There’s a very good entry over at SEB regular KPatrickGlover’s blog titled We Are Freaks. It’s about how those of us who spend way more time than we probably should on the Internet have all these inside jokes and memes we’ve been exposed to that the vast majority of people in the world haven’t:
Try this little experiment. Pick a public place, a grocery store, a bar, maybe a mall. Stand there with a clip board and ask random strangers what their favorite lolcat is. Ask them if they know that longcat is looonnnggg. See if they know who Anonymous is locked in battle against.
We have this weird disconnect with the world these days. The internet has provided us with such a detailed method of social interaction and we have formed amazing communities around it. Places where we interact with hundreds, even thousands of people. We spend so much time there, that it’s easy to forget that most of the people around us in real life, well, don’t.
And when we start saying things like “Jesus Christ, it’s a lion, get in the car”, they just sort of stare at us blankly. It’s a situation I’ve become adjusted to and even enjoy. I like those blank stares. I like being in on the joke, no matter how stupid the joke may be.
I’d never really sat down and thought about this before, but it’s definitely true because I’m often trying to explain to other people why something stupid I just said is actually really, really funny. Often it’s my Mom who has the typical reaction of shaking her head at me and deciding it’s not worth asking for a better explanation. My wife, while not as well versed as I am, is immersed enough in Internet and gaming culture because of her association with me that she’ll often toss out a meme or joke just as readily only to have me be the only person in the room who picks up on it. At which point we try explaining it, usually to my Mom, who shakes her head at both of us and tries to be satisfied that at least we’re a happy, if somewhat deranged, couple. Even so my mom and, oddly enough, my dad are both immersed enough to at least know what LOLCats are. Hell, my dad actually reads Cute Overload regularly and shares what he finds with me.
There’s so much of that stuff on the Net, though, that it can be difficult keeping up. In the examples given above by KPG I was already familiar with LOLCats, Long Cats, and who the hell Anonymous are (is?), but I wasn’t particularly familiar with “Jesus Christ, it’s a lion, get in the car!” So I did what I do when I need to edumacate myself and Googled it. Turns out its likely origins is with a LOLCat picture, one that I’ve actually seen before and forgot about. It’s also said that it’s what is known as a Rogue Punchline, which is a form of humor I’ve practiced for years without ever even realizing it. I ended up spending a half hour going through various Wikipedia and Uncyclopedia articles learning about the various types of memes and jokes to be found on the Net. Many I am already familiar with, but there were more than a few I wasn’t.
The appeal, for me anyway, is the subversive nature of that kind of humor. The first time you use it around someone they’ll look at you like you’re an idiot, but if you continue to use it repeatedly around said person they’ll slowly start to understand it and find it actually funny. One of the people I worked with at the job I just quit was a fellow by the name of Nate who is a walking treasure trove of memes and jokes of this sort. I knew I had found a fellow Internet Geek when one day he tossed out the classic: My Pokemons, let me show you them, which is easily modified to “My X, let me show you them” where you replace X with whatever the hell you want to show someone. He would use these jokes with wild abandon in his conversations and half the time I was the only person giggling his ass off over them. Which just goes back to what KPG was saying in his entry. It was kind of fun being one of the few people in the group to know what the hell Nate was prattling on about and I reciprocated in kind probably just as often.
Having gotten this far into this entry I suddenly realize that I don’t really have a point to all of this other than to give KPG some link-loving for helping me with another paradigm shift. Chalk it up to having gotten up way too early this morning without actually firing up the brain first.