Sunday, January 20, 2019

Is Big Chungus the Meme We Deserve?

Another misguided attempt at meme appreciation

During the winter break, the term “Big Chungus” crept uninvited into my consciousness. My sons were frequently joking about it while online. The younger son labeled one of his friends “Big Chungus” in the contacts list on his phone. I found the term somehow repellent, and my kids seemed to find it compelling, perhaps for the same reason.

When I asked what was a “Big Chungus,” I was directed to an online picture of a fat Bugs Bunny. This image, as it turns out, hails directly from a 1941 short involving Elmer Fudd, “Wabbit Trouble.”

My sons were unable to explain what was so particularly wonderful about this combination of image and name. 

And apparently it was not just popular at our house, but worldwide. Check out the entry if you doubt my report. Though that article traces the origin of the term on 4chan and its connection to the Bugs image on reddit, dankmemes and then spread into hundreds of iterations at the end of 2018, I remain unclear on the why of the story.

While the meme’s heyday has passed, I noticed Big Chungus was name-checked in an article in The NY Times magazine this weekend about Trump’s use of memes (“Brain Candy” by Willy Staley) 

I thought I should try to draw something about the Big Chungus meme since I had such an aversion to it. The Urban Dictionary reports: “it is said to mean anything and everything, including but not limited to a chunky anus.”  

Perhaps my aversion is not unjustified.

Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to (poorly) draw a fat rabbit? I put him on a Walmart style motorized scooter for the mobility-challenged for extra fun. As it turned out, I did not really want to draw a supermarket. All those boxes. Too much trouble to render on a napkin.

My younger son tells me that the rabbit doesn’t look like Bug Bunny, and that I have totally missed the whole point. 

But maybe, at this point, my missing of the point is the point.

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