Written by Steve Spalding
If there is one constant on the web it is that once every few months some wonderful, ridiculous or utterly strange phenomenon will enter the minds and hearts of the webosphere. These memes will spread like wildfire through internet forums, make their way into software as easter eggs and every once in a while even spread into mainstream media.
This is a compilation of some of the more famous of these memes. This list is in no way exhaustive, but it does provide a good cross-section of internet oddities.
This Is Sparta!
A parody of Leonidas’ famous line, “This Is Sparta!” From the movie 300. In it, he is justifying what could be considered an over-reaction by calling on the historically no nonsense Spartan culture. It has spread through the internet mostly as Leonidas’ head super-imposed on unrelated images often with slightly modified versions of the quote.
All Your Base Are Belong To Us
The granddaddy of Internet Memes, this one is based on a poor localization of the Japanese game Zero Wing. For those who are interested, here is the real text translated from Japanese.
War had begun.
Captain: What on earth are you saying happened!?
Engineer: It seems that someone has set explosives.
Communication operator: Captain! We’ve received a signal!
Communication operator: Main screen, incoming visual.
CATS: You gentlemen seem preoccupied.
CATS: Thanks to the co-operation of the Federation Government forces, all of your bases belong to us.
CATS: It seems your ship will eventually meet its end as well.
Captain: It-It can’t be?!
CATS: I thank you for your cooperation.
CATS: Cherish these few remaining moments of your lives.
CATS: Ha ha ha ha?
Communication operator: Captain?.
Captain: All ZIG units, take off!!
Captain: There’s nothing but to put our trust in them?
Captain: Our future, in hope?
Captain: (We’re) Depending on you. ZIG!!
Real Ultimate Power
Based on a opus by a fictional 13 year old, this site chronicles a child’s obsession with Ninjas and can be summed up like this.
- Ninjas are mammals.
- Ninjas fight ALL the time.
- The purpose of the ninja is to flip out and kill people.
The Bus Uncle
“The Bus Uncle” is a Cantonese video clip of a quarrel between two men aboard a bus in Hong Kong on April 27, 2006. While the older man (Chan), who came to be nicknamed the Bus Uncle, scolded the man seated behind him (Ho), a nearby passenger used his camera phone to record the entire incident to provide evidence for the police in the event of a fight.
It gained international attention for raising questions about civic awareness and cultural mores.
Things you may not have known about Chuck Norris.
- Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.
- Chuck Norris has two speeds. Walk, and Kill.
- When Chuck Norris does a pushup, he isn’t lifting himself up, he’s pushing the Earth down.
This is an absolutely incredible summary of mostly 1980s pop culture put together by Neil “Lemon Demon” Cicierega. The video was a breakout success on the flash animation site Newgrounds, and has been referenced in a number of parodies.
Self styled “Arabian Rap Sensations,” this band is actually composed of four people from Marietta, Georgia and is best known for its mangled English and its satirical anti-American lyrics. One of their most famous videos is Mario Twins. While they did not actually participate in making the animations, they did inspire these popular videos and provided the soundtrack.
Boom Goes The Dynamite
Brian Collins, a college sports anchor, fumbles his way through a highlight reel. Most of the video is incoherent except, of course, for the now famous catch-phrase. Internet celebrity followed close at its heels.
Impossible Is Nothing
The self-aggrandizing video resume of a Yale Student, Aleksey Vayner, to the wealth management company UBS. It almost seems designed for the internet, complete with a ballroom dancing scene and a rambling staged interview. The video spread across the web and led to threats of legal action against UBS, YouTube and a number of other entities by Vayner.
Fact: The dramatic “Chipmunk” is actually a prairie dog.
Welcome back 1997, we missed you. By the way, this is the first and last time you will ever see an animated gif on this site. For those who are interested, the Dancing Baby was created in 3D Studio Max and has appeared in mainstream media on shows like Ally McBeal.
“Loituma Girl (also known as Leekspin) is a Flash animation set to a gibberish section of the traditional Finnish folk song ‘Ievan Polkka’ (sometimes misspelled Levan Polka) sung by the Finnish quartet Loituma, taken from their 1995 debut album Things of Beauty. It appeared on the Internet in late April 2006 and quickly became popular, drawing over a million viewers.”
Typically framed by an Owl Image, this meme was spawned on the Something Awful forum and is commonly used to deride someone for a comment that is blatantly obvious. This picture has been refactored numerous times and has been featured offline on television and in video games.
Bert Is Evil
“We have reason to believe that Bert of Sesame Street is evil and you should keep your children away from him. Here in these pages are collected incriminating images and documents that prove that Bert is not the lovable harmless geek he so successfully makes us think he is.”
Web 2.0 Roundup
What do you need to become an internet phenom? Well, if these memes are any indication it looks like Flash talent, a video camera, or the willingness to do something absolutely ridiculous on video tape will get you far.
Here is a bonus, from right in my backyard.
Go check out The Internet is an in-joke – plenty of memes – including Techno Viking, LOLcats and ‘The Cake is a LIE!’