Thursday, November 28, 2013

Internet Memes

Brielle Villablanca - Gingers Do Have Souls 

The gingers do have souls meme originated from a YouTube vlogger's video created by CopperCab. The video depicts his extremely emotional rant about how he has always been bullied in school because of his hair color; it's begins with anger and steadily escalates until he's almost in tears. Specifically, in the video he is responding to South Park's 2005 episode entitled "Ginger Kids" in which Eric Cartman gives a class pressentation on the made-up disease "Gingervitis" that plagues all ginger kids, explaining that they do not in fact have souls. In the episode, Cartman differentiates Gingers from "daywalkers," or people with red hair but not pale skin or freckels. The episode goes on in the typical ridiculous vein of South Park, but blatantly mocks gingers throughout. The episode is thought to have inspired the "National Kick a Ginger Day" on Facebook, which had over 20,000 members at one point, and though the group claimed to be having innocent fun, many red heads were indeed bullied strongly that day.

CopperCab begins his rant by asserting that gingers do indeed have souls, and states that "lately" he's been called a "fat ginger" by his classmates, and that really hurts his feelings. About 30 seconds into the video however, his rant transitions from hurt and embarrassed to furious, and he begins yelling and asserting himself forcefully. By the end of the video, he has brought up God, church, made ridiculous noises and faces, quasi "gangster" phrasing, and bad language - essentially, all of the ingredients of a viral video. CopperCab's YouTube rant currently has over 34 million views, but the extreme popularity of his video was evidenced inthe 3 million views (not to mention 600 response videos) within a month of the video being uploaded. According to Google Insights, interest peaked in April 2010, and has gradually increased since then.

The video gained popularity for several reasons. Firstly, the subject was extremely relevant and appropriate, as following the South Park episode ginger-related subjects became very popular. Further, his extreme emotion in conjunction with his very awkward stance in front of the camera was easy to imitate and catch on. His very irregular noises and movements made no sense in the context of his video, and went on to further increase the comedic value of his sketch. I believe that if another ginger had made this video, one who spoke calmly but from a heartfelt place, it would have been recieved in a much different fashion. However, his emotional extremes and overall strangeness of the video's content made it spread like wildfile. The video prompted an overwhelming amount of responses, the most popular of which have been an autotuned song made from his words, a "leave ginger kid alone video," and even a response from South Park themselves, in which Cartman's character acts as a ginger and reenacts the video.

Bryson Edgar - Condescending Wonka

The meme known as "Condescending Wonka" made some of its first appearances during the beginning many of the major internet meme origins around November of 2011. The meme, picturing the famous Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka is from the original movie "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory". Willy Wonka's character within the film is notably arrogant and speaks down to the guests at his chocolate factory. The characterization of Willy Wonka, paired with an evocative photo capturing his essence, combines to portray messages in an effectively facetious and humorous fashion.

            The “Casually Pepper Spraying Everything Cop” gained popularity as a result of protests at UC Davis during the Occupy Movement on November 11, 2011. Students were sitting on the campus quad in an attempt to protest against tuition fees as a result of state budget cuts. After police lieutenant John Pike repeatedly asked the students stationed on campus premises to leave, he whipped out his pepper spray bottle, and proceeded to walk down the line of sitting students, emptying the pugnet can onto all of their faces.

According to data gathered by Google Insights, Condescending Wonka began to pick up in popularity around November of 2011 as a result of a growing subculture of meme creators and blog users. At its most popular peak, Condescending Wonka meme was viral by April of 2012. Although the Wonka meme is widely used, other memes using the theme of condescension were very popular too, around the same time. An example of this is the "Condescending Fox" meme. A fascinating result of examining data from Google Insights is that the search for condescending memes as a general category hit it's highest point at the same time as the Wonka meme and then searches declined.

With further examination of April 2012 searches for Condescending Wonka, it appears that the surge in popularity was a result of the Twitter persona of Condescending Wonka. In an extremely popular tweet addressing Justin Bieber, Condescending Wonka writes, "Oh, you love @JustinBieber? I'm sure she loves you too.". This Twitter post created a frenzy and many others started to create their own versions of Condescending Wonka as a result. Anything with Justin Bieber certainly will carry with it a storm of attention.

