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internet The Best of News Reports Misunderstanding Internet Memes  

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The internet is still a young medium when it comes to memes. YouTube has only been around since 2005, old people still fall for spam emails and banner ads are still a thing that people click -- we're all still learning. So when people bring inside internet jokes out into the real world, the mainstream news media covers it... poorly. So, from completely misunderstanding jokes, to falling for pranks pulled by internet groups, here are some hilariously misguided, adorable reports from the mainstream media on internet memes.


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Video: YouTube
The Meme:
One of the cutest cartoon bears of all time, Pedobear was an ASCII image on the Japanese image board 2Channel, where it was mostly a symbol of people trolling each other. Whenever people in that community would screw with each other, Pedobear would be an almost "nyah nyah" type figure that represented the fact that someone had been "trolled", much like the currently used trollface.

But when it came to the states to the popular image board 4Chan (the 1,007th most popular website in the world), people started using it along with Loli hentai (animated Japanese pornography starring underaged cartoon characters -- you're welcome). Thus, Pedobear as a pedophile was born (hence the "pedo"). And since then, even though it is occasionally used by 4Chan's /b/ to identify threads where people are uploading illegal content (which is promptly taken down according to this Reddit AMA with one of the enigmatic mods of 4Chan), it has become a horribly, despicably inappropriate joke that people are just really having fun with.

It's the internet, and no matter what the horrible, terribly timely, most disgusting thing on earth might be at the moment, there will be jokes. And in this case, it just happens to be pedophilia. And it's a really "wrong" joke, but it's generally harmless.

After the "Pedobear Seal of Approval" stopped being his main thing, people just started putting him on images and generally everywhere on the internet.

For example:

Pedobear Image manipulations:

Pedobear Image Macros

And people even dress up as Pedobear at places like San Diego Comic-Con (as a joke):

So, unlike the news report says, next time you see a Pedobear sticker, insignia, street art or someone dressed as Pedobear, it's not a sign of people nearby raping your children in an empty storage units, it means people are spreading an internet joke.


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Video: YouTube
The Meme:
"You mad bro" is based in the art of disrespect, originating in freestyle disrespect battles of the hip hop music scene. The phrase "You mad" typically preceding reasons why the rapper is better than his rival. The meme was picked up after an episode of The O'Reilly Factor in 2003 that included an interview with rapper Cam'ron and his producer Damon Dash. During the interview, Cam'ron (off screen) says "You mad" to Bill, after Bill continuously cuts Damon Dash off and talks over him. Shortly thereafter, the first "You Mad (Bro)" image appeared on online forums, with Cam'ron laughing and pointing to the left.

The meme has evolved from an aggressive attack to either a taunt or another way of saying "calm down", depending on context; though both are rooted in claiming one's superiority. Typically it is just "you mad", "you mad, bro" or "u mad" text over a picture. There may be additional text which an explanation of why a person might be mad. This is one of the most diverse memes as it can be used for any situation based in controversy and it also easily crossovers with other memes. A football game seems like an easy place to find the meme, with the victors proudly proclaiming their triumph.

Here are some examples:




Cross-Meme love:

Although it is certainly poor sportsmanship, the good people of Ohio, are without a doubt overreacting to a couple of douches acting douchey by claiming it's racist (some of the comments on the YouTube page, however, are racist). The fact that the reporters are savvy enough to use Urban Dictionary, but can't do a Google image search is pretty impressive. Additionally, the definition they give has no references to race, and I'm sure there are a few that are, in fact, racist. It is the internet, after all, and free speech is more often than not abused. So is Fox 8 Cleveland knowingly reporting on nothing? Nothing like a made up controversy to pull up local viewership.

Pool's Closed

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Video: YouTube
The Meme
This, as many memes, was brought into this world thanks to Anonymous. Banding together, a group of 4chan users hopped onto the virtual game Habbo's Hotel and began blocking off various sections of the game to its users, such as (you guessed it) the pool. The image used is based on the avatar skin each member used.

The ironic thing about this particular meme is that it was created because it was believed that the moderators of Habbo's Hotel were abusing their powers against black-skinned avatar users. The movement was created to cause blockades and disrupt game play. Using a black avatar, with a suit and afro, Anonymous wanted the avatar to represent a rich black man. Eventually the movement spread to other forums and sites, like Encyclopedia Dramatic and YTMND. As a result, people began to print off images of the meme and posting them on real life pools, leading to ridiculous stories such as these to be in the news.

