Category Archives: Digital

Bill Clinton Music Meme

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 21
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: 4.15.20
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Background: The informant here is explaining a Bill Clinton themed meme that has been exploding on social media during the Covid-19 pandemic. As a college Junior on all social media platforms, the informant also explores the nature of these collaborative quarantine meme challenges. She also explains her own rendition of the meme that she shared on her social media. Said photo is included below. 

The Main Piece:

So yeah this meme started going around on the ‘gram. Um like twoish weeks ago now probably. Um, this is one of many viral repost interactive things that you can do with your friends type of meme that has popped on social media since quarantine began. I think it’s just a way that people stay connected during this, and even if it’s not fully reaching out to your friend even just a little nudge to be like ‘hey, I remember you— you exist and I care to hear what your answer is to this type of stuff,’ I think is a cool way of interacting with people during these time. Um, but ya you chose like your four albums and people were kinda putting different twists on them, like I did mine on my top albums of 2019. Uh, some people were doing like their quarantine jams, some people were doing like their favorite 70s albums. So like there were a lot of different takes on it and people were able to make it their own. Yeah, it was interesting, they’re all pretty short- lived  because like the new one comes around and everyone starts doing that one instead because everyone’s bored as hell. So. 

Context: This conversation took place on a late night in quarantine. The informant and I are quarantining together. This conversation arose from a seemingly nightly tradition of talking about how Covid-19 has affected the world, including its influence on pop culture and social norms. 

Analysis: This meme is a great example of the sort of ‘collaborative’ memes that have become so popular during quarantine and social distancing. I agree with the informant that these memes stem from using social media as one of the only tools to connect during this pandemic. A feeling that is reminiscent of the fascination of opening an account and getting connected in the first place. I also agree with the informant that it is a nice sentiment and a way to stay connected creatively. For this reason the new wave of content feels less of showing off and more of finding ways to creatively pass time with each other while not actually physically being with each other.

“Spaghetti Code” as Computer Science Lingo

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Jewish
Age: 20
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/21/2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Main Piece

Informant: Spaghetti Code is exactly what it sounds like, usually, I’ll use Spaghetti Code when I need to get something working, and I don’t give a shit what it looks like. It usually works, but it breaks pretty easily It is completely unreadable but it gets the job done. 

Interviewer: In what context would you use this? 

Informant: Say I have a lab due tonight, and I have an hour to do it and I just need something to pass the cases so I just code something really half-assed and someone asked me if I did the assignment, I would tell them “yeah, I did it but it is all spaghetti.” 

Interviewer: Where did you learn it? 

Informant: Sophomore year through word of mouth, friends just kinda started using it around me so I picked it up. 

Background

The informant is a good friend and housemate of mine, and is a junior at USC studying Computer Science and Computer Engineering. He is originally from Manhattan Beach, CA and has been coding ever since highschool. He has had several internships with different computer science companies such as Microsoft and is very involved with different coding clubs on campus. 

Context

When I asked my informant how his assignment went, he described it using this term. Being something I have never heard before, I brought it up during our interview and asked him to describe it and provide some more context as to when he would use it. 

Analysis

I think this example of folk speech is a very colloquial and humorous way for computer science students to describe their work and relate to one another. It is a great indicator of the quality of their code, and provides imagery that is usually not present within the lingo and world of computer science. Especially for a subject and major that can harbor a lot of stress, it is also an indicator that could have arised when students did not have the time or effort to put in quality work into their coding assignments but still needed a way to get it done. 

“Karen” as a folk term

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Jewish
Age: 20
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/21/2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Main Piece

Interviewer: What does “Karen” mean?

Informant: Karen is an internet slang word to describe a  very entitled, middle-class white woman. Or a boomer white woman. They are often blonde and they often have very short haircuts. They usually like to speak and the managers, and then proceed to yell at the entry-level employees who have no control over the matters. 

Interviewer:Where did you pick it up?

Informant: Maybe a year ago, scrolling through Twitter. 

Interviewer: do you use it frequently?

Informant: Yeah, especially when making jokes with friends or memes on the internet, haha.