Although the Condescending Wonka Meme was popular for over a year in length and then declined, the picture of Wonka can be found on just about any meme generating site. In the participatory culture of the Web 2.0, meme have vitality beyond their original use. Many people still provide hilarious contributions today.

Here is an example of a famous Condescending Wonka: 

Alexander Pick - Chuck Norris Facts

Chuck Norris Facts
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Chuck Norris Facts first became popular in early 2005. People believe that they originated from Conan O’Brien discussing his movie, ‘Walker, Texas Ranger,’ on his late night television program. The memes essentially focus on absurd feats or claims about Norris’ character as a whole. An example talks about how, ‘Chuck Norris’ tears cure cancer, too bad he never cries.’  This meme is important to Chuck Norris because of how he is a martial artist and often acts as characters that embody physical fortitude and mental toughness. 

Many similar memes have been spun-off of this very popular meme, which can still be examined on the Internet in present day. One such example is the Dos Equis franchise which uses an older Hispanic man as their main promoter. His phrase, ‘I don’t always drink beer but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis,’ has a prevalent presence online. The claims about him online and in commercials are very absurd and ridiculous in an attempt to emulate Chuck Norris facts.

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The meme became very popular because it often elicits humorous responses from those who view them. It is also fun to think about other facts that may be in line with Chuck Norris’ other impressive feats. While this meme exploded into popularity it hasn’t really subsided completely. If you type in Chuck Norris online, you can be sure to see absurd facts and claims about the actor/martial artist.

Assignment #5 “Planking” by Charlotte BĂ„lsrud Mjelva

Planking is a meme that was most popular in July 2011, according to Google Trends. It was primarily popular throughout 2011, and faded out in the beginning of 2012. Planking is that you lay horizontal with your arms close to your body and your face down, as you are imitating a plank. Then, you take a picture and upload it to a social media page. Facebook has many different groups of planking, but the most visited group, called “Planking” has almost one million likes.

Planking is also called the Lying Down Game. Sam Weckert from Australia coined the term “Planking” in 2008 ( He and some friends made a Facebook group with Planking pictures of each other, and it soon spread worldwide. Another source,, reports that it was Paul Carran that coined the term the same year. However, it was the pro-rugby player David “Wolfman” Williams who made it really popular after he planked during a match in March 2011 (

I think this concept has been so popular because it is something unusual that people don’t see everyday. It is a surprising element in an everyday life setting. It is mostly done in random places, and that makes it funny. Planking also has it own rules, like “You must always lay face down, ensuring your face remains expressionless for the duration of the Plank”. ( The term “planking” is actually not new. In 1994, Tom Green performed a stunt for a cable TV show, where he laid down on the street without moving (, thus planking. His stunt never got on air, but Green still argue that it originally was he that coined the term. I think that since it never got aired it did not become a big meme. Even if it had been aired on the show, it would probably not be spread so widely because it was before the Web 2.0 time.

Richard Dawkins coined the term “meme” in 1979 in his book The Selfish Gene (Davison 2012). The term “meme” is about cultural. Dawkins says that much of human behavior comes from culture and how cultural ideas spreads through a society (Davison 2012). Internet memes are ideas that spread fast via the Internet, mostly through social medias.  Davison 2012 uses the definition: “An Internet meme is a piece of culture, typically a joke, which gains influence through online transmission”(page 122).

According to TIME, one of the next memes that took over after planking was called “Milking” ( The Magazine wrote about “Milking” in November 2012. It got its start in Newcastle, England by to guys that thought it could be funny to pour a bottle of milk over themselves. They posted a video of it on Facebook, at it soon spread and become an Internet Meme.

What is the next big meme? Eventually, all memes will fade out after a while, and to predict which one will be the next isn’t easy. Recently, due to the Government Shutdown, the term Obamacare has been developed into a popular Internet Meme. We will probably soon get to know what the next big Internet meme will be.

Planking in air cabins is one way to do it.

