Monthly Review: September 2011
As Google Insights suggests, the mobile messaging phenomenon of iPhone whales came out on top in terms of search volume:
Trending Emoticon: iPhone Whale
Have you seen this whale on your iPhone? iPhone Whale is an emoticon of a cartoon whale sent using iPhone’s messaging app. The concept became popular after a screenshot of an SMS conversation depicting the whales was posted by Tumblr user DaringCatastrophe on September 7th, 2011. Since its introduction on the microblogging service, iPhone whales have spawned dozens of variations like Amy Winehouse Whale, Harry Potter whale, baby whale, and more. The original post has since gained over 240,000 notes on the microblogging site.
Image Macros: Baby Godfather, Hipster Barista and More
Baby Godfather is an image macro series featuring a scowling baby dressed in a tuxedo with a bow-tie pointing to the ground with his index finger. The captions typically portray the baby as an infant version of Don Corleone, the fictional mafia boss character in Mario Puzo’s novel and Francis Coppola’s film adaptation The Godfather. The original image of the baby in tuxedo was first posted by Redditor timekeepsgoing in a thread titled “Reddit, I’ve seen the way you do it….Will you do it again??” on February 22nd, 2011. Be sure to check out other notable image macros from this month, like Unhelpful High School Teacher, Annoying Childhood Friend and Hipster Barista.
Viral Video: Going to the Store
Going to the Store is a viral 3D animation video of a nude man walking clumsily through a suburban downtown. Set to the background music “Little Ships” by Jean Jacques Perrey, the unique style of the animation appealed to millions of viewers on popular video-sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo. The short film was directed by David Lewandowski for the final episode of the anthology series Everything, which is part of the nonprofit film festival Channel 101.
Jersey Shore LOL: Stawp It, Rahn!
Rahn is the phonetic translation of “Ronnie” according to Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola, cast member of the MTV reality show Jersey Shore. Following the broadcast of a highly emotional episode in which Sammi’s on-and-off boyfriend Ron and their friend Mike get into a brawl, Tumblr bloggers began flooding the dashboard with image macros depicting teary-eyed Sammi saying things with heavy accent like “Stawp it, Rahn” and “.” The unconventional grammar in the text can be seen as phonetic translation of Sammi’s accent commonly associated with the “Guido/ette” subculture.
KYM Report: Nope! Chuck Testa
Nope! Chuck Testa is a catchphrase coined by Californian taxidermist Chuck Testa and filmmakers Rhett and Link. The one-liner became immensely popular after the ad made for his business received massive attention through social news sites like Reddit in mid-September. The commercial features several family members of Testa being fooled into thinking taxidermied animals were alive before being told by the man himself who proclaims “Nope! Chuck Testa.”
Cablegate: A Leak within WikiLeaks
In late August 2011, The Guardian reported that the complete archive of un-redacted cables had been publicly available for months, citing internal security failures including the misplacement of the encrypted file by a WikiLeaks volunteer following the denial-of-service attacks in early November 2010. The previously little known archive contains over 125,000 files including 34,687 on Iraq, 8,003 on Kuwait, 9,755 on Australia and 12,606 on Egypt. According to The Guardian, the set contains more than 1,000 cables containing the names of individual activists and around 150 identifying whistleblowers. Shortly after the media coverage of the unintended leak within WikiLeaks, the organization made available the unredacted archive on their website.
Scarlett Johansson Nudes
On September 14th, 2011, leaked nude photos of the 26-year-old actress Scarlett Johansson began circulating online. According to an article posted to The Washington Post’s blog, WorldStarHipHop.com was the first site to leak the photos online. A post was made to Reddit titled “Scarlett Johansson Leaked Ass Picture" by MetalKeirSolid that reached the front page with over 23,803 up votes that day. It linked to a photo of the actress taken with her mirror showing her exposed buttocks in the reflection.
Occupy Wall Street!
On September 17th, at least a thousand demonstrators gathered in lower Manhattan near Wall Street for #OccupyWallStreet, a flash mob meet-up campaign launched by counterculture magazine Adbusters and inspired by the Tahrir Square protests that led to ousting of the former Egyptian autocrat Hosni Mubarak. Amidst heavy police presence, demonstrators marched around Wall Street and Broad Street chanting, “all day, all week, occupy Wall Street” throughout the week, drawing the attention of news media outlets as well as remote supporters who were able to tune in through Livestream.
By the third day of protests, it was confirmed that at least seven demonstrators were arrested by NYPD, including at least four Anonymous protesters who were wearing their signature Guy Fawkes masks in violation of New York City’s anti-mask law dating back to 1845. On September 24th, over 80 protesters marching up Broadway were arrested by the police, with a small group of female protesters getting pepper-sprayed in the face. The macing was captured on camera and subsequently uploaded onto YouTube, where it gained millions of views and led the Anonymous collective to track the police officer down and reveal his identity online.
Netflix’s Biz Strategy FAIL: Qwikster
Earlier this month, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced via e-mail that the company will be split into a streaming and DVD-only services. While keeping “Netflix“ for streaming only, Hastings revealed “Qwikster” as the new brand for their traditional DVD mail services, named for quick delivery. However, Netflix neglected to notice that the Twitter handle for their new brand name was already in use by Jason Castillo and his smoking Elmo avatar, who gained thousands of followers overnight. On the following day, a Qwikster Tumblr was created, declaring itself “Netflix’s unwanted offspring.” Several parody Twitter accounts were also created, such as Qwiksters two through six, featuring pictures of other Sesame Street characters as avatars.
9/11 Tenth Anniversary: Tourist Guy Apologizes
A Hungarian man has apologized for editing a photo ten years ago to make it seem as if he was standing on top of one of the World Trade Center towers during the attacks of September 11th. The infamous image spawned an early photoshopping fad called “Tourist Guy” which placed the man in various historical disasters including the John F. Kennedy assassination, the sinking of the Titanic and the Hindenburg disaster. He stated that he only meant for the photograph to be seen by a few friends, and did not expect that people would take the image seriously.
His real name is Peter Guzli and the original photograph was taken on November 28th, 1997. Upon hearing the news of 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, Guzli edited the plane into the image as a joke for a few friends without realizing it would spread so quickly across the Internet. He provided the original undoctored photo, and several other photos from the same series, as proof to a Hungarian newspaper. Wired examined the evidence and confirmed that Guzli was the real tourist guy.
Back on the Map
- Anti-Planking Act in the Philippines: On September 19th, Quezon city’s representative Winston Castelo filed a bill called the “Anti-Planking Act of 2011,” which would serve as a “universal code of student” conduct and strictly prohibit planking “as a form of redress of grievance” during street protests. The proposal of Anti-Planking Act was first introduced by Castelo in 2010 after several news reports about safety hazards surrounding the global photo fad. The bill mostly remained inactive for over a year until this month, when a group of students were seen planking in the capital city of Manila during the nationwide transport strike over high oil prices.
- Charlie Sheen’s Comedy Central Roast: The troubled movie star Charlie Sheen guest starred as the subject of Comedy Central stand-up program Roast, which aired at the same time as the new season premiere of his old gig Two and a Half Men on September 9th. At the end of the roast, Charlie Sheen gave a speech of his own while playing the character of himself as a stand-up comedian. During his closing remarks, Sheen declared: “I’m done with the winning cause I’ve already won."
- Bear Grylls’ AMA Thread: Months after an AMA request was made back in May, Bear Grylls finally started an AMA thread on September 13th. He answered the questions via YouTube videos, which were collected on the DegreeMen channel. When Redditor bonds7 asked him how he felt about being an iconic internet personality, he responded with a reference to drinking his own pee.
- U MAD BRO sign accused of racism school: On September 3rd, 2011, Fox 8 Cleveland reported on a group of Ohio high school students who were accused of “racial intimidation” for displaying a “YOU MAD BRO” banner during a school football game.
“At the conclusion of the game, some of their students and parents put up a sign that we believe was racial intimidation, ethnic intimidation,” said Roderick Coffee, president of the Lake County chapter of the NAACP, who was also at the game.
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