Kanye West will let you finish
Last September, Kanye “CAPS LOCK” West brought the nuttiness previously reserved for his Web site on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards.
Crashing Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video 2009, the hip-hop auteur took the microphone from Swift’s hands and issued the words that made him the most hated man of all time. Ever:
“Yo Taylor. I’m really happy for you and Ima let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time!”
Then it just got funny. The “Kanye West will let you finish” meme infected the Internet horde, which used its digital editing skills to make West interrupt everyone from President Obama to Keyboard Cat. Even YouTube Hitler ranted about his disgust with West. “I just bought Air-Yeezys for 800 dollars!” Hitler screams. “And I can’t return them!” Every meme before and after was not safe from “Kanye West” … not even Balloon Boy.
Here’s a look at 8 other memes that made our Internet year worth living.
Banff Crasher Squirrel
We may never know the fate of the Columbian Ground Squirrel who stole the focus on what would otherwise be a lovely, albeit cliché vacation photo snapped via timer at Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada.
His image, however, lives on as both a delightful Internet meme as well as possibly one of the most successful organic marketing campaigns ever.
Melissa and Jackson Brandts entered the fortuitous lucky photo in National Geographic contest, soon the Canadian rodent was crashing Edvard Munch’s “Scream,” President Bill Clinton’s photo op with Kim Jong Ill, even a baby sonogram image. Crasher Squirrel’s compact bell jar shape made him a natural for the cut-and-paste crowd.
Banff National Park wisely seized on its most famous resident, making Crasher Squirrel the park’s ambassador, complete with its own “crasher” video, and accounts on Facebook and Twitter.
“David After Dentist”
The original YouTube video made more than few year-end Internet lists.
“Is this real life?” and “Is this going to be forever?” and “AAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!” are just a few of the high-as-a-kite ramblings of 8-year-old David DeVore, strapped in a car seat following oral surgery, that made this video go viral.
The real hilarity, however, came from the many YouTube satires “David” inspired. There were infinite dubs and remixes, including a scratch take and an “eclectic method” remix. There were a couple of “adult” versions, including “David After Drugs,” “David After The Divorce” and a weird British puppet video.
Best of all, fellow YouTube star Chad Vader posted a line-for-line remake. (Way to get your money’s worth out of a Darth Vader costume!)
Auto-Tuning … everything!
In April 2009, the Gregory Brothers posted the first in their widely popular YouTube series, “Auto-Tune the News”; video quotes from news anchors, political figures and pundits juxtaposed with split screen comments from the performers to produce gorgeously-hilarious topical love songs.
That’s about when the whole Auto-Tune thing hit critical mass.
Differently-themed Auto-Tune collages abound on the Internet. Most impressive is the work of pro DJ Steve Porter, whose Rap Chop (Auto-Tune) Remix is perhaps the finest mashup in all YouTube history. What’s more, it actually makes that Vince Shlomi (the Sham Wow guy) momentarily palatable.
Indeed, Auto-Tune has come a long way since Exxon engineer Andy Hildebrand built it to interpret seismic data, and Cher unleashed it on the world via “Believe.” Less than a decade later, Lil Wayne uses it on everything (there’s even an app for that), “real musicians” hate it, and Jay-Z wrote a song about how he’ll never use it … which someone remixed with Auto-Tune.
Mmmm … bacon!
In a May 30 post titled “Ok Internet, Let’s Let the Bacon Meme Go,” Feminist blog Jezebel pointed to the Keds bacon shoe as “what just might be the final stop on the ‘OMG BACON.’ Express.”
Alas, less than a month later fellow Gawker Media tech blog Gizmodo, in a post about a Space Invaders-themed “Bacon Bits” T-shirt, stated the reality. “We’ve all underestimated the power of the recent bacon movement.”
As far as non-bacon themed blogs go, Gizmodo is one of the more constant chroniclers on the bacon meme, with posts on “Bacon Lamp” found on Flickr and the bacon iPhone case from Germany.
Gizmodo also pointed the world to a lesser known bacon-mapping site, thisisfreakingriduclous.com, home of the formidable BA-K-47 (pictured here) which “doesn’t fire bullets, but it does slay PETA activists.”
But remember, in the massively remixed words of that one kid from that one reality show: “Bacon is good for me!”
Three Wolf Moon T-shirt
The fact that a bored Web surfer never owned the Three Wolves Moon T-shirt he stumbled upon on Amazon didn’t stop him from reviewing the product.
“Pros: Fits my girthy frame, has wolves on it, attracts women
Cons: Only 3 wolves (could probably use a few more on the ‘guns’), cannot see wolves when sitting with arms crossed, wolves would have been better if they glowed in the dark.”
As with the ironic college-thesis style reviews for “The Family Circus” collections running rampant on Amazon many years before, other surfers read the review, got the joke, and piled on by the hundreds. Rather than hurting sales, however, the “Three Wolves Moon T-Shirt” was the top selling apparel item on Amazon.
“Pete Hoekstra is a Meme”
“Iranian twitter activity similar to what we did in House last year when Republicans were shut down in the House,” tweeted GOP Congressman Pete Hoekstra over the summer, and a meme was born.
“To Hoekstra” (as chronicled on the “Pete Hoekstra is a Meme” Web site), became instantly defined as “to whine using grandiose exaggerations and comparisons.”
Satirical tweets abounded, such as, “I got into a fight with my brother this morning. Now I know what the Civil War must have been like,” or “Someone stole a bag of potting soil from my carport today. This must be how Native Americans felt when they lost their lands,” or “Stuck inside working from home today. Now I know how Anne Frank felt.”
On Oct. 15, the nation (or rather, those without a healthy grasp on the laws of physics) sat glued to the TV, eyes locked on a runaway helium balloon said to be carrying six-year-old Falcon Heene 7,000 feet above Colorado.
Meanwhile, the memes were already in motion – even before the balloon touched down and the kid was found “hiding” in the attic.
Meticulously recorded by Know Your Meme: The Rocketboom Institute for Internet Studies, these included two fictional Falcon Twitter feeds providing live accounts from a fictional Falcon’s point of view: @boyintheballoon and @ballon boy, and merchandise such as the “Go Falcon Go” and “Save Balloon Boy” T-shirts.
Three pizzas were delivered to the Heene residence during the press conference, the “Papa John’s” delivery vehicle seen prominently in the background courtesy of infamous Internet pranksters “Anonymous.” The receipt was posted on the Father of All Internet Memes, the 4chan Web site.
YouTube Hitler was mad about getting hoaxed, of course. Even “Kanye West” had something to say.