“You guys know the phrase that if you meet someone from the internet in real life you say “I like your shoelaces, where did you get them from?” “I stole them from the president.””
Thoughts: I managed to find the real post that this originated from:
I believe I have used this in real life in the mid-2010s. Deeply embarrassing stuff. However, beginning in 2018 and continuing through today, this phrase has taken on a more meme-like or ironic meaning. This phrase is no longer used to identify other internet users, but to mock people who once used it. In my mind, that makes this really emblematic of the culture shift as more and more people got onto social media, as well as the general growing up of the folk group who once used it and subsequently realized it was childish.
“My Immortal is a Harry Potter fan fiction that um is famously very bad. It trended and was popularized because of how famously awful it was. And one of the aspects that made it very popular in addition to its awfulness was that nobody knew who the author was. And for years in fan fiction it was a form of folklore *subject winks* who the author of My Immortal was, and people thought we’d never get the answer. But one morn….one week in 2017 a woman on Tumblr claimed that she was the author of My Immortal, and that her name was Rose Christo, and that she wrote My Immortal to be intentionally bad so it would become popular so she could reconnect with her long-lost brother who she was separated from in foster care. She made a bunch of wild claims in addition to that, um, like how in her foster care she was, she was abused for being Native American before it was revealed that she was a white woman completely lying, having never been in foster care. Um, to this day it’s still not known whether she actually wrote My Immortal, because she did have documents hinting that she did. But we do know that she was lying about all of her reasons for writing it.”
This is one of my favorite pieces of internet folklore. The author has gone through many permutations, from the screen name of XXXbloodyrists666XX to Tara Gilesbie to Rose Christo to once again a big question mark. Additionally, there’s the fact that it reportedly got deleted of of fan fiction.net, the original hosting site, twice. It’s one of the first pieces of internet folklore I can remember hearing about as a young teenager, after it’s deletion but before Rose Christo came out as the “author,” so I got to watch her rise and fall in real time. It’s certainly interesting — who would make the claim to be the author of such a notoriously bad piece of work? It’s fascinating to keep up with, and I’m eager to see who comes forward to claim it next.
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.
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.
Examples of the spread of the phrase
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.
The meme: “It’s like a frog cartoon that…people use as a reaction image…I don’t know??? Some people use it to express sadness.”
The informant is a college student who gets on Tumblr every day, regardless of having a love-hate relationship with it; the website is where she first encountered Pepe the Frog, but she says that she sees it used on Twitter as well. When I asked her what she thought when she first saw it, she said, “That it was another dumb meme.” I then asked her if she knew the exact origin of Pepe the Frog, to which she responded, “No, Amanda.” Further research on the website KnowYourMeme.com shows that “Pepe the Frog is an anthropomorphic frog character from the comic series Boy’s Club by Matt Furie. On 4chan, various illustrations of the frog creature have been used as reaction faces, including Feels Good Man, Sad Frog, Angry Pepe, Smug Frog and Well Meme’d.” The meme has spread very rapidly in the last year. This is probably due to the popularity of Twitter, Tumblr, and Reddit recently. Even if people don’t know the exact origin, they find it funny and worthy of using. The Internet is a weird place.