Meme Studies

Meme Studies

Beloved Meme ‘Ikea Monkey’ Embroiled in Nasty Custody Battle

(Photo: Instagram)

Darwin the Japanese macaque, better known as “Ikea Monkey,” is caught in the middle of a vicious custody battle, according to The Telegraph. Darwin rose to fame when a Twitter user tweeted a picture of him wearing a fancy shearling coat and a diaper in a Toronto Ikea parking lot. He even reached Peak Meme status when he was parodied by every lady’s favorite porn star, James Deen. 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

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.

Read More

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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Meme Studies

A Meme is a Mirror, and When You Look Into It You See Yourself


“Are LOLCats Making Us Smarter?” asks a link-baity Atlantic headline that actually has nothing to do with the article it accompanies. The short answer: No, but that didn’t stop the Atlantic from writing a think piece about memes anyway.

As a graduate of NYU’s Gallatin school, where students design their own bizarre, mostly pretentious majors, this reporter is not really surprised that people are now writing dissertations about the cultural impact of LOLCats. After all, hasn’t social media researcher Danah Boyd essentially built an entire career around intellectualizing Internet topics otherwise deemed too 4chan-ish? Read More

Meme Studies

Pony Up Haters: How 4chan Gave Birth to the Bronies


On a recent sweltering Saturday afternoon, a group of young men gathered in a dance studio in midtown overlooking Eighth Avenue. The room, oddly but appropriately, smelled faintly of hay.

A grand piano had been pushed to the wall to accommodate a series of folding tables, and a fan was rotating lazily, attempting to combat the 98-degree heat. At the door, a volunteer handed out raffle tickets and solicited pizza preferences for lunch. The guests—mostly in their 20s and overwhelmingly in favor of facial hair and cargo shorts—milled around, but no one strayed far from a table at the front of the room, which was covered end-to-end with My Little Pony merchandise.

Lording over the spread of glittering pastel wares was a stocky man with graying hair and glasses who wore a T-shirt emblazoned with a pink pony and the words “HATERS GONNA HATE.” Hello, his name tag read, My name is Cupcakes.

Welcome to the world of the Bronies. Read More