Author Archives: avouac

Google Doc meme

Context: 

This piece was collected in a casual setting on a FaceTime call. My informant is a USC Freshman and we are Animation Majors together. They grew up in Sacramento, California. They enjoy drawing, riding their scooter, and making memes. The following piece is a meme spin off they made of another popular meme “template”. The informant’s meme was intended for a specific audience, our Animation cohort, and it was sent in our class’s private group chat (fifteen USC Animation Freshmen). 

Main Piece:

Background: 

The informant created this meme by using the image of the train and adding words to it. Meme is basically saying the creator of the meme is getting a “free ride,” or leaching off,  of their classmates’ “google doc for the final” which we were all supposed to work on together (compile  notes from the class on it) but some people did more work than others. The meme is funny because the informant is basically confessing they did no work, but we can relate because we have all be there at some point.

Thoughts: 

Memes are a great way to make a quick joke that most people can be amused by because they feature funny pictures we can “connect” with, or a short amount of text that does this, and people can use their prior knowledge of other memes to find the meaning and get a giggle out of it. Since memes are so easy to understand and access, it makes sense that so many people make them, share them, or just look them up. Any group, no matter the size, can, and does, have its own folklore, and this specific meme is a perfect example of this since it took another more popular folk piece and switched it up to fit a new meaning ment specifically for the Animation student audience.

Blackout no Whiteout

Context: 

This piece was collected over a casual FaceTime in which we were previously just catching up and talking about our elementary school experiences. We are close friends who met in high school and have known each other for five years. My informant (JS) was born in California and is now attending Carnegie Mellon as Computer Science major. He enjoys coding, playing video games, and weight lifting.

Main Piece:

The following is transcribed from a conversation between the informant (JS) and interviewer.

Interviewer: What’s Blackout No Whiteout? 

JS: So, um, if you don’t want something you give it to someone and you say “blackout no whiteout” you don’t have to take it back and they have to keep it.

Interviewer: So can they give it to someone else?

JS: I think so. They just have to say “black out no whiteout” again.

Interviewer: How old were you when you used this?

JS: Um, like, kindergarten, five, six. I learned it from school friends. 

Thoughts: 

I like to think of Blackout No Whiteout as the opposite of Dibs. When I was little and we used this rule, it was often to get rid of trash and force someone else to throw it out. In my opinion, I thought it was funny and innocent at the time, but looking back, we used it as a way to pick on some classmates who always ended up getting stuck with the “thing” nobody else wanted. Children can be mean to each other, and this is one of the games that demonstrates that.

Hiccup Cures

Context: 

This piece was collected over a casual FaceTime in which we were previously just catching up and talking about our elementary school experiences. We are close friends who met in high school and have known each other for five years. My informant (JS) was born in California and is now attending Carnegie Mellon as Computer Science major. He enjoys coding, playing video games, and weight lifting.

Main Piece:

The following is transcribed from a conversation between the informant (JS) and interviewer.

Interviewer: So what’s your hiccup cure?

JS: I have a few. There are the common ones, like holding your breath or scaring the hiccups away, but I like the spoon in water one the best.

Interviewer: Wait tell me more about that one.

JS: So when you have hiccups, to get rid of them, you have to put a metal spoon inside a glass of water and drink it. That’ll get rid of the hiccups really fast. My third grade teacher told this to our class and we had the “hiccup cup” in the back of the classroom. I still use this trick today if I really can’t get rid of my hiccups.

Thoughts: 

I have heard of this method before and I’m sure it is just as effective as other hiccup home-remedies, like holding your breath, biting a lemon,  or eating a spoon of peanut butter. In the end, I think these are just placebo remedies meant to calm children down and feel more in control of a situation. 

Fallen Eyelash

Context: 

This piece was collected over a casual FaceTime in which we were previously just catching up and talking about our elementary school experiences. We are close friends who met in high school and have known each other for five years. My informant (JS) was born in California and is now attending Carnegie Mellon as Computer Science major. He enjoys coding, playing video games, and weight lifting.

Main Piece:

The following is transcribed from a conversation between the informant (JS) and interviewer.

Interviewer: Can you repeat that again, the one about eyelashes?

JS: So when an eyelash falls on your cheek, and you don’t know about it, a friend mentions it to you and you have to guess on what cheek the eyelash is, right? So if you guess the correct cheek and you manage to blow it off without, like, using a mirror or using your hands, you get to make one wish and it will come true! However, if you don’t, um, pick the correct cheek, you’ll have bad luck for the rest of the day, but it’s not like, major bad luck, it’s just, mild *laughs* 

Interviewer: And do you believe in this? And where did you learn it from?

JS: Um, I heard about this from my sister, I think. She brought it back from school. Hmm, I don’t believe it, but my girlfriend definitely believes it *laughs* so I always mention when one of her eyelashes falls down. Oh yeah and she’s from Pasadena. 

Thoughts: 

Wishing upon a fallen eyelash is an old practice. From what I’ve heard, blowing an eyelash away protects the person from witchcraft or the Devil, because the Devil tries to collect as much human hair from a person as possible in order to control them. For this reason, it makes sense to me that blowing an eyelash away would give the person good luck, because they evaded evil, but it was new to me that picking the wrong cheek would give the person bad luck. 

Barney Song

Context: 

This piece was collected over a casual FaceTime in which we were previously just catching up and talking about our elementary school experiences. We are close friends who met in high school and have known each other for five years. My informant (JS) was born in California and is now attending Carnegie Mellon as Computer Science major. He enjoys coding, playing video games, and weight lifting.

Main Piece:

The following is transcribed from a conversation between the informant (JS) and interviewer.

Interviewer: Wait you had the Barney Song too?!

JS: Yeah, wait we did! Wait let me sing it for you, how did it go again, oh yeah, yeah it was like this

Hurray, hurray, Barney’s dead,

We barbequed his head!

We didn’t care about his body,

So we flushed it down the potty

And around around it went

Around, around it went!

Down in the drains, through the ocean, bye bye Barney’s body!

Thoughts: 

The first time I heard the Barney Song was when I was in fourth grade. From what I’ve gathered from my friends, many middle schools had variations of the Barney Song, and each was as sadistic as the next. For some reason, we all wanted Barney dead. This might have been our way of rebelling against popular culture and authority, in our own small way. Many of us grew up watching the Barney and Friends show, so this was our way to make fun of the adults for pushing the show on us or to shock them with our violent words directed towards a character we were supposed to love.