Search Google for many more memetastic upside down Stormtrooper helmet gags. (And yes, I realize that the cap of the helmet is still right-side up.) These happy Stormtroopers would make great bad guys in the "Star Wars But With Tiny Lightsabers" feature film.
(Thanks, Lux Sparks-Pescovitz!)
I don't know who made this, but it's pretty great. Read the rest
Twenty years ago The Onion wrote that the "terse but expressive decals" depicting "peeing Calvin" are a "vital part of our national dialogue, used by millions of Americans to exchange viewpoints and ideas about the important issues of the day." Funny and true. Well, it occurred to me recently that our impish friend Calvin should be urinating all over COVID-19, and I don't think I'm wrong!
The fun "Everybody Must Stay Home" music video is a greatest hits of COVID-19 memes for a song not-by-Bob Dylan.
"We will get through [this] if we keep our sanity as well as our sense of humor," write the creators. "The only thing more contagious than Covid-19, as it turns out, is creativity. " Read the rest
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
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.
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.
HOW I RE-DISCOVERED THE MODEL FOR 'THE DANCING BABY', RE-RENDERED THE ORIGINAL MEME IN HD, AND PORTED IT TO GMOD: A THREAD (1/11)(Mod: https://t.co/aE6Wse2tWN , YT: https://t.co/6fOjisXXMz) pic.twitter.com/J0ASNxncdB
— JArmstrongArt (@JArmstrongArty) February 7, 2020
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:
Read the rest
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.
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:
— The Fantalorian (@thomdunn) December 9, 2019
I'm not sure I watched enough Seinfeld to totally get this, but anyway here's Elaine grooving to a tune about conspiracy theories pic.twitter.com/kSFIZNxx4h
— The Fantalorian (@thomdunn) December 10, 2019
And of course, this:
Anyway here's Baby Yoda grooving to a song I wrote about Spider-Man (you're welcome) pic.twitter.com/luAgaAKSlE
— The Fantalorian (@thomdunn) December 9, 2019
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
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.
— Jessica Yu (@jessicayutweets) December 3, 2019
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.
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:
Read the rest
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.
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
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