Tuesday, March 19, 2019

All Star


Some 
Body Once Told Me
The World Was Going Roll Me
(I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed.)

I had a reasonably good opinion of my own intelligence once. There was some outside corroboration- I did quite well in school. My academic success was very much a triumph of drudgery rather than of innate intelligence. But if one drudges long and hard enough, one can mostly outrun the fear of being outed as a secret dummy.

Maybe until you have kids. Or at least until you have my kids.

The fact that I had a 4.0 GPA in college is now at best a surprising and amusing anecdote.  The ability to perform well in school has been a pretty useless skill in my adult life.

You might think that I could at least help my kids excel at school: help them proofread their papers, share tips on how to study for tests, suggest how to budget their time, etc.?

No. No. No. 
Absolutely not. 

I might even have an inverse effect when it comes to fostering academic prowess in my own offspring. 

You no doubt are wondering what this has to do with the napkin. Maybe not much. But to continue:

Like all things meme related, I was slightly confused when I noticed a year or two ago that my that my older son was repeatedly singing the opening lines to Smash Mouth’s 1999 song “All Star.” I was perplexed at the time, as I was pretty sure the song dated from before his birth. I don’t think I even recalled its use in the opening credits of the first Shrek movie- also released before his birth. 

As usual, I though this repeated singing of the song snippet was a sort of special torture he had cooked up for the adults in the house.

...but no, I discovered later, it was everywhere online.

This “All Star” / Shrek meme is a decade long, deep dark rabbit hole...which is actually a rabbit warren of significant proportions. I can’t even begin to explain it here.
(Go to https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/all-star?full=1 if you desire an overview)

But one particular iteration is the “Somebody Once Told Me” photo meme. In the first movie, Shrek throws open the door and bursts out of his outhouse, just as this line plays. 

The related memes feature two images with the text split between “Some/body once told me”  The second image is often something  surprising, upsetting and/or funny that is suddenly revealed from behind a door. Many of them are just variations on how funny it is when things go wrong for other people: falling down, blowing up, spilling something, generally getting clobbered in a demeaning way. 

In summary, the people rolling me have definitely burst out of my own personal outhouse. But I can only say, “get your game on, go play”

Cringe.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Attack of the Shaggy Meme


Stoner vs Kaiju and Saiyan

As I may have mentioned more than once in past posts, the Cerberus at the gates to my personal hell probably has three Scooby Doo heads. While I disliked the entire show during my own childhood, I was particularly unfond of the talking dog and his scraggly chinned, BFF-in-binge eating, Shaggy.

And during the last 15 or so years of parenting, I have felt like there is always a new Scooby Doo movie or TV show sneaking up on me while my back is turned. I wouldn’t say that our kids are major Scooby and Shaggy fans, but their appreciation for the pair has tested my patience on many occasions.

But until recently, I had no idea how Shaggy had been proliferating out of control in the world of online memes. In these memes, the joke is that he is amazingly powerful.

The genesis of online memes can often be random or mysterious, but All Powerful Shaggy has a couple precursors that are easy to spot.

I’ll assume we all know that Shaggy is usually a wimpy, fearful whiner, frequently manipulated into acting as ghoul-bait by promises of food...often dog food. 

But in “Scooby Doo!: Legend of the Phantosaur,” the 16th direct to video movie in the franchise (you read that right: 16th and it was only 2011) Shaggy is hypnotized to become a motorcycle-riding, bar-brawl-winning badass whenever he hears the word “bad.” 

In the earlier 2004 live action “Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed,” there was a memorable scene where Shaggy and Scooby consumed a fridge full of transformative potions, culminating in a ridiculously “buff” super muscly version of Shaggy. (This came immediately after the Shaggy with breasts and a crop top. But the less said about that, the better.)

Perhaps the availability of these source materials made it possible for Shaggy to become the new version of the “Chuck Norris facts” meme.  Chuck Norris facts, as helpfully explained on knowyourmeme.com are, “a series of satirical factoids and hyperbolic claims that characterize the American celebrity martial artist and actor as an extremely tough, virile and alpha-male archetype.” The meme originated in 2005, and lasted a long while. 

For instance: “When Chuck Norris goes to donate blood, he declines the syringe, and instead requests a hand gun and a bucket.”

The Shaggy memes are usually more extreme than even the Chuck Norris facts.

In early 2019, it was popular to declare that Shaggy was actually an all powerful god who could end entire universes using only a small percentage of his powers- i.e. “Shaggy was responsible for the Big Bang while using only 14% of his power.”

Shaggy’s memed all-powerfulness also has anime/ manga inflection to it. He has recently appeared as a modded- in character in the game “Jump Force.” 

Previously some 270,000 people had signed an online petition to have Shaggy added in to the latest version of Mortal Kombat, so clearly the desire to see Shaggy fight is shared by more than just a handful of gamers. 

On this napkin, Shaggy is knocking down Goku, one of the superhuman fighters from Dragon Ball, having already trounced Godzilla. 

I would have liked to include a few more antagonists: Thanos? Darkseid? King Ghidora?
But let’s face it, just Goku and Godzilla were challenge enough.