Tag Archives: Internet folklore

The Loona Curse

Context: J is a 21 year old Filipino American college student who grew up in California, who has been a long time K-pop follower and fan of numerous groups, some favorites including Loona and Twice. This piece was collected during a discord audio call.

Intv: “Is there any folklore related to any of the K-pop groups you follow? Or is there Hololive lore?”

J: “Oh! There’s the Loona Curse!”

Intv: “What’s the Loona Curse? I’ve not heard of it.”

J: “Okay so basically it’s like if you speak bad about Loona your group disbands. Specifically if you’re like “loona is going to disband before [group] because y’all are flops.” 

Intv: “And wait, this has happened before?”

J: “Oh yeah, it’s happened like three times now. With Pristin (sorry Kim), x1, and gfriend.” 

Intv: “So was this like something that happened on Twitter?” 

J: “Yeah, but not by Loona specifically, but their fans definitely defended Loona on Twitter and the tweets eventually blew up but it never directly affected the groups involved, until they disbanded. Even then it was never direct but it was a huge coincidence that it happened.”

Intv: “Oh so it was a community based twitter event not involving the group members specifically?” 

J: “Yeah exactly! Oh! It also happened to IZ*ONE, they were huge in Korea and Japan.” 

Analysis: I find the sense of community created across cyberspace with random internet people to be completely beautiful. Even in an instance where, unfortunately, beloved musical groups are disbanded, in J’s retelling of the story I got such a sense of pride as a loona fan. I was even linked to a tweet that has thousands of retweets and likes about this phenomenon. https://twitter.com/yvesfan420/status/1518673182869180416?s=21&t=AZ7-coVbYpwZd2vhRlyiZw

Throughout the comments are fans of Loona, Pristin, x1, and so many other k-pop groups who have all been made away of, The Loona Curse. 

Gamer Folk Speech

Context:

My informant, AW, is my 15-year-old brother. He is heavily involved in multiple online gaming communities that exist on Discord and other social platforms and revolve around multiplayer online games such as Valorant and Overwatch. This piece was collected during an informal interview at home when I asked him to share something unique to the gaming community. I refer to myself at SW in the text.

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Main Text:

AW: “Whenever someone is doing really or someone just made a crazy play or an insane play or something like that, um, people would say like you’re popping off or you’re cracked or… um I mean this ones fairly normal but you’re insane or something like that. And people have taken that super far… instead of saying you’re insane people will literally say like ‘you’re absolutely bonkers. You’re mentally unstable.’ Meaning that you did something insane and stuff like that. So yea there’s a lot of terminology like that, that every gamer will understand.”

SW: “Where do you learn it?”

AW: “Um… literally just from talking to people a lot of social cues, a lot of – how I guess you would learn language. It’s just… you don’t ever ask you just kinda know eventually.”

SW: “Why is it important?”

AW: “Cuz every gamer knows it and every gamer says it. It’s… a lot more acceptable to say ‘you’re insane’ or ‘you’re cracked’ than it is to say ‘wow that was a really good play, good rally. That was… that was a good effort. You, you played that very smart.’ Like no one ever says that you say ‘dude you’re insane you’re cracked.’ Or, or you simply just say ‘sheeeeesh.’”

SW: “Which means what?”

AW: “It can mean a lot of things. But in the gaming culture specifically, it’s just a surprised reaction or a… an admiration of something. Like if someone just did something insane you’d go ‘sheeeeeeesh bro.’ Or like… or if someone does something like, super sus, if you know what that means, that’s another word that – yea if someone does that you’d just go ‘sheeeeeesh bro. Sheeeesh.’ It really can be used for anything, it has so many meanings it’s just like, an exclamation. 

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Analysis:

One of my favorite parts of the internet is how quickly folk speech spreads and how some sayings are universal while others only exist within a very specific group. I think the main purpose is to distinguish members of the group from outsiders. As AW mentioned, these phrases are picked up naturally as you spend more time in the community, so it becomes a way to tell how long someone has been in the community. In the gaming community, it’s probably especially important to form a group identity since most people have ever met each other face to face. Gaming folk speech seems to be largely focused on making things more hyperbolic, which might reflect the group culture of being more energetic and dramatic in both your manner of speech and your actions. This probably happens because you can’t rely on body language in these conversations, so you must come up with standardized ways to verbally express emotions of excitement or congratulations that might otherwise be expressed simply through a cheer or a high five.

The Jigsaw Puzzle

Main Piece:

Interviewer: So tell me this scary story you’ve heard of.

Subject: Okay so… there’s this girl and she’s home alone. She goes into the attic and she finds a puzzle that she hasn’t seen before… she has no idea where it comes from. She’s bord so she’s like “okay, I’ll make this puzzle.” So she goes down to her kitchen and she starts making this puzzle. There’s no picture on the box or anything! It’s just in like an old box. She has no clue what’s up. But she starts to put the pieces of the puzzle together she realizes that it is her kitchen. And as she goes around the edges she realizes that she is also in the puzzle. Finally she completes the puzzle… except for one last piece. And on the last piece is her kitchen window with a horrifying twisted demonic face… in the window. And slowly she puts the piece into place… and then the window slams open! 

Interviewer: Wow that is terrifying. Where did you hear this story?

Subject: A friend. A friend and I were trying to tell each other scary stories to scare the other out of falling asleep.

Interviewer: And did it work?

Subject: Definitely.

Context: The subject is my 17-year-old younger brother who is in his senior year of high school. We have been quarantined together due to the Coronavirus pandemic and staying at our home in Charleston, South Carolina. After dinner, we were sitting in the dark in the living room and I asked him to tell me the scariest story he had ever heard. He was ready to accept that challenge, particularly because he was riddled with boredom.

Interpretation: This legend scared me in a deeply unsettling way. I think it is the slow build of the story, how it starts with something as seemingly trivial as a girl finding a puzzle, then escalates into terror. I had never heard this scary story before, and upon doing some research, I found out this is a fairly popular internet urban legend. Different renderings of it were featured in a number of anthologies of scary stories, as well as in a few pieces of authored literature, like the movie “The Dead Poet’s Society”.  I could not find a tie to the legend of any specific culture, heritage, or nationality beyond varying internet groups.