Background

The informant is a good friend and housemate of mine, and is a junior at USC studying Computer Science and Computer Engineering. He is originally from Manhattan Beach, CA and has been coding ever since highschool. He has had several internships with different computer science companies such as Microsoft and is very involved with different coding clubs on campus. 

Context

The group of individuals at my house tend to send each other a lot of memes and use internet lingo throughout the house as different jokes. “Karen” is one that this informant uses very frequently, so during our interview I asked him to describe it in his own terms. 

Analysis

This term of folk speech is a perfect example of how internet lingo and culture has permeated into everyday verbal communication. Many of these terms are associated with humor and generational differences, as seen with this one which is intended to poke fun at individuals from an older population. This shows the rift in values and morals between generations, and displays how everyday names can be transformed to carry much more weight and meaning.

“Ping” as Computer Science lingo

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Jewish
Age: 20
Occupation: Student/Computer Scientist
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/21/2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Main Piece

Interviewer: What does ping mean?

Informant: To check nn on someone, or following up with someone. If I were waiting for someone to send me a new version of their code, I would say “I am going to ping them” which basically means the same thing as “I am going to follow up with them.” 

Interviewer:Where did you learn it?

Informant:I learned it from the coding community, very much so. 

Interviewer: Do you use it frequently?

Informant: Uhhh…yeah actually I just used it in an email. I guess I use it so frequently I forgot that I use it in the first place if that makes any sense, haha.

Background

The informant is a good friend and housemate of mine, and is a junior at USC studying Computer Science and Computer Engineering. He is originally from Manhattan Beach, CA and has been coding ever since highschool. He has had several internships with different computer science companies such as Microsoft and is very involved with different coding clubs on campus. 

Context

One day while we were at home my informant used the word “ping” in front of me and I had no idea what he meant. During the interview I asked for more context on this word and when it would be used and where he learned it from. 

Analysis

I think that much of the folk speech used between computer scientists is heavily dependent on the different technology that they use. Always focusing on efficiency and collaboration with larger coding projects, students and computer scientists alike use words and folk speech in order to communicate with more ease and to form a sense of community within the coding community.

Fancam Culture

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 20
Occupation: student
Residence: Fullerton, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/29/2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Korean, Mandarin

An explanation of the origin and evolution of Fancam culture from the perspective of a k-pop fan.

Text:

Informant: Fancam culture at the moment is in its most evolved form on Twitter. In which, people will reply to viral tweets, even if they’re unrelated to kpop, with a video that’s focused on a certain figure/idol/celebrity that they like. It started in kpop ‘cause there’s this thing called a direct camera or the fan cam where there’s one camera that doesn’t move and shows the whole performance, but there’s another set of cameras and each of those follows one specific member of the group throughout the performance. That one is where the fancam originated. Basically these videos are available for download on websites like Naver– it’s like Korean Google. On lot’s of fan sites they’re made officially and for download vertically. Nowadays they’re largely vertical videos so it’s like hella advanced. You can download these, keep them, and save them. I actually have like four on my phone right now. Anyway, people started posting them on Twitter. As the kpop fanbase became more populated, getting a lot of views on your idol’s videos became an achievement you unlock as you go through the ranks of being a stan. People started replying to viral tweets with a fancam because if anyone sees it the views go up automatically. So if a tweet goes viral, and you tag it there the views will go up. That was the origin of the dancing fancam. Those are the videos where you just see people dancing. Then k-pop fans started making edits. Edits are videos of a celebrity set to a song or an aesthetic. They’re often set to American rap songs by like Nikki Minaj or Cardi B. They subsequently became a part of, and often take the place of, the traditional fancam. Those two separate but similar fan edits merged to the more overall idea of “fancams”. The goal of fancams are now just to get the views up on every single kind of k-pop video, and recently it’s started to stretch out into all other fandoms.

Context: I asked a friend to explain fancams to me.

Thoughts: I only began to be exposed to fancams once they began to be edited to American music, and I think they have taken on a largely ironic nature after that. I’ve seen people make fancams as absurd as possible for very niche celebrities. Like green M&M and Kermit the Frog.

Cottagecore

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 19
Occupation: student
Residence: La Habra, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/29/2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

An informant explains a growing online lesbian subculture.

