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Poster Memes

Last posted Sep 02, 2009 at 01:46PM EDT. Added Aug 27, 2009 at 06:01PM EDT
23 posts from 5 users

Now that I’ve finished my entry for the Obama “Hope” Posters, I’ve been thinking about making entries for two other famous poster memes:

- The Che Guevara Photo, and
- Andre the Giant Has a Posse

First of all, would you consider these memes? I’m pretty sure most of you will agree that Che is a meme, but the OBEY Giant poster? I’m not sure. Secondly, if they are both memes, would you like to help me research moar info about them so we can make a good entry?

Thank you.



Che Guevara Photo template

OBEY Giant pic

Aug 27, 2009 at 06:01PM EDT

Hold up. Your Obama Poster entry is still lacking in details about the copyright controversy with the Associated Press.

Aug 27, 2009 at 06:49PM EDT

Oh, right. I’m sorry. I’m just tired, is all, so I may have missed a few details. I’ve been up all morning with my band, practicing for four hours straight, and I literally collapsed when I got home. I’ll get to work on it right now.

Aug 27, 2009 at 06:57PM EDT

It’s cool. You don’t have to rush to get it done all at once, but I’m just pointing out what it needs before it can be confirmed.

Aug 27, 2009 at 07:34PM EDT

Okay, time to resurrect this and get to work on it. I’m only working on Che Guevara because my research is telling me that the OBEY poster isn’t memetic enough. If anyone can convince me otherwise, I’m dropping the Has a Posse thing.

Che Guevara:

Che’s got everything.

Aug 29, 2009 at 01:16PM EDT

The Onion has a pretty funny t-shirt.

Mabye it’ll help.

I like to mention the Onion as much as possible.

Aug 29, 2009 at 01:55PM EDT

I’m re-resurrecting this discussion for anyone with useful information about this meme’s spread to different sites on the net. I don’t need any moar info about its history, I’ve annoyingly got it all down to a “T”. All I need is some info about its spread on the interwebz. The reason why I’m not doing it myself is because I got lazy after trying to summarize (and I still am, DAMMIT! Why’d you have to be such a long history!) the long history of the Che Guevara photo!

I’d appreciate some help, fellow researchers. Thanks.

Aug 30, 2009 at 01:18AM EDT

Spread? Just put it into Google Trends, push button, recieve graph.

Aug 30, 2009 at 01:30AM EDT

No that’s a trend.

The spread relies on figuring out what forum it originated on, what forums it became popular on, and the specifics of when and how this happened to the best of your knowledge.

Aug 30, 2009 at 01:32AM EDT

Start by looking at Google Insights. Find the beginning of the trend.
Then do a regular google search for the name of the meme. Click the Advanced options view, then use the date range function to end with the beginning of the trend, and begin some time prior. This should help you get closer to the first logged references online.

But to be honest, Che Guevera’s image was an iconic meme popular on T-shirts for ages before it made it’s way online. Che’s image is a great meme, but it’s not really internet-related enough to be called an Internet Meme.

Aug 30, 2009 at 01:37AM EDT

Famous art is ALWAYS imitated.

Aug 30, 2009 at 01:37AM EDT

@ Chris

You have somehow crushed my spirit. I have done so much research on the Jim Fitzpatrick version of the Che Guevara photo (, that it almost feels heart-breaking to stop doing research on it now. I’m actually working on the entry as we speak. I only want to document how the poster became a famous template for photoshoppers (doesn’t that make it an internet meme?). I don’t have any links but I’m pretty sure the template came out some time around 2006 and 2007.

Also, I know that famous is always imitated. That’s why famous memes always have variations. But, I know what you really mean by that statement. Oh, well… It’s time for me to walk this empty street, on the boulevard of broken memes. But still, I’ve done too much with it already that I’ll submit it anyway. It’s okay if you leave it in the Submissions section, I won’t mind. At least it will be documented.

Aug 30, 2009 at 02:19AM EDT

Well, let’s just see what happens. I’m not sure we can tell for sure until we see the submission.

Aug 30, 2009 at 02:33AM EDT

Okay, I’ve finished work on it and I’m about to submit it. It may look a little messy with all the blockquotes and stuff, so I’m sorry for that. It was the best I could do on short notice. If it’s TOO messy, you admins have the free will to fix it up. You guys also have the power to remove any unnecessary info that I might have added. I got really engrossed into the history of the Guevara photo that I think a lot of it is unnecessary. Anyways, here goes nothing.

Aug 30, 2009 at 02:58AM EDT

Nice work. It does need some touching up, however, it seems we have a “confirmed” on our hands, I think.

Aug 30, 2009 at 03:04AM EDT

The main reason that I don’t think of the Che poster as an internet meme, and actually the Obey sticker as well (out of curiosity, why didn’t you use the actual “Andre the Giant has a Posse” image for your example?) is the fact that their use on the internet isn’t in any way different from how they were used prior to their introduction to the internet. They have been extensively parodied in this same way in real life (and possibly moreso in the case of the Obey sticker). I could understand if you were exclusively talking about the popular use for Photoshopping, but even then it’s hard to see that as a seperate concept from previous parodies. And given the intense focus on the actual history of the Che image rather than it’s history on the internet, I don’t think that was what you meant.

I saw that you mentioned needing more information on it’s spread on the internet, so I’m assuming your article is incomplete. However the extensive information present provides a very solid case for it being a meme prior to its introduction to the internet.

…sorry if that seemed long-winded.

Aug 31, 2009 at 04:17PM EDT

Well, it depends on the origin of the obey sticker, doesn’t it?

Aug 31, 2009 at 04:20PM EDT

The reason the Obama Sticker is considered an internet meme is primarily because of the broad impact of the ObamiconMe macro generator that enabled people to create new instances without the need of photoshop skills.

Aug 31, 2009 at 04:23PM EDT

The Obey sticker was a variation of the original Andre the Giant sticker produced by the same person, and was also subject to the same sort of parody and distribution as the original.

Also, the Obama poster is outside the scope of what I am talking about.

Sep 02, 2009 at 01:23PM EDT

@Histre, I misread what you wrote the first time, but now I realize we actually view this the same way.

The original Andre the Giant Has a Posse sticker did, in fact, lead to the development of the Obey Sticker, both by Shepard Fairey. A number of variations were created around Andre’s image, and these spread across the nation in physical space by anyone who happened to just simply like the image. It was a successful meme prior to it’s introduction to the Internet, and it’s an interesting story, but because it was a huge meme prior to going online, it’s not really an Internet Meme, so it’s outside of the scope of what we would cover on this site.

It was a huge art phenomenon – paradigm-shifting, even – but it’s not relevent to the larger data set that we’re trying to build here: trends that are started and live mostly online.

Sep 02, 2009 at 01:38PM EDT

PS: For those who are interested in learning how the whole “Andre/Obey” sticker campaign started back in 1989, there’s a good history at the following site:

I definitely recommend reading this. It’s different than an Internet Meme, but still a hugely important real-life phenomenon.

Sep 02, 2009 at 01:43PM EDT

Yikes! That wiki is awful.
I had googled phenomenology giant, and found that. I was looking for this:

Skip the wiki. It’s written from a really limited perspective.

Sep 02, 2009 at 01:46PM EDT

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