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.
In November of last year, Gawker reported that the notorious gross-out site “Goatse.cx,” 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.
Release the Memes
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Waterislife.com 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.
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.
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.
After the tragic loss of one of its core members, the team behind Diaspora–a Y-Combinator-backed open source “anti-social network”–went underground for a while, privately grieving while attempting to keep the well-funded and highly hyped company running. But the startup show must go on: AllThingsD reported today that the Diaspora team channeled their grief into a new site–launched today and called Makr–that allows you to easily remix and distribute photos.