“Why we’re never gonna give up on the Rickroll”: Milner + Phillips Article on The Conversation

July 29, 2014 § Leave a comment


Do a barrel roll

Today my collaborator (we’re working on the title) Ryan Milner and I published an article for The Conversation on the history & significance of the Rickroll phenomenon, specifically the recent 5-second YouTube takedown that never was. Quoth:

Rick Astley, 80s pop singer and unlikely king of internet memes, is dead. Or at least the most persistent song in his catalogue is. Or at least its most popular unofficial YouTube upload is. Or at least it was, for a few hours, most recently in July 2014 but before that in 2012 and again in 2010. And in the exaggerated rumours of its death are lessons on intellectual property, internet culture, and what resonates in the ephemeral swirl of the socially-mediated web.

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“So Bad It’s Funny: Ambiguous Fan Engagement as an Expression of Cultural Literacy” — Presentation for 2014’s International Communications Association Meeting in Seattle, WA

May 23, 2014 § 2 Comments

Actual first slide

Actual first slide

 From the panel “How Memes Matter: Probing New Modes of Popular Participation and Exclusion,” May 24, 2014.

Today I’m going to be talking about online content that is so bad, or so weird, or so broken, or so dated, that it’s great.

Although English lacks a quick and easy way of describing such content, the Japanese and Chinese-speaking webs have it covered: kuso (“e gao” in Mandarin), literally translated from Japanese as “shitty.”

In Japan, “kuso” is a basic and highly versatile adjective—not unlike shitty in English. In the context of bad video games (Kuso-ge) and other amusingly sub-par content, however, the term takes on more nuanced meaning, something to the effect of “this is so bad and stupid and terribly designed, I LOVE IT!!!”

That’s the basic overview of what this talk will cover. Here are two things I will not be addressing:

Another actual slide -- notice a theme?

Another actual slide — notice a theme?

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We Have A Winner

October 4, 2012 § 2 Comments

Update from yesterday’s post:

Oh my gosh everybody, were you watching the debates when [BIG BIRD-GATE] happened? No, I wasn’t either, but I was on [TWITTER]. My feed totally blew up when [ROMNEY] [THREATENED] that [MUPPET]. Everything I saw was either a .gif of [OBAMA] [WIELDING A LIGHTSABER], or something from meme generator with [ROMNEY] all like “[I LIKE IT].” The whole thing was so [BORING]! 

It’s morning in America everybody! Better fire up your photoshops.


October 3, 2012 § 4 Comments

Here’s my take on what I’m sure will be a memorable evening of political wankery, and memes! Memes as far as the eye can see. Memes until I start crying blood. Wait, the debates don’t start for another few hours? OH WELL THE SHOW MUST GO ON. From my Modern Primate article:

Oh my gosh everybody, were you watching the debates when [EVENT] happened? No, I wasn’t either, but I was on [SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE]. My feed totally blew up when [CANDIDATE] [VERBED] that [NOUN]. Everything I saw was either a .gif of [CANDITATE] [VERBING], or something from meme generator with [CANDIDATE] all like “[CAPTION].” The whole thing was so [ADJECTIVE]! Even my [OLD PERSON] posted something about it. I was like, [OLD PERSON], how did you hear about [EVENT]?? It only happened 5 minutes ago! And [OLD PERSON] was like, “I follow [CORPORATE MEDIA OUTLET] on [SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE]. Can you believe that [CANDIDATE] really [VERBED]?” I was like “[INITIALISM]“!

More here!

…As Evidenced Through Google Insights

September 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

Chris –of “my boyfriend” fame– has just sifted through some analytics that illustrate, with numbers, the thing some of us have long suspected: namely that the ROFL space (variously known as memeshit, internet culture, and/or web culture), which once shared a great deal of subcultural overlap with Anonymous (here I mean little-a anon), has plateaued. I am both shaking my head in sadness and tenting my fingers, who knows what that even means!

The full article is well worth a read, but here’s a quote that follows the first of a series of Google Insight charts (which measure fluctuations in search volume over time):

Well, if there’s one thing that can be ascertained from this chart, it’s that as of February, “memes” have reached a ceiling. At the very least the phase of exponential growth that lasted from 2008 until about last January is over. And if there’s a second thing to be learned, it’s that Anonymous (or at least what we knew as the lulz-driven Anonymous) is effectively dead.

This is a controversial and potentially even counterintuitive thing to say, given the mass popularity of memes. But he’s not saying memes are GONE, rather that this particular iteration of this particular memescape is no longer on the upswing. Still —  I await the internet’s response…


August 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

Bubble Girl was one of my favorite memmays, as I believe they are called, back in the days when trolling really meant something. Consequently this Atlantic Wire article, which debunks the legitimacy of the above (delightful!) iteration, made me smile. That’s all, I’m just waxing memetic.

Should Have Called the Amber Lamps

November 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

I love internet, because there’s just no reason for this kind of thing. Other than somebody was like, you know what sounds like fun??? And then they did a thing combining all the shit they liked, because they could.

(via a very nice young man)

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