In Habbo Hotel:

The Standard:

Rick Rolling

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Video: YouTube
The Meme:
We've all experienced this at least once. Someone you trust links you to a YouTube video, a bit link, or some other kind link where you can't exactly discern where the path might take you. Nevertheless, you foolishly venture onward only to learn that you have been duped into watching and listening a Rick Astley video. Congratulations, you have successfully been rickrolled.

Beginning in 2007, 4chan gave us this little nugget, on the videogame forum /v/, where one user claimed the link led to a much desired GTA IV trailer. As it was a highly anticipated video, many fell prey to the original poster's bait-and-switch tactics and so it all began. Rick Rolling has since become a common prank, even used by Google as a joke on April Fool's Day. The coup d'etat however was in November of 2008 when Rick Astley was brought out as a surprised guest on one of the floats during Macy's Thanksgiving day parade.

The newsworthy story comes about 7 months early, in April of 2008, when the Mets were looking for a song for their 8th inning sing-a-long. And so the internet hoards came and voted like mad for the song; leading to boos and cries of displeasure from the crowd. The reporters then tracked down one of the producer of the song to get his opinion and, of course, rather than seeing it for the joke that brings tears to children, he sees it as Rick Astley once again "capturing the imagination" of the people and has always been an amazing song that people loved. Clearly, he didn't get the memo.

(Coincidentally, Rick 'gets' it and said that MTV was successfully "rickrolled" when he was nominated for Best Act of 2008).

Though it is mostly a video gag, there are also picture versions of the meme.


And, of course, here's the original video for any under-rock dwellers...


Over 9000

The Meme:
Originating from the English dub of the Dragon Ball Z anime, where the character Vegeta using his scouter, reveals to his cohort, Nappa, that their opponent (the hero, Goku)'s power level has exceeded the capabilities of his reader device. It spread and became a meme after a 4chan user, Kajetokun, linked to the original 17 second video. Images that followed, often manipulated the photo so they, too, would have a scouter like Vegeta.

The meme was picked up to describe anything where the number is extreme. It is the internet equivalent to the hyperbolic usage of words like "ton" and "over a million".


Original Video:

Photo manipulations

To be fair, this instance isn't Oprah's fault. She did exactly what Anonymous wanted her to do. They raided her message boards, claimed to be pedophiles and said they were over 9000 penises strong. What else is she going to do but inform her viewers?

Though, she also just could've informed her viewers that 4Chan exists. It'd have about the same effect.

All Your Base Are Belong To Us

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Video: YouTube
The Meme:
This news report took place a bit before internet memes were really a "thing". This was one of the first real internet memes that became ubiquitous. And although the reporter tells you not to care about the origins of the meme, I'm going to share them with you anyway! The original phrase comes from a poor English translation of a Japanese video game, Zero Wing, a 1989 side-scrolling shooter. Although it is difficult to pin point when it hit the internet, it is estimated to have begun in 1998.

The meme has gone from replacing the character's face with other faces to puns (the character in the video's name is Cats, so of course you'll find one with a cat) to transposing the text completely on to other images. The meaning of the various from nonsensical, to using it as Cats intended: to the victors, the spoils. I win, you lose. All your base are belong to me.

The best bit about the news report, however, is that the reporter says it's a fad that won't last. And yet, here we are. Still talking about it.

The Original Video really has the most examples of how this meme was so huge. It's what the news report is about:

But, here are some not originally included, just because:



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Video: YouTube
The Meme
If you don't know what Anonymous is before reading this article, then you may have been subject to some confusion. Anonymous is the collective name for a group (used loosely as there is no discernible organization) of internet users who primarily hang around on 4chan (likely the origin for the group, as it is not necessary to have a log-in to post on 4chan, leaving you "Anonymous"). Not all persons on 4chan are apart of this group, however, though it is the primary location to find Anonymous or and "Anon" (singular) in the wilds of the 'net.

There is no defined purpose of the Anonymous except to get the lulz. Sometimes they act almost admirably (such as the Habbo's Hotel incident), but it's mostly juvenile mischief (see: Over 9000 and Rick Rolling). Although Anonymous tries to seem like a tough guy vigilante, V for Vendetta type that cavaliers free speech and loathes the oppression of censorship, Anonymous rarely--if ever--successfully hacks of brings down anything substantial. This year, they had been expected to take down Facebook on the 5th of November, but that never happened. Obviously.

What is with all these Fox news channels, making news stories out of memes, anyway? Turning Anonymous and the rest of the internet into a giant fear machine.

Check out Ranker's list of the Best Anonymous Group Actions for more info on their hacking attacks.