Facebook: Bloomberg campaign memes won't be classified as political ads

We've written here at Boing Boing before about Mike Bloomberg's awful memes, which the 2020 presidential hopeful's campaign machine crapped out on Facebook and Instagram this week with awful accounts like FuckJerry.

Facebook said Friday it will allow 'influencers' like FuckJerry to produce sponsored content for political campaigns, as long as the posts are clearly identified as ads, but sponsored political content will not be placed in Facebook’s political Ad Library, unless they're "boosted" by the influencer as a paid post, the company announced on Friday. Read the rest

The Dancing Baby, re-rendered in high definition for your delight or horror

Lest we forget, the Dancing Baby of 1996 was one of the first viral videos online and became an iconic meme of the early Web. Now, creative programmer Jack Armstrong has brought the Dancing Baby (aka the Oogachaka Baby) back to life in high definition and ported it to Garry's Mod (GMod) sandbox game. Armstrong posted a fascinating Twitter thread detailing his quest for the original 3D model of the character and how he re-rendered it into an HD form fit for today's uncanny valley.

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Original 3D dancing baby model found and rendered in high resolution

The Dancing Baby was an early viral GIF, emerging from a place where new and old media first found a common audience, a place that is now filled with darkness and anxiety but then seemed to promise wonders and new horizons. The dissolving of things was both anticipated and embraced; just not the dissolving of all human bonds before the graceless and impassive crush of technology. Anyway, someone found the original 3D model and uploaded it to the internet! Yay! Dancing Baby 2020.

JArmstrongArty [via Metafilter] Read the rest

An oral history of Rickrolling

In 2006, Erik Helwig created the Rickroll. Maybe. Over at MEL Magazine, Brian VanHooker's "An Oral History of Rickrolling" takes us back to a time when the worst of the weaponized Internet memes were those created by advertising agencies, not corrupt politicians and warmongers. And if you're curious what I mean by that, watch the rather shocking video above. From MEL:

Erik Helwig, founder of Rickrolling (maybe)

: This was small-town, rural Michigan and there was this radio program called the Postgame Show that covered local sports. People would call in and say stuff like, “My son Christopher played on the team tonight, and he did a real great job!” Stuff like that, so my friends and I started pranking it and the calls started getting weirder and weirder. We’d call in and talk about our favorite Nicolas Cage movies and other weird stuff like that. Then one day I called them and just played “Never Gonna Give You Up” on the air. I didn’t say anything, I just played the song. The host had absolutely no reaction to it, he didn’t say, “I’m being Rickrolled” or anything like that because it was before all that.

I don’t know if I want to call myself the “founder” of Rickrolling. That’s difficult for me because it was something that I did on a whim and later realized that I did this six months before anyone else, which I thought was cool, but that’s about it. I only picked that song because I really like the song — it’s a great 1980s song that’s fun to laugh at in the best way.

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My music distribution service is now offering automated memes

I release music sometimes, under my own name, or with my rock band, the Roland High Life. And in order to get our songs onto all the major music services, I pay an annual fee to DistroKid. They're an affordable company, with an easy-to-use interface that handles all the licensing stuff and makes sure we're getting paid that one-one-bazillionth of a cent every time someone plays our songs on Spotify or YouTube or hell, even Tik-Tok, whatever that is.

And now, for some inexplicable reason, they've added a new feature: automated memes. Like this:

And this:

And of course, this:

On one hand: why? Who really needs this feature? Will the commodification of memes push us that much further towards the brink of some disastrous culture climax?

On the other hand: this is stupidly delightful and I'm having too much with it so I really don't care. Read the rest

What would Noam Chomsky think about the linguistic development of Baby Yoda?

It's frankly shocking that in more than 40 years since Yoda first debuted on the big screen, no one has asked the anarcho-linguist Noam Chomsky to explain the Jedi's syntactical idiosyncrasies. But now that Baby Yoda has stolen everyone's heart, someone has finally taken him to task.

Or, well, maybe.

Given the fact that this is the first tweet from the account, I sadly suspect that this isn't real. I even messaged the woman who wrote it for verification, but she didn't respond. A quick Google search reveals that there is a Jessica Yu in Australia who is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne. If it is the same Jessica Yu from Australia, and this turns out to just be a fun creative writing experiment—well then hey, good on her. She captured Chomsky's voice here impressively well, along with his well-documented disdain for humans projecting linguistic meaning onto Koko the gorilla. If nothing else, I'm pretty sure that "'No thoughts on memes' — Noam Chomsky" is poised to become a meme now on its own.

Image via Wikimedia Commons, altered.

