Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Leeroy Jenkins Chicken Fight

At least his chicken has weapons:

I often find when my sons are annoying me by loudly repeating some nonsensical word or phrase, that if I look into the source of that phrase, I will discover that, not only did they not invent the annoying phrase, but they are referencing some widespread pop culture meme phenomenon that I had completely missed. The discovery of my own ignorance does make me more tolerant of the obsessive use of the catchphrase...for a while.

My older son's favorite exclamation of the last couple of weeks has been a loud, extended yell: "LEEEROY JENNNKKINNSSSS!!!"  This usually is heard as he runs off to do something that he should not...like hammer his brother on the head with a foam axe.

At this moment, half of you are shaking your head in sad disbelief that I had never heard of Leeroy Jenkins. For the those of you (in addition to my mom) who are as woefully uninformed as I was- and are still reading- I will try to explain as briefly as possible:

The shouting of "Leeroy Jenkins" made its way into the pop culture mainstream via a 2005 video of several players on the World of Warcraft MMORPG (that's "Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game" if you require further elucidation) At the beginning of the video, they are all standing around interminably and nerdishly discussing their strategy for an upcoming attack on a nest of dragon-like creatures. Leeroy, a member of the group who has been silently sitting turned away from the discussion, suddenly stands up and rushes off alone to attack, shouting his name loudly and gutterally like a battle cry.  The rest of the group is startled and disorganized, but follows him. Complete massacre of all players ensues. After all are dead, Leeroy comments nonsensically, "at least I have chicken."

Something in excess of 30 million views of the original video on YouTube led to appearances at video game conventions by Ben Schultz, the guy playing as Leeroy.  There were Leeroy references on multiple TV shows and commercials.  The shouting of the name has come to mean "Let's do this!" referring to foolish heroism in place of inactive analysis.

I fear that I have not done this topic justice. There is always the Wikipedia page or the one on "know your meme" One could even look at the original video, but it is pretty boring if you do not understand the delights of watching other people play video games.

There are scholarly articles on the Leeroy phenomenon, including one on the racism perhaps inherent in the way the name is said.  These are deeper and murkier waters than I can swim in based on a few minutes of research on Google, so I am going to have to leave it there.

The kids agreed with me that what Leeroy really needed was a fighting chicken. And once we had a fighting chicken, it was clear that he needed to be in a "chicken fight" pose. Apparently, no one knows what Ben/Leeroy meant when he said that at least he had chicken. Many theorized that he was cooking or ordering poultry when he should have been paying attention to his friends' strategy.

But we like the idea of a chicken with WoW weapons better.

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