Text:

Informant: Cottagecore is this, typically lesbian, ideal aesthetic where you want to live like in cottage in the woods. It’s very fairy-esque. You bake bread and wear paisley skirts. There’s a lot of gardening, living off the land, being off the grid for the good of your soul and the planet. It’s very “I want a fairy wife” kind of belief. There’s a lot of mushrooms and forest animals. It’s this lesbian fantasy that you’ll run away and leave the world behind and live this perfect story-book life with your wife.

Context: A friend was explaining to another friend what Cottagecore is. The informant is a member of the wlw community.

Thoughts:

Cottagecore is very popular subgroup/theme on TikTok. I’ve seen it a lot, and it has recently begun to spread to other social media apps like Twitter. I feel as though it is growing in popularity, in both the lesbian culture and more mainstream internet users, because it rejects the stressful aspects of modern society such as capitalism and the nine-to-five work day.

Google Doc meme

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 19
Occupation: Student
Residence:
Date of Performance/Collection: April 28
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

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.

“Zumped” Quarantine Folk Phrase

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 22
Occupation: Student
Residence: New york City
Date of Performance/Collection: April 10, 2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Main Piece: 

Informant- Last night I was zumped. My boyfriend and I hadn’t seen each other for a few weeks due to quarantine. He invited me to a zoom meeting last night and I was unsure what he needed. On the zoom he then explained that he was dumping me! Over zoom! 

Background: The informant recalls an interaction with her boyfriend where she was ‘zumped’. She used this word in a casual scenario combing the words zoom and dumped. This word and her phrasing poked fun at the odd scenario of being dumped through a video app. 

Context: The informant is a young adult, 22 years old and lives in New York City. Above are the words from the Informant using the phrase Zumped. She used this phrase in a casual conversation recalling the events from the night before. 

Thoughts: The combination of the word Zoom and Dumping is an interesting way for people to bring some humor to an odd scenario. This time of quarantine is very liminal, allowing for many new adaptations of folklore. This new phrase ‘zumping’ is popular because couples who can’t quarantine together are being forced to go their separate ways. This liminal time period has introduced many uncertainties and testing intimate relationships forcing them to communicate through zoom. 

Corona Lisa Meme

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Pakistani
Age: 42
Occupation: Surgeon
Residence: CMH Residence, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/22/2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Urdu

Context: The following is a meme from the informant, my maternal uncle. It was meant as an attempt to be humorous while showing the drastic changes in life due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Background: My uncle, being a surgeon, shared this meme that had been circulated by his fellow medical professionals. Since they work in a hospital, the Coronavirus has had a very significant impact on their lives.

Main piece: 

Analysis: This meme attempts to present a jarring image with the famous Mona Lisa presented in a gas mask. Along with playing off of the similarities with ‘Mona’ rhyming with ‘Corona’, which combined with the ridiculous appearance of a mask covering half of the painting aims to invoke laughter, the meme could also be making a more serious attempt to show just how much impact this virus has really had on our normal lives, and the lengths to which we might have to go in order to combat it.

USC Folklore: The Legend of Nikolay

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 18
Occupation: student
Residence: LA
Date of Performance/Collection: 04/22/20
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

M: There was this running joke at USC about this weird dude named Nikolay. No one knew who he really was and no one had proof that he even existed. But this became the focus of a lot of USC jokes on twitter and on this app called Herd. People would post random pictures from memes and be like “meet Nikolay”. There was this one time when Fluor Tower flooded and people on Herd would say Nikolay is to blame. I can assure you this man does NOT exist but it’s just funny to refer to him during any situation. His entire existence is just a meme.

Above is an example of a student referencing Nikolay on Herd. Herd is an anonymous social media app that was designed specifically for college students to speak their minds on any topic they choose. Many USC memes either emerged from this app or made its way onto the platform via Twitter or Facebook. The existence of Nikolay has not been proven nor disproven by any means which makes it more of a USC legend. Nikolay has been a central focus in USC meme culture. Only those who indulge in USC meme culture would be familiar with him. This is a way for USC students to pull each other’s legs. It also says something about youth culture and their humor. It’s apparent that the funniest jokes are the ones that make no sense at all.