A History of Things That Have ‘Won the Internet’

(Photo: Know Your Meme)

The Internet, that beloved series of tubes, is not a thing you can “win.” Despite humanity’s competitive nature, there are no winners and losers, unless you’re playing Words With Friends or something. And yet, throughout the short course of our collective online history, everything from pets to vampiric actors have been announced as “winners” of the Internet.

The popular phrase compares the Internet to a video game and is used to congratulate a person who does something funny/worthwhile on the web. According to the Internet’s foremost meme academic text, Know Your Meme, the term originated in 2004 on SomethingAwful’s FYAD forum, though it may also have come from a 2002 IRC chatroom. The phrase spread from there, cropping up on 4chan before landing its own Urban Dictionary entry in 2006.

Now it’s regularly employed in blog posts and news stories for stuff as innocuous as cute baby videos. Below, a short list of things that have won the Internet, because recognizing we have a “wins the Internet” problem is the first step to recovery. Read More

Meme me

Goatse Email Coming to an Inbox Near You

(Photo: Indiegogo)

In November of last year, Gawker reported that the notorious gross-out site “,” which showed an old man splaying open his anus for all to see, was being transitioned from a nostalgia-laden ’90s meme to an actual email service. The site’s new owner, an Australian IT consultant who goes by the moniker Jonathan, planned to offer Goatse vanity email addresses for $5 a pop. Read More

Meme Studies

‘Ecce Homo’ Restoration Lady Is Now Selling Art on eBay

(Photo: Ebay)

The amazingly botched restoration of the famous “Ecce Homo” painting, done by a Spanish amateur painter who turned a 19th century portrait of Jesus into that of a ghost monkey, took the Internet by storm this year, quickly becoming what is arguably the best meme of 2012.

Now, Cecelia Giminez, the painting’s infamous restorer, has waded back into the art world with some original work. The Daily Dot reports that she’s selling at least one piece, called “The Bodegas de Borja,” on eBay. Add that to your holiday gift guides. Read More

Release the Memes

Please God Don’t Let ‘Milking’ Become a Thing

Taylor would never (Photo:

Oh god. Fresh out of the U.K. and the dairy aisle comes “Milking,” a new internet craze. To be a “milker,” one must stand in a public place and dump an entire jug of milk over one’s head. It’s an extraordinary waste of food and time, but kind of amazing to watch in the worst kind of way.

But what is it with wasting dairy products for the sake of some public reactions? Is “coning,” the act of sticking an ice cream cone onto your head while going through a drive-through to blame? This is the worst Internet trend since planking. Read More


Meme Industrial Complex Kicks Into High Gear for Hurricane Sandy

11 Photos

Not sure this Sandy was ever squeaky clean, but we'll allow it.

With the East Coast largely barricaded inside their homes burning through hastily assembled stockpiles of cookies and liquor, there’s one thing left to do: make memes. (For as long as the power stays on, anyway.) The storm already has a dedicated page on Know Your Meme, and it seems parody accounts are cropping up by the second.

Click through for a roundup of hurriedly created hurricane-related memes, from the dedicated jokes to the special editions of old Internet standbys.

Meme City

Honey Boo Boo Wins Big at Last Night’s Hallowmeme Party

The night's winner (Photo: Instagram)

Attending Hallowmeme is like starring in a Disney Channel original movie in which you’re the main character who fell into your computer screen: It’s every Internet k-hole you’ve ever experenced come to life. Which sounds scary, but it’s actually pretty fun.

The party was at Brooklyn’s Bell House, put on by Forced Meme Productions (with an assist from Tumblr and Giant Media). This was the event’s fourth year, and co-creator Lindsey Weber told the crowd it was the biggest yet and the Hallomeme of her wildest dreams. Read More


Clean Water Charity Uses ‘First World Problems’ Meme to Guilt You Into Donating

(Photo: YouTube)

If those save the children infomercials are any indication, drawing on a guilty conscience is one way to compel American audiences to step off their cushy couch and cough up a donation. and its ad agency DDB NY both appear toave a pretty solid grasp of this phenomenon.

In a video released last week, the clean water charity urges people to donate to poverty-stricken Haitians by capitalizing on one of the Internet’s most widespread memes: First World Problems. Read More

Meme Studies

Meet Shawn Cotter, the Man Behind the Rickroll

(Photo: YouTube)

On May 15, 2007, a then-19-year-old YouTube user named Shawn Cotter–employing the handle “cotter548”–uploaded the music video for Rick Astley’s 1987 hit song “Never Gonna Give You Up,” intending to troll some of his fellow gaming cohorts on 4chan. Mr. Cotter, who was serving in the Air Force in South Korea at the time, linked to the video under the pretense that it was a new trailer for Grand Theft Auto: IV. But as that now-familiar drum cadence faded in and the caption “You just got Rickroll’d” floated across the screen, users discovered they weren’t watching a video game trailer at all.

The digital bait-and-switch of Rickrolling was born, and 4chan was not amused.

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Meme Studies

Meme Me: How Funny or Die Convinces Celebs to Make Fun of Themselves

(Photo: Reddit)

Though he is known as the hunky boy next door that made certain girls weak in the knees in the early aughts, James van der Beek, the titular star of the popular teen drama Dawson’s Creek, is an embarrassingly ugly crier.

In season three, episode 23 of the earnest, soap opera-like show, Dawson is so gobsmacked by being broken up with that he begins to cry. An animated GIF of that tender moment was soon splashed across websites from Reddit to Funny or Die. The meme is so prevalent that when you Google “James van der Beek,” the search engine even offers a correction: “James van der Beek crying,” it humbly suggests you search instead.

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