Author Archives: meganfol

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.

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Scene from The O.C.

SNL Sketch

Compilation of use on the internet

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPOYF0vtVyY

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.

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.

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Use in American politics

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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.

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.

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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.

 

Chicken mafe

Background

The informant has a lot of different parts of her background which influence her. Her family is Haitian and Comorian (an island off the coast of Africa) and she is still close with family who live in those places and visits often. She grew up for the first 10 years of her life in the U.S., but then spent the rest of her life living in Paris, France until she decided to come to school in the U.S. She likes to say that she’s a hodge-podge of different identities.

Context

The informant made this dish for the eight people she is living in a dorm with at college for a special “finals study break with a little bit of [her] culture.” She then described how to make the dish to me. She said that she originally learned how to make the dish from her sister.

Text (J is the informant, M is the collector)

J: So, chicken mafé is a Senegalese dish and the best American translation for it would kinda be like “peanut butter chicken.” So, you start obviously by, like, cleaning your chicken. My mom taught me that the best way to do it is, like, after you’ve cleaned it — you know like, rinsed it off, and taken off the skin, and you’ve put in the vinegar and everything– you put it also in coffee, because it really gets rid of the smell. So, hot coffee. And, then, um… you.. cook the chicken a bit before. At least, I do. Um… with like, you know, just generally salt, pepper.. Barely.. Just, maybe a tiny bit of olive oil, onions, garlic. Really get all that in there. And then.. Um… once you’ve got it a tiny bit browned, you add in, uh, one tomato, a BUNCH of peanut butter.

M: (Laughing) Very scientific amount

J: I mean, African… when you — African dishes don’t ever.. Like, I’ve never heard of an African dish that has actual measures. Like, my Grandmother’s tried to teach me a bunch of stuff. She’d just like “just, add these in. And.. YES.” Um.. and so, yeah.You cook that. Um.. you wanna, maybe — it depends how thick you want the sauce, you might wanna add a bit of water to it. Or don’t. I like having the sauce really.. slightly… like pretty thick. My mom likes it a bit less thick, so she always tells me to add some water to it. Um, and, yeah, let’s see: garlic, onions, tomatoes, peanut butter, salt, pepper.. chicken, obviously. And, I mean, some basic spices, i guess. Like, you could add cayenne pepper, if you wanted to, or stuff like that, but..

M: Yeah, so, did you learn this recipe from your mom or grandma or who did you learn it from?

J: Um.. so, I learned this one, actually, from my big sister. Because, uh, chicken mafé is one of her favorite African dishes, but it’s not a dish from where we’re actually from. But.. So, she learned it from one of my aunts — or, like, well, the African version of aunt, so really one of our close friends– who is senegalese. Um, so, the aunt taught her how to do it and she taught me how to make it, and.. Yeah.

M: And would you make it with your sister?

J: Uh, I think I made it once with my sister. The few other times I made it, I made it when I actually got.. well, since, like, I’ve been in the U.S. Either, like, for other people or friends, or, yeah. I always make a  ridiculous amount, too, because I’m so used to making it in African portions that I’ve forgotten. Which is ridiculous, because you’d never think that African portions are bigger than American portions, but, hey.

Thoughts

I thought it was interesting how the informant identified with this dish as a part of her culture, even though it is from a completely different part of Africa than where she’s from. I think, in the context of serving this dish to a group of Americans, this foodway was used to assert her general African-ness, rather than demonstrate a specific part of her Comorian culture.

For another version of this recipe, see:

Lam, Francis. “Chicken Mafe Recipe.” NYT Cooking. The New York Times Company, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.

Taiwanese Wedding Tradition

Background

The informant said that she learned Taiwanese wedding traditions from her grandparents and as a part of daily life by going to weddings. She emphasized that it is very important to her that she learns these traditions and keeps them up, even though some of them conflict with her own religious beliefs, because they are part of her cultural heritage. She said that it makes her sad when she sees Taiwanese-Americans who do not know or practice any Taiwanese traditions, because they are missing out on something that is a part of who they are and helps to define them.

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Usually, uh, traditional weddings, there will be like, um, multiple different.. like.. stages. So, usually the first– like, after, um, you engage, you have to meet each other’s parents. Like, you have to dress formally, like, usually traditional, uh, Taiwanese dresses. And girls, uh, the wife will make tea for the parents of, um, the husband’s side. So, making tea is a sort of respect, and to show that you have the ability to cook and stuff. So, you make tea, and you kneel down and you serve them the tea. For, um, the husband’s side parents. And, uh, if they accept it, it means that, like, this engagement will be made. And then, um, if.. If it’s a traditional wedding, sometimes.. It’s… it’s most of the time it happens at the southern part of Taiwan, they have really big, like, wedding ceremonies. They’ll invite hundreds of people. And they will go to like plazas in front of, um, temples and they will have a lot of tables of food. So, it’s like a huge, um, festival that invites all of the people. Your neighbors, friends you know. So, they’ll, uh, all go there. They will give out “hongbao,” which is red envelopes with money inside. So.. so, they will give those monies to, uh, the wedding couples and stuff, so they can have money to, you know, buy houses, buy stuff. So, that’s usually a part of, um, the gifts you give them. And during those… um…. dinners– So, there will be a lot of people who cook right there. And, uh, usually they will look at… they will enjoy, like, traditional Taiwanese operas, as well. So, yeah, that would be a show stage over there, and people would just eat, and there would be a performance going on.

Thoughts
The informant seemed to hold great respect for Taiwanese wedding traditions. When I asked if she saw her future wedding resembling these traditions, she said that she plans on likely staying in America, so whoever she marries might have traditions of their own, but that it would be important to her to include some of her Taiwanese traditions in the wedding process. Continuing Taiwanese wedding traditions seems to be a way for her to maintain her Taiwanese identity even while in an American setting.