List of references
Davison, Patrick “The Language of Internet Memes” in The Social Media Reader,
Michael Mandiberg (ed), New York University Press, 2012

Diana Beck - Gingers Do Have Souls

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This meme became famous 3 years ago when a boy made a YouTube video venting about how a Southpark episode had commented saying that Gingers do have souls. He became hysterical screaming about how frustrated he was that people where insulting his hair color. I think it became popular because he was in mass hysteria over a topic that pretty much everyone sees as trivial and really dumb. In 3 years, the Youtube video has gotten approx. 35 million views and When you search Google there are 21,000 results in searching “Gingers do have souls,” that does not include alternate wording searches. There is also a website solely devoted to “Gingers do have soul” memes. Other memes that have emerged are ones like “Blondes dont have brains.”
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There are many many more alternative memes of “Gingers do have souls.” I will include the original YouTube link, several parodies and different memes as well as a link to the south park episode about it.
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Description: Macintosh HD:private:var:folders:9d:02jss90n15xghxgq8718nrhr0000gp:T:TemporaryItems:images.jpgDescription: Macintosh HD:private:var:folders:9d:02jss90n15xghxgq8718nrhr0000gp:T:TemporaryItems:Gingers_c61326_2637459.jpg ---- Gingers response to no soul ---- Parody of kids reaction ---- Original South park No soul 

Gina Giarmo -  Casually Pepper Spraying Everything Cop

            While police officers have been known to pepper spray people who are being aggressive, violent, and need to be controlled and detained, it is widely known that the spray is highly painful, and can injure its victims. Police are only encouraged to use pepper spray when absolutely necessary (when a detainee is fighting back or posing a physical threat). John Pike’s casual willingness to spray an entire group of sedentary, peaceful protesting students, and his utter lack of regard for their well-being completely shocked the world and news stories of the incident became instantly became viral.Description: Description:
            As a result of the news stories, people instantly starting creating memes, in which
police officer John Pike spraying everyone from Mr. Rogers to the Beatles on Abbey Road. The first meme to to use a picture of John Pike in a setting other than UC Davis was by James Alex, also known as blogger, “Jockhomo”. He put the pepper spraying cop into classic paintings like “The Gross Clinic”, and the “The Spirit of 76’”. His genius sparked other memes from there, and while most of the memes started out in old American paintings, they expanded to depictions of the police officer spraying absolutely everything.

            Google searches for the meme spiked close to the time of the actual pepper spraying event, in November 2011. A meme website titled, was erected in 2011, where there are now nine pages of memes with the depiction of Pike, with the most recent picture posted one year ago. While the memes satire the ease with which John Pike whipped out such a violent tool and inflicted such pain on so many peacefully protesting students, it may be protesting the fact that John Pike received no punishment, and questions the degree of the citizens of the United States true right to protest and the right to freedom of speech. If police officers have the right to spray anyone they want without any repercussions, they may as well be allowed to spray little “Cindy Lou Who” as far as the public is concerned.


Dolph Rehbein - Nope! Chuck Testa
 On August 11th, 2011 an Ojai Valley taxidermist posted a video on his website entitled “Official Ojai Valley Taxidermy TV Commercial” to promote his business. The video showed a slew of taxidermied animals in ridiculous circumstances which fooled onlookers into thinking that the animals were alive. Then Chuck Testa would pop out from beyond the border of the video and Shout "Nope Chuck Testa!"The video was extremely low budget and was reminiscent of a time when local networks ruled the airwaves and national broadcasting had yet to dominate the majority of television. Using this Lo Fi style to his advantage Chuck Testa creates a hilarious T.V ad with hooky old time humor to contrast today overproduced advertisements. This in combination with the phenomena of free mass publication via the internet led to Chuck Testa's video going viral which eventually turned him and his catch phrase into becoming a meme.
Link to original Chuck Testa video:
The commercial began its fame once it was posted to reddit on September 2011 under the title of “This is probably the funniest low-budget commercial I have ever seen”. The post received twelve thousand upvotes and was soon covered by mainstream publications such as the Huffington Post. Within 24 hours the video reached 11 million views and the first Memes started appearing on the internet. The first was posted on reddit by user KerrickLong showing a shark attacking a man trying to climb into a helicopter. For the rest of the day the front page of most message boards was covered with Chuck Testa memes.
First Chuck Testa Meme:

Google insight Graph Illustrating the popularity of the Chuck Testa search term over time:

