Set aside the whole “connecting the world” and “putting limitless information at your fingertips” BS. The most amazing power of the internet, by far, is its unrivaled ability to take the obscure and geeky and turn it into a cool, worldwide hit. Before the internet, nerds and their inside jokes toiled in obscurity, around Dungeons and Dragons boards and assaulted lunch tables around the world. Sometime in the early 90’s, they had a set of huge secret conferences and decided to invent a way of force feeding the world their dorky obsessions until we accepted them. Now that nerds run the entire freaking Internet, we’re inundated with this stuff, from video game talk to pranks to talking cats (that are nonetheless colloquially challenged). There’s a whole heap of popular internet-born social phenomenon; some are great, some not so much. Here’s a quick guide.
The Five Worst Internet Memes
1. LOLCats: At first, this was kinda funny; taking awkward pictures of cats and captioning them with angry yet cute block writing was a fun past time, and a good way to spam a message board. But now, it’s insufferable, with sites (led by icanhazcheezburger) popping up left and write and amateur, unfunny writers filling said sites with awful, even heartfelt captions. Even worse, people are starting to talk like these asshole cats in real life, like they’re big, obnoxious babies or something. I iz uhnoid bah ur stoopid catz.
2. Two Girls One Cup Reaction Videos: Man up, America. Are you really that disgusted by two girls fisting each other and eating their crap? First of all, two girls going at it is the heart and soul of internet porn. It’s the thought that continues to launch boners and jerkoff sessions worldwide. So, really, it’s the crap that’s the problem? Sure, if it’s real crap, it’s something most of us probably wouldn’t participate in, but you’re not participating, or even watching live. Get off your high horse and enjoy the hilariousness of it — stop playing to your own webcam, it that makes you even worse than the shit eaters. At least they’re willing to work hard for their infamy.
3. Gingers Do Have Souls: This is actually unbelievably sad. It’s no joke in the United Kingdom, where religious and ethnic tension between the English and Irish have led to discrimination, violence and bloodshed; many less tolerant English are truly hateful of redheads, calling them Gingers with the same hatred many in our country attach to the names they call people of different skin colors. For whatever reason, this caught on in America, but without the long history of hatred to “justify” it. Really, it’s just a bunch of dickhead kids and bored people on the internet making fun of helpless redhead kids. The kid in this video is scared and alone, and he’s pleading for the mindless torture to end. Yet you continue to laugh, like ignorant bullies.
4. JK Wedding Dance Entrance: So, a bunch of bored 20-somethings choreographed an entrance dance to their friends’ wedding, to break up the monotony of probably what was the 20th wedding they had attended in the past few years. Pretty funny and impressive, I suppose, but now everyone wants to do it, making it no less droll and depressing than poorly written vows and “All You Need Is Love” bastardized by a local organist. Almost vomited when the crew of The Office did it during Jim and Pam’s wedding — is that the best a major network TV show can do? Aping an internet meme for its biggest episode of the season?
5. Leave Britney Alone Guy: For a guy who wants someone left alone, he sure is making a big, obnoxious, goddamn fuss. Almost as stupid as Britney herself, this is all the attention he’ll get.
The Five Best Internet Memes
1. Rick Rolling: There are so many levels of awesome to this, but I’m up to the challenge. After all, I’m never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna turn around and desert you. A ridiculously cheesy 80’s pop song with an equally unintentionally hilarious music video, “Never Gonna Give You Up” was one of those hits that make you wonder what drugs people were doing in 1987 (cocaine. They were doing cocaine). Rick Astley is this small, British guy with an oddly deep voice, singing and kinda dancing in this true period piece. It fell off the charts and from social consciousness for about 20 years, when meme gods at 4chan revived the video as a prank, sending out the hyperlink to the video in place of a promised relevant and breaking news YouTube video.
It caught on like wildfire (ironically and much more explainable than the original reason in the 80s), and absolutely took off: Rickrollers spoiled a Scientology conference by blasting the song, political pundits rick rolled people nationwide by sending the video instead of falsely promised video of Michelle Obama making racial slurs (a video that did not exist), and one editor even mashed up President Obama speeches into him singing the song.
The next level came when Astley himself performed the song on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, effectively Rickrolling the entire world. The video is hilarious, the prank is hilarious, and Astley is in on it. A truly perfect meme.
2. David After Dentist: Without a doubt, one of the funniest things a parent can do is drug up their kid and then video tape it. Unfortunately, the buzzkills in suits have outlawed that, but the dentist provides a perfect loophole and excuse. When you’ve got a deep thinking kid asking philosophical questions like, “is this real life?” and worrying about the rapidly disappearing nature of his hands, well, you’ve struck gold.
3. Fail: If there’s one thing we can agree on, it’s that it’s fun and uplifting to make fun of people at their most vulnerable. Finding pictures of people getting hurt, messing up, or otherwise screwing up big time, pointing out the embarrassment and then labeling it with the word “fail”? Well, there are few greater pleasures.
4. Keyboard Cat: This started nearly three decades ago, when some unemployed schlub with a cat decided to film said kitten as he manipulated its paws to look like it was playing keyboard. This is the type of thing that marks someone as psychotic in the 70’s, but a goddamn genius today. Now, using Keyboard Cat to play off big fails makes the obnoxious sublime.
5. Chuck Norris: Chuck Norris needs no explanation. While he’s actually a psychotic conservative, the jokes are worthwhile. If only we could have assigned them to someone better, like Sinbad.