Monthly Review: May 2011
Highlights: The month of May kicked off with some high-octane news events like the UK Royal Wedding and the White House confirmation of Osama bin Laden’s death, spawning a number of photoshop memes like Princess Beatrice’s Hat, Royal Wedding Girl and The Situation Room; Internet trolls had their way with the Forever Alone Flashmob on May 13th, when over a dozen of people were stood up by their blind dates on the corner of 46th Street and Broadway in Times Square, New York; Lying Down Game’s spin-off version Planking quickly became the unofficial sport of Australia, giving way to the inaugural Global Planking Day on May 25th; The May 21st, 2011 Rapture hoax inspired a practical joke known as “rapture bombing,” or the act of placing clothes on the ground to stage a scene as if someone had been raptured up to Heaven.
Google Insights results suggest that “planking” dominated the scene in terms of search interest, with Princess Beatrice’s Hat and The Situation Room closely trailing behind as second and third:
Princess Beatrice’s Hat
The highly anticipated UK Royal Wedding brought a lot of attention not only to the groom and the bride, but also two bridesmaids who were seen at the event: Princess Beatrice of York and the flower girl Grace Van Cutsem. Princess Beatrice’s Hat, an intricate bow-like chapeau created by British designer Philip Treacy, became an internet sensation when people began sharing photoshopped images of her hat via Facebook group, gaining over 144,000 likes and 2,100 photos (as of May 31st). On May 23rd, Beatrice’s hat was sold on eBay for $131,341.47, which will be split between the charities Unicef and Children in Crisis.
Meanwhile, Grace Van Cutsem, the 3-year-old goddaughter of Prince William, became a media darling known as the Royal Wedding Girl after she was seen pouting on the side as Prince Williams and Kate Middleton shared a kiss on the Buckingham Palace balcony. Must see: Companion Cubes / Flying Spaghetti Monster / Toilet Seat
The Situation Room
President Obama’s announcement of Osama bin Laden’s Death on May 1st also brought an unprecedented scale of internet buzz, most notably the photoshop meme The Situation Room based on an iconic picture of President Obama and his National Security cabinet getting briefed in the White House Situation Room. It also stirred a minor controversy when a Brooklyn-based Hasidic newspaper published the Situation Room photograph with State Secretary Hilary Clinton and another female staff member removed, claiming it was adhering to the editorial policy based on laws of modesy. In addition, the original photograph taken by Pete Souza is now the second most viewed photo on Flickr with nearly 2.5 million views. Must see: No Women version / No Men version / Superhero version
Forever Alone Flashmob
In March 2011, an Anonymous contingent started plotting a Forever Alone Flashmob event by creating fake profiles on dating sites and setting up a false rendezvous at the Times Square, New York City at 7:30pm on May 13th. More specifically, by the payphones on the corner of 46th and Broadway under a CCTV camera open to public access online. Fast-forward to last Friday at 7:30pm: The Earthcam website became temporarily unavailable due to high traffice volume (almost doubled according to Quantcast) and a number of loiterers on the corner were identified as prank victims by IRL spectators. Must see: KYM Interview: FA Victim / Trolls Pay a Visit
Planking & Global Planking Day
Planking, or the act of lying face down with arms to the sides in unusual public spaces, is the latest craze in Australia and New Zealand, which first began as a spin-off of Lying Down Game earlier in March. The meme saw its peak earlier this month when Acton Beale, a 20-year-old from Brisbane, Australia, fell to his death while attempting to “plank” off a 7th story balcony. On May 15th, Planking reached a new height with the first annual Global Planking Day, spreading the meme further across the world. Must see: Rugby Plank / Gym Bros / The Footy Show
American televangelist Harold Camping’s May 21st, 2011 rapture prediction brought out the trolls on a field day with Rapture Bombing, a practical joke that involves leaving clothes and shoes on the ground to stage as if someone had been teleported away up to Heaven. Also on eBay, someone offered a $100,000 post-Rapture insurance for one’s family members that weren’t good enough to be saved. On Craigslist, NY apartment seekers posted bulletins asking the believers to sublet their apartments after Rapture. Must see: eBay auction / Comedian David Copperfield raptured / Randy Savage vs. Rapture
Back on the Map
- Anonymous’ Operation Payback strikes back with a new target: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Last week, the nebulous group of Internet users known as “Anonymous” sent out the message to attack the United States Chamber of Commerce for backing the Protect IP bill.
- Bear Grylls finally responded to the pee-drinking Internet joke by posting a picture of himself sipping out of a teacup in a tweet about drinking his own pee. It received an overwhelmingly positive reaction from the Reddit community, and was voted up to the front page within a few hours.
- During his recent tour in Australia, Justin Bieber flew out Casey Haynes (also known as Zangief Kid) to his show in Melbourne, Australia as part of an anti-bullying campaign.
- We interviewed Ned Hepburn, who explained what inspired him to create “Fuck Yeah Sharks”, the first “Fuck Yeah” Tumblr.
- KYM Monthly Review – Complete Listing of Past Issues