Too Long; Couldn’t Tweet: All your memes are belong to us (with GIFS!)
Twitter is wonderful. In fact, you should follow Random Nerds on there. However, we find the 140 character limit a bit, well, limiting sometimes when it comes to our ‘Cool thought, but there isn’t a whole article here’ ideas.
Too Long; Couldn’t Tweet is where we share those 141+ character thoughts stuck in limbo between tweet and post.
In a bit of holiday-related irony, I spent my Labor Day Weekend laboriously hacking away at an inbox overstuffed with outdated news briefings, endless music PR pitches, and the poetic rantings of a particular white nationalist/pro-Trump online forum that didn’t take too kindly to my recent musings on our current election season.
But around 2pm, as an oppressive summer heat settled over my doxxed rabbithole, Medium (and their on-the-nose recommendation algorithm) appeared like a mirage in my inbox with a much-needed injection of worthwhile internet whimsy: The Washington Post’s “All your memes are belong to us – The top 25 memes of the web’s first 25 years.”
Three brave digital archaeologists – Gene Park, Adriana Usero and Chris Rukan – had excavated from the 2,600+ listed memes on Know Your Meme the “25 definitive memes” from the World Wide Web’s first quarter century, brushing the dust off such digital fossils as ‘Dancing Baby’# and ‘Peanut Butter Jelly Time’#. It was a true Patronizing-worthy challenge, and they took it on unflinchingly.
There was just one tiny problem…
They forgot to include the memes:
Now, thanks to said trio I was reminded evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins actually coined the term “meme” in his 1976 book The Selfish Game, but for these three individuals to tease us with well-written and informative descriptions of the 25 best memes in the history if the internet and then NOT actually give us the nostalgia-driven dopamine release that comes with getting to see those memes? That’s a new level of selfishness.
WashingtonPost.com’s version of the article at least included a quick-hits video of these modern marvels, but on Medium there was barely a GIF to be found – just one of Nyan Cat# and, in what I can only hope is coincidence, Rick Astley telling me to deal with it#.
How is that Jeff Bezos, with all his money and innovation and clickbait-leanings, hasn’t learned the positive lessons the clickbait era of journalism taught us? Buzzfeed – currently one of the largest digital empires and a well-respected journalism outlet – obviously weren’t idiots when they designed their UX experience, yet more traditional outlets like the Post are still too stubborn to recognize how much people like watching images move like they do in them Harry Potter films#.
Regardless, because Random Nerds is selfless to a fault, we’ve decided to help them out…
All Your Memes are Belong to Us – with GIFS!
*Any money Patronized to this post will be sent directly to the original authors
Dancing Baby (1996)
Considered the granddaddy of Internet memes, the baby shuffling to Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling”# filled inboxes and prime-time airwaves, appearing in several episodes of Ally McBeal. The file was originally included with early 3D software. LucasFilm developers modified it before it was widely shared, and it was finally compressed into one of the first GIFs.
Hampster Dance (1998)
Proving that GIFs were meant for stardom, a Canadian art student made a webpage with 392 hamster GIFs as a tribute to her pet rodent. The infectious soundtrack was a sped-up, looped version of “Whistle Stop” by Roger Miller.
Peanut Butter Jelly Time (2001)
A Flash animation featuring an 8-bit dancing banana, “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” became an Internet phenomenon in the early 2000s. The catchy song was written and performed by the Buckwheat Boyz, a rap group.
All Your Base Are Belong to Us (2001)
A meme that would echo across the gaming community for years to come, “All your base are belong to us” originated in a cut scene in the Japanese video game “Zero Wing.” The poorly translated quote has persisted as an Internet catchphrase.
Star Wars Kid (2002)
Arguably the first victim of large-scale cyberbullying, Ghyslain Raza unwillingly became a meme based on a video of him swinging a golf ball retriever as a weapon, reminiscent of Darth Maul in “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.” It was an early sign that Internet privacy was not guaranteed for anyone.
Before they became spokesthings for Quiznos, two singing Spongmonkeys catapulted to viral stardom after being featured in a newsletter for b3ta, an early link- and image-sharing site. Their opening line: “We like the moon.”
Numa Numa (2004)
The eyebrow lift. The arm pumping when the beat drops. The song (by Moldovan boy band O-Zone). Gary Brolsma, sitting at his desk, showed us all what it means to “dance like no one’s watching.”