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Revisiting Operation Mindfuck

Over at Medium, BB pal Douglas Rushkoff explores how today's propaganda -- born in the 17th century to propagate the Catholic faith and reborn in the 20th century as "public relations" -- is no longer about convincing people to believe in whatever story the source happens to be selling. Today, Doug writes, "the primary goal of government propaganda is to undermine our faith in everything. Not just our belief in particular stories in the news, but our trust in the people who are telling the stories, the platforms, and fact-based reality itself." Interestingly, he traces this kind of systematic reality disruption to the counterculture. From Medium:

Before Watergate anyway, it felt as if the press and the government were on the same side, telling the same story to us all. There was no way for the underfunded counterculture to compete with mainstream reality programming—except by undermining its premises. The flower children couldn’t overwhelm Richard Nixon’s National Guard troops, but they could put daisies in the barrels of their rifles.

Taken to the extreme, this sort of activist satire became Operation Mindfuck, first announced in 1975 by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea in their Illuminatus Trilogy!. The idea was to undermine people’s faith in government, authority, and the sanctity of consensus reality itself by pranking everything, all the time.

The idea of Operation Mindfuck was to break the trance that kept America at war, blindly consuming, and oblivious to its impact on the rest of the world. Destabilize the dominant cultural narrative through pranks and confusion.

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"OK Boomer" comes to the NZ Parliament and makes all the right people angry

NZ Green Party MP Chlöe Swarbrick was giving a speech in favour of stricter carbon emissions standards when the 50-year-old National Party Climate Critic Todd Muller heckled her; without missing a beat, she fired back "OK Boomer" and moved on to making a rather good and eloquent point about need for intense action on climate. Read the rest

Runaway airport cart becomes meme for Trump impeachment

Here's the state of U.S. politics, starring the runaway airport cart as the Trump administration.

Image: Twitter Read the rest

Teens are filling Tiktok with memes deploring #Life360, a parenting app that tracks teens

Life360 is an app that lets you track a mobile phone user in fine-grained, realtime detail, with options to set alert for things like "is this person exceeding the speed limit?" It's widely used by parents to track their teens, and this seems to be the summer where it comes into its own, with millions of families around the world relying on it to act as a kind of remote leash for their kids. Read the rest

Epic Twitter thread uses classic art to illustrate the everyday sexism that women endure

Writer Nicole Tersigni posted this amazing meme thread on Twitter where she juxtaposed well-known classic art images with the sort of common and clichéd sexism that modern women are all too familiar with.

"Calm down"

"There probably just weren't any qualified women for the job."

"Thanks, I'm gay now" by Norman Rockwell.

"Let me explain your lived experience to you."

See the entire thread here. Read the rest

Grumpy Cat dies

Tardar Sauce, a cat known to many as Grumpy Cat due to her distinctive facial expression and 2012 viral video success, died Tuesday due to complications of an infection. The BBC:

Her image quickly spread as a meme. According to owner Tabitha Bundesen, her facial expression was caused by feline dwarfism and an underbite. Grumpy Cat travelled the world making television appearances and in 2014 even starred in her own Christmas film.

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Visualization of the most popular memes in the last 15 years

The metric is dubious — traffic to Know Your Meme entries normalized by Google Trends — but what a journey it's been.

Jessi Slaughter (previously) — then a child reportedly victimized by notorious scene creep Dahvie Vanity, bullied by his fans and made famous by her late father's 2010 webcam rant ("you done goofed") — is conspiciously the first to break a million views at KYM. (Dahvie was inoculated from consequences as a result of media amusement at the situation; he got to freely enjoy the 2010s and is still at large.) Read the rest

Satanic Panic 2.0: The Momo Challenge hoax [TW: Self-harm/suicide]

According to reports from gullible parents' organizations, police departments, and media outlets, Kids on the Internet are spreading memes featuring an image of "Momo" (actually a sculpture called "Mother Bird" created by Keisuke Aisawa for the Japanese SFX studio Link Factory) that includes explicit self-harm and suicide instructions (the "challenge" in "Momo challenge" is allegedly to get kids to hurt or kill themselves). Read the rest

One More For the Road: The Laugh-Out-Loud Cats are back!

Back in 2007, Adam "Apelad" Koford created a marvellous, funny, weird alternate history for the then-viral phenomenon of LOLcats, running-gag memes of cats whose superimposed dialog had many odd grammatical quirks: the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats," a pair of comic-strip hobo cats straight out of the 1930s, who found obscure and clever ways to riff on our contemporary LOLcats. Read the rest

Distracted Lego boyfriend

Iain Heath writes, "I recreated the 'distracted boyfriend' meme using LEGO bricks." You certainly did, Iain, and very well, too! Read the rest

'Shut up and take my money,' the wallet

Mass consumer spending season is nearly upon us. The perfect time to load your hard-earned cash into this wallet by Etsy shop DangerRan.

No extra charge for the interior Dick Butt.

Shut up and take my money ($60 of it)!

(nopuedocreer) Read the rest

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