.

Pointy Thing Meme

Informant SM is a sophomore studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California. He is very passionate about philanthropy, specifically helping poorer parts of India and aspires to one day become a doctor. The informant tells me(AK) about a very popular meme regarding the recent construction on USC’s campus.

SM: Let me tell you about this new meme, it’s called the “Pointy Thing” meme (shows picture on phone). pointythingmeme

AK: I actually haven’t seen this one, can you explain a little about how this started?

SM: You know, I’m actually not sure. I just remember seeing someone post about it on the USC meme page and it kind of took off from there.

AK: Do you think this says anything about our student body?

SM: I think it’s a great thing that we’re all able to make jokes about something like this. You know, even Nikias posted about these “pointy things” on his Instagram, so it just seems like something everyone can laugh about.

I found this piece to be incredibly interesting because not only did it feature a very modern form of media, but also because it referenced the specific folklore of a college. In today’s day and age, people are always in search of a form of immediate gratification. Memes are the perfect outlet for quick jokes or puns because they feature a short amount of text that highlight a funny or playful picture. For this reason, memes are the perfect way for something like this to spread quickly across a college campus to the point where even the president hears about it. The other thing that made this so interesting to hear about is the fact that it is relevant only to USC. Any group, large or small can have folklore, and this piece is a testament to that fact.

Dance Proverb

My informant SS is a 20-year-old girl of Jewish descent. She is very passionate about dance and participated on a dance team all throughout high school. In this piece, she describes a common saying to me (AK) that her dance coach attempted to instill in the minds of each girl on the team.

SS: From dance team we had the saying of: “Early is on time and on time is late.”

AK: So does this just mean you always had to be early?

SS: Kind of. At first it was annoying, but I got used to it pretty quickly.

AK: Does it have any significance to you or does it still apply to your life today?

SS: Definitely. It really sticks with me now. It’s a good life skill and saying I guess.

I found this proverb to be quite applicable to pretty much every facet of life. For me, this proverb is most applicable to things from my everyday life. For important events like interviews and tests, it is very easy to find the motivation to be on time because a lot is dependent on the event itself. However, for things like class and other day to day tasks, it is way harder to have the motivation to always be on time. For this reason, I try to abide by this proverb. It is certainly very difficult, but just the mindset of needing to be early allows me to show up on time. In a way, I still am “late”, but just this shift in mindset allows me to be traditionally “on time”.

Lil B NBA Curse

The informant DP is a 19-year-old male studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California. He has recently become a huge fan of the NBA and he describes something that the casual NBA fan would not know much about. In this piece, he talks about the “The BasedGod’s” curse to me (AK) which was popularized over five years ago by a rapper by the name of Lil B.

For some context, Lil B became a viral sensation with many provocative rap videos and tweets. He refers to himself as the “Based God” and he has drawn a very loyal fan following due to the hilarity of his tweets and rap videos. He is also known for the “Based God” curse which he has given to star athletes who have disrespected his rapping ability.

DP: So I don’t know the entire story, but I do know that Lil B and Kevin Durant (famous basketball player) had beef a few years ago.

AK: What exactly caused the beef?

DP: Well … KD basically said that Lil B is a wack rapper and that his music sucks. Lil B responded to this by dropping a video titled F*** KD and giving him the “Based God” curse.

AK: What does this curse entail? Is there any way to become uncursed?

DP: In this context, he meant that KD would never win a championship. Also, KD was recently lifted of the curse because he decided to sign with the Golden State Warriors and Lil B is a huge Warriors fan.

I found this entire piece to be hilarious. After some further research, I found Lil B to be very outspoken on twitter and most of his fans simply quote him out of the absurdity and comedy of some of his proclamations. Most of his songs have a comedic element to them and in his F*** KD song he states that he could beat Kevin Durant in a one on one game of basketball. For some NBA fans, however, the curse does hold some merit as Kevin Durant is perennially one of the best players in the league, yet he has never won a championship. While most rational fans scoff at the claim that the curse is the reason why, a small but significant subset of fans contend that the curse is the sole reason why. I’m not sure which side of the argument I’m on, but I do find humor in the fact that Lil B has gained so much fame over a simple tweet and video.

5 Gods of Smash

Informant DP is a 19-year-old male studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California. He thoroughly enjoys playing video games, specifically the Nintendo series Super Smash Brothers.

In this piece, the informant tells me about the “5 Gods of Smash” who are known as by far the 5 best players in competitive Super Smash Brothers Melee tournaments. They are aptly known as Gods because these five players are so much better than the rest of the competition that one of these players always wins the competitive tournaments. For more context, the competitive gaming scene around Super Smash Brothers Melee has grown substantially over the last decade. Although the game released nearly 15 years ago, the game is still being played competitively today.

DP: A God of Smash is considered someone who loses to no one else in tournament, other than other gods. Currently there are only 5 in the history of Smash. So I wanna say Mew2King or M2K was considered the first god of Smash. The reason he does so well in tournaments is because before computers were coded to count frame data for melee, Mew2King developed his own methods for counting the frames for moves. And he was able to precisely determine the lengths for which moves were out for. He memorized this data and he was able to play optimally and back then if you played optimally there’s no way you could lose. So he began to be known as a robot because he had so much data memorized. The way he learned all this data is by doing certain moves with a character and he’d keep pausing the game in between the move. If he could draw out the moves into 9 distinct pictures, then he knew that move took exactly 9 frames.

Moving on to the next god, Mango, he came out from SoCal and at an extremely young age he was very good at the game. He was known for using a very gimmicky character, jigglypuff. Even though he performed very well, people were chalking up his wins to gimmicks or not playing a fair game. So for a while, he got actually banned from playing in Southern California all together which kind of pissed him off but didn’t stop him from playing the game. Eventually, he decided to just change his appearance by growing a beard. He adopted a new tag called Scorpion Master so he would be unrecognizable.  His whole purpose of this was just to play a joke on Southern California because he was so upset that he was banned. He actually ended up winning with a lesser character, like a D-tier character. People eventually found out it was him, so he picked up two of the hardest characters in the game, Fox and Falco, and since then has remained a God of the game.

Now it makes the most logical sense to talk about HungryBox. HungryBox saw the way Mango used jigglypuff, and even though he knew jigglypuff was gimmicky, he adopted him as his new character. So HungryBox looked at all of Mango’s weaknesses, he actually corrected for this and made jigglypuff tournament viable. Hungrybox is also another God of melee.

Now we can talk about PPMD, he was the 4th god to come around. He noticed that HungryBox was kind of on a tear in the South Eastern part of the US. In Florida and Georgia and those states. And HungryBox would win everyone of those tournaments if he entered them. So PPMD picked up two characters, Falco and Marth, both were considered to have highly losing matchups to Jigglypuff at the time. He ended up creating the modern metagames for Falco and Marth as they are played today just to combat HungryBox’s jigglypuff. Even though it took 4 tournaments of them meeting in grand finals, once PPMD started to win with both falco and marth, HungryBox wasn’t able to win with the frequency he could before PPMD came around.

The last God is Armada. I guess all I have to say about him is that Armada. Let’s put it this way, Melee didn’t just arise in AMerica. Europe was also interested in Melee, but it wasn’t until Armada until a unified European champion was coined. Once Armada started playing, he almost never lost a set. He might have lost just 1 set in his 4 years of playing in Europe. He was undoubtedly the best in Europe so he decided to play in America. In America he got beat pretty frequently using what Americans thought was an inferior character. So in order to combat this, he picked up a better character. So he ended up developing the European style for playing Fox, which every other Fox player in Europe adopted the strategy for. Now not only is he the best in Europe, he’s also the best in the world by a fair margin. He hasn’t been knocked to the losers bracket in 3 years!

It was really interesting to hear about the folklore of a video game. My informant was clearly very knowledgeable about the folklore surrounding Super Smash Brothers, and it appears as though the community is actively creating its own folklore. It was really interesting to see that these 5 players had risen to god status within the game’s community for their incredible skill. In the gaming community, the word god is thrown around a lot, but it appears as though there is a significant meaning behind coining someone a god in this particular game.