O RLY (2005)
Originating on the community site 4chan, the wide-eyed owl was used to show sarcasm, becoming a precursor to other reaction memes.
Chuck Norris Fact (2005)
Chuck Norris was the Internet’s first “most interesting man in the world,” crowned the avatar for mythical men with impossible strength, attitude and swagger. “There is no theory of evolution,” as one “fact” says. “Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris allows to live.”
I Can Haz Cheezburger? (2007)
Animal-based memes are a dime a dozen, but the “I Can Has Cheezburger” blog, whose mascot is a surprised, hungry British shorthair cat, brought them into the mainstream. The blog was created by Eric Nakagawa and Kari Unebasami.
Before there was clickbait, there was the Rickroll. Popularized on 4chan, the gag — springing a Rick Astley video on an unsuspecting victim — has appeared during a session of the Oregon legislature and even on the White House’s Twitter feed.
Success Kid (2007)
Based on a photo that Sammy Griner’s mother, Laney, posted to Flickr when he was 11 months old, the meme describes something that goes better than expected. In 2015, Sammy’s fame helped his family raise more than $100,000 to offset the costs of a kidney transplant for his father, Justin.
Dramatic Chipmunk (2007)
A simple, five-second video clip# of a chipmunk — ahem, actually a prairie dog — suddenly turning its head, from the Japanese TV show “Hello Morning.” The maneuver is set to an exaggerated bit of music from 1974’s “Young Frankenstein.”
This portmanteau meme was an early example of an “advice animal,” depicting the vicious dinosaur deep in introspection, and pondering wordplay and life’s general paradoxes.
Deal With It (2010)
In this GIF, sunglasses slide onto a smug canine’s face. It was around as an emoticon on the SomethingAwful forums for a while, then became a meme when the site Dump.fm held a contest encouraging users to create their own versions, with sunglasses sliding onto various faces and objects.
Hide Your Kids, Hide Your Wife (2010)
“So y’all need to hide your kids, hide your wife and hide your husband ’cause they’re raping everybody out here,” Antoine Dodson emphatically told a TV reporter# after an intruder attempted to assault his sister. The clip spread quickly on YouTube, leading to Auto-Tuned versions# and remixes.
Nyan Cat (2011)
The combination of an animated 8-bit cat (originally dubbed “Pop-Tart Cat”) with the insanely catchy tune “Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya!”# blew up on YouTube, becoming the site’s fifth-most-viewed video of 2011 and inspiring fan illustrations, designs and games.
Originally uploaded as “Gersberms . . . mah fravrit berks” and later “BERKS!,” the text superimposed on this meme mimics the garbled speech of a person with a retainer.
Bad Luck Brian (2012)
Takes goofy yearbook photo. Gets face plastered all over the Internet. His real name is Kyle Craven, and he’s Internet famous thanks to his friend Ian Davies, who uploaded the photo to Reddit with the text “Takes driving test . . . gets first DUI.”
Grumpy Cat (2012)
The original photo of Tardar Sauce (that’s her name) racked up 1 million views on Imgur in its first two days. The meme has since spawned books, a comic book, an endorsement deal with Friskies cat food and a made-for-TV Christmas movie, Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, with Aubrey Plaza voicing Grumpy Cat.
Ridiculously Photogenic Guy (2012)
Uploaded to Reddit on April 3, the photo of the handsome runner quickly garnered 40,000 upvotes. Derivatives include Ridiculously Photogenic Metalhead, Ridiculously Photogenic Syrian Rebel, Ridiculously Photogenic Prisoner and Ridiculously Photogenic Running Back.
In February 2010, a kindergarten teacher in Japan uploaded pictures of Kabosu, her adopted shiba inu, to her personal blog, and a meme was born. It usually features broken English phrases in the comic sans font, representing an inner monologue.
Crying Michael Jordan (2014)
The basketball great got a little emotional during his 2009 Hall of Fame induction speech. Around 2014, meme-makers started using an Associated Press photo, superimposing Jordan’s face over failures of all sorts.
The Ice Bucket Challenge (2014)
hile the origins of this one are unclear — people have been doing cold-water challenges for years — the results weren’t. The ALS Association raised more than $100 million in a month, compared with $2.8 million over the same period the previous year.
Left Shark (2015)
During the Super Bowl XLIX halftime show, Katy Perry performed with two dancing sharks. One shark stuck to the routine. The other, well, did his own thing — and became an Internet sensation.
You’re welcome, Washington Post…
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