I moved to New York City, and I needed to make money. I wasn’t having luck getting a job. It's a common tale.
My solution was to grab my typewriter that I bought at a yard sale for 10 dollars and bring it to a park. I’d write stories for people, on the spot—I wouldn’t set a price. People could pay me whatever they wanted. I knew that I had the gift of writing creatively, very quickly, and my anachronistic typewriter (and explanatory sign) would be enough to catch the eye of passersby. Someone might want something specific; they might just want a story straight from my imagination. I [...]
The pre-2000 World Wide Web was like the Wild, Wild West. There were no blog or social media templates providing touch-screen-ease for kids with smart phones and 4,999 friends. As the early American settlers built their cabins with logs and mud, so early website builders crafted their websites out of raw HTML. Flash, frames and Java were the blood, sweat and tears of these pioneers, who established outposts like the first-ever website and the first true internet meme before bravely going on to fight the first troll wars. Who were these early heroes of the internet? Who ventured into the "Internet Help" section of bookstores [...]
If you told me yesterday that it was still possible for someone to do an amusing Downfall meme I would have been all, "Right, I've got a comical Xzibit macro to sell you." And yet, somehow, this works! Also, I guess the Internet is over now. Good job, everyone. [Via]
Last week I reported on the secretive heroes of Wikipedia and their detailed academic descriptions of 90s hip hop classics. Over the weekend, the author of the two best entries-Warren G and Nate Dogg's "Regulate" and DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's "Parents Just Don't Understand"-made contact. Earnest Pettie-or Earnestp if you prefer his now-defunct Wikipedia handle-is an editor at Break.com. And now we ask him some questions!
Since we last checked in, Bros Icing Bros has become even more of a THING. This bro himself was Iced five times in a 36-hour span over the weekend. A Bro friend at Stanford Business School sends word of what was potentially the first-ever group Icing on Monday–at the hands of a restaurant waiter, who brought an ice-cold sixer out with the entrees. One of the victims was the CE-Bro of a pro sports team. Another Bro acquaintance had to schlep to three different Lower East Side bodegas on Sunday to find one that even had Smirnoff Ice in stock. I will make an educated guess and say [...]
In 1793, France's revolutionary government decreed that the Louvre Palace, a much-remodeled Parisian fortress, should serve as a museum to house and exhibit the nation's 537 greatest available works of art-mainly stuff ripped from the clutches of kings and clergy on their way out of power and up the blood-slicked steps to headlessness. Circa that same year, also in Paris, an aging portrait painter named Joseph Ducreux completed the 18th-century equivalent of a charmingly douchey Facebook profile picture, Portrait de l'artiste sous les traits d'un moqueur. The piece would later become part of the Musée du Louvre's vaunted collection… and so much more.
Oh, you remember our friend C. D. Hermelin, who spends the warmer days out-of-doors typing stories on his typewriter, surely? Here is a film about his project.
Americans watch presidential debates to serve many different goals. Older people need shameless pandering, because they are lonely. Corporate ladder-climbers need "water cooler talk." And the nation's much-maligned "undecided voters" want to put a face to a name, so they can vote for the white person.
For a certain small but social-media-savvy demographic of needy political fanatics, debates are an opportunity to quickly identify memes and catch phrases and then recycle these memorable bits into short-lived Internet destinations. Time is of the essence, because this stuff is utterly forgotten within 48 hours—by the time Saturday Night Live gets to it on the weekend, it's all over.
If you didn't [...]
If you've been away for the last couple of months and this is your first time back on the Internet, here's what you missed.
This week's meme is I Write Like, a new website that uses an algorithm of mysterious methodology to tell you which author's work your writing most resembles. You enter some text-"your latest blog post, journal entry, comment, chapter of your unfinished book"-and a split-second later, it spits out the html code for a blog-ready badge: "I Write Like H.P. Lovecraft," or any of the 49 other authors in its database. It's hard science and great literature, together at last! Well, kind of.
From time to time, we offer free editorial space to common folk with something to say. This is one such time, in which a fratty bro of our acquaintance explains what exactly is going on with bros. Spoiler: It's not good!
You may have heard about this new thing the kids–white males in their 20s, mostly–are doing? DRINKING SMIRNOFF ICE, AGAINST THEIR WILL, AT RIDICULOUSLY INOPPORTUNE TIMES. Seriously.
Science has yet to determine the long-term effects memeification can have on a person. Rick Astley's tenure as automated punchline has spanned three years, max, and the man's been more than a good sport about it. Yet who knows what manner of existential abyss has begun to open inside him? Conan O'Brien, as far as we can tell, has been reduced to the color orange. Neil Armstrong refuses to talk about the moon landing and wanted to sue a barber for selling his hair. And 88-year-old Betty White, by popular demand, will be hosting Saturday Night Live on May 8, 2010.
At first glance, Friday night's meetup at the Bitcoin Center's downtown offices could have passed for any other start-up party. The crowd skewed young, many in hoodies and looking barely grown out of their Chuck Taylors, but mixed in were members of the blazer-and-blue-jeans set and even a select few people above the age of 35. Most, clustered in groups beneath the Center's green-lit high ceilings, stayed largely indifferent to the DJ spinning dance tracks.
But there were some things that were odd. First, there was no booze, due to the small but vocal contingent of grade school kids in attendance. Second, there were the dogs. Also, the people dressed [...]
This story is from Punch!, an app for the iPad which you can download for free here!
The “Nyan Cat” video features a crude digital image of a cat with the body of a Pop Tart. It sails through outer space, leaving a rainbow trail in its wake, to the accompaniment of a Japanese pop tune, for three minutes and 37 seconds.
Since it was uploaded to YouTube on April 5, 2011, it has logged more than 78 million views. Mindless, repetitive, and catchy, “Nyan Cat” is a quintessential artifact of viral culture.
While we may associate such phenomena with the digital age, virality has been around long [...]
David: So, had your mind blown in a very understated way by any octogenarian restaurant critics lately?
Maria: Yes, and marveled at their sangfroid, also.
David: If we will all remember this past week as the one in which Marilyn Hagerty, elderly journalist in Grand Forks, North Dakota, became famous for a very factual review of a new Olive Garden—and was then punished for it by having to talk to Piers Morgan on CNN, as she will be tonight—it's still a little unclear how she and we got here. That is, I'm still trying to figure out what The Internet thought about all this. It had some [...]
Five Memes That Are Mostly Just People Laughing at Working-Class African-Americans, in Order of Views
5. Latarian Milton
Have you visited the saddest IMDb page in existence? It belongs to Anne Sellors, a woman just barely featured in the 1984 BBC television play Threads, which imagines the aftermath of nuclear armageddon in England. What role did Ms. Sellors play? "Woman who urinates herself." She did not receive a credit and understandably never acted onscreen again.
Twenty-six years later, that lone performance is being recognized.
Late last month, it very nearly ended: a meme that had, weirdly, endured for years. When the copyright notices finally came to YouTube, and some of the videos were removed–well, they came far too late, and too few. Many of the videos survived, further extending the life of a joke that was never that funny to begin with.
If, as Mark Twain contended, nothing can stand against the assault of laughter, then the "Hitler Reacts" meme was tantamount to poking a dead horse. And yet, for years, everyone felt compelled to pick up their poking sticks and get to work on it. The conceit is one of shallow [...]