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The “Carol Never Wore Her Safety Goggles. Now She Doesn’t Need Them” safety poster is one of several science and safety-related posters published by Flinn Scientific, Inc. an educational science supply company and manufacturer. The poster was introduced in the 2003 Flinn Scientific Catalog/Reference Manual and distributed free to science teachers who placed an order for laboratory chemicals with Flinn Scientific.
The poster in itself provided appeal in the fact that, while meant to be an obvious warning sign for chemistry students, the delivered message about the blindness risks by chemicals seemed somewhat offbeat and over-melodramatic.
From the poster’S release in 2003 to these days, many students, or simple “fans”, bought or got themselves copies from the initial poster to stick in their rooms. In addition, there has been a craving for goodies such as T-shirts showing Carol and/or her famous line. In the course of those events, the poster was immediately featured online on many websites and became, from that point, an internet phenomenon furthering its IRL fame.
Facebook played an important role in the meme’s spread for it allowed the creation of Fan clubs completely dedicated in sharing photos, jokes or anecdotes about the poster.
The first Facebook’s Club (“Carol Never Wore Her Safety Goggles, Now She Doesn’t Need Them”) was created around July 2006 and gathered more than 17,000 members and 164 photos.
One month later, another Facebook’s Fan club (“Carol never wore her safety goggles. Now she doesn’t need them.”) was created and gained more popularity this time, gathering more than 60,000 members and an impressive collection of 861 pictures.
That facebook’s page also mentions the presence of a Wikipedia entry talking about it that eventually got deleted:
Carol USED to be in wikipedia, but then they deleted it! (bastards)