Like many memes before it Nope! Chuck surged in popularity and quickly tapered off as the joke go old. It can be seen in the google insight graph that the meme reached its highest popularity the day it was posted and declined 500% by the end of the month. This is the nature of internet culture. Due to the ability to instantly communicate jokes, including meme’s travel fast, and become stale equally quickly. Some meme’s do have staying power but the secondary content produced by internet users about Chuck Testa was very one dimensional. Almost all memes involved Chuck Testa popping out behind some character or animal in some pop culture reference.
Examples of derivative Chuck Testa memes:
Although its popularity declined quickly Chuck Testa’s commercial dominated the internet for a couple days for a reason. It struck a nostalgic chord with viewers. This genre of advertising is the type you’d see late at night in a motel room that was too cheap to pay for national broadcasting and only had local channels. You’d then laugh and talk to whomever was in the room next to you about how stupid the ad was. Chuck Testa’s commercial allows internet user to converse about this occurrence with the rest of the world. Chuck Testa’s commercial reached 14 and a half million views since it was released and 11 million of those views occurred in one day. This perfectly illustrates the internet popularity and the one hit wonders of most memes.
Daniel Davis - OMG Kanye!

“Imma let you finish”, is quite possibly the most important phrase uttered in 2009. This infamous sentence was uttered by non other than musician, celebrity, genius, Kanye West, when he hijacked the stage from the sweet Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech at the VMA’s. Kanye felt the insuppressible urge to recognize Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” music video, which he deemed “one of the best of all time.” Kanye took the stage, and microphone, from a young and surprised Taylor Swift who was in the middle of a heartfelt speech, and proceeded to make Internet history.

Shortly after Kanye’s famous interruption at the VMA’s the Internet was ablaze with meme’s deemed “Interrupting Kanye” or “Imma let you finish”. The meme circulated very fast and stayed popular for 2009 and into 2010. Examples of the various Kanye inspired meme’s on the Internet are: “
Although the circulation of the meme on the Internet has since died down, there have been numerous parodies and jabs on behalf of the situation. Other celebrities such as Jay-Z and Aubrey Plaza have done their own renditions of the infamous interruption at later award shows. They were received as very humor and witty because the original meme went mainstream.

I personally feel that the meme went so viral for a couple reasons. Primarily because it was painfully awkward, and in a sense was a form of schadenfreude. People enjoyed watching Taylor’s awkwardness and Kanye making a fool out of himself. Additionally, because the two are high profile celebrities, there is a wide audience of people that are interested in all of their actions, and especially funny ones. I also think that it is so popular because it is very applicable to many situations, and therefore it can be funny to apply to a variety of things and is more fun for meme creators to use.
            Here is one of my favorite “Imma let you finish memes.”

Description: h, you're condescending and witty on the internet? I bet that confidence translates well into the real world - Oh, you're condescending and witty on the internet? I bet that confidence translates well into the real world  Condescending Wonka

Camilla Naesmo - Condescending Wonka

The Condescending Wonka is one of the most descent spread and shared meme on the Internet. The Meme shows a facial portrait of Wonka, with a question written at the top and and a comment at bottom.  Toghether the text is condescending, ironic or humorous - often combined, and making a parody of how so called noobs behave in social forums.

The meme derives from the film ”Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory” from1971, where Gene Wilders have the role as Mr. Wonka. The picture is from the scene where Mr. Wonka ask the visiting children if they want to see his newest invention. Mr. Wonka tends to talk people down, and that’s what the meme illustrates. Through humor and sarcasm Mr. Wonka indirectly stop people to do something, or ridicule someone, by ironically talking them down. The meme has later got the name creepy Wonka, also because of Mr. Wonkas personality and the text that were added to the portrait.

According to “Know your meme”, the Condescending Wonka was first shown in the series of “You must be new here” memes that making fun of how noobs behave in online discussion forums. These noobs often tends to ask questions with obvious answers, often to condescend new members and mark their own status and rules. Short after it was introduced with other texts, where one of the first was:  “Close the door/I´ll show not fudge packing unit”. The meme got the name Condescending Wonka short time after, as well as its popularity increased and new versions were made. Today the most popular version is criticizing trends among teenagers: ex
Description: eme

Later other memes emerged from it. These is often showed the same way of down talking, but instead of Wonka, animals or other persons is portrayed with the same kind of clothing and/or body language:


Today versions the Condescending Wonka can be found on tubler, Facebook, Funny Junk, he can be followed on Twitter where he have 617611 followers, and so on. At the Condescending Wonka quickmeme page the most popular versions is shared over 990 000 times.  The meme was most popular in the midst of 2012, mostly by people in the US and Australia. To day it is still shared and spread, but not in the same scope: only 5 present of the search that it had in April 2012.
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