L.L.:Ok so. [laughs] Every-time I see this meme I start to laugh. [laughs again] Basically there is this gif, which has now become also a sticker that we send to each other in chats, where there is the woman, I think she is a television’s reporter or something like that. Hum…anyway, she basically looks directly into the camera and does all these gestures and facial expression which are simply hilarious to me. Probably because it perfectly portrays the way I and the majority of other Italians act. And, I don’t know. To me it’s funny because I associate it with the daily online conversations I have with my friends and how we use it to simply represent what we would be doing if we were face to face. Also, [laugh again] it’s so funny because it has now become a thing we do “live”, so we basically mimic the woman, who is not doing anything special or different from what we would actually do normally. But I don’t know, when we now do those kinds of gestures, all the people of my generation know who are we referring to…It became a sort of national indirect joke, I guess.
My informant is a 19 year old girl who was born in Crotone, Calabria(Southern Italy), but who spent most of her lifetime in Bologna (Italy). She is a dear-fiend of mine, with whom I have daily conversations both on the internet and off. This piece of cyber folklore is actually fairly recent and it came to her attention both through conversations with some friends and thanks to social networks. She particularly enjoys this piece because -as many trends do- it perfectly portrays the general atmosphere of the moment in which it became viral and, at the same time, it is able, somehow, to picture in a couple of frames, typical gestures, expressions and attitudes of the average Italian.
I myself entered in contact with this piece in the last few months, and we were imitating it during a lunch when I though it would be a good idea for my informant to talk about it and describe it to me. My closest friends and I use these kinds of meme/stickers quite often during online conversations, usually with the intention of either portray on a chat our physical behaviors and expressions, or maybe ‘soften’ more serious topics.
I consider this meme quite interesting for various reasons. First of all, it was originally taken from a television clip and re-created by other people-especially teenagers and young folks- on social platforms like Tik Tok or Instagram. Later on, it was transformed in various forms of cyber-folklore, like memes and stickers, which, again, young people started to exchange on chats and online conversation with the main objective of portraying their current facial and body expression also in a written chat. This, in my opinion, perfectly reflects folklore’s definition of “Multiplicity and variation”, it having been transformed and utilized ‘vernacularly’ in various different ways. At the same time, it can also be said to be a sort of new and innovative format of “artistic communication” in small groups, it having been re-crafted in various ways throughout the short-period of time from its creation.
Secondly, I find it really compelling from a cultural and national point of view. The woman which gesticulates and has such strong facial expressive articulations is able to supremely depict the Italian way of communicating which, despite the sometimes erroneous stereotypes, still talks a lot through hand-gestures and “visual phrasings”.
I believe this meme -and its affiliated stickers- to be extremely representative of my nationality and this is why I will probably never get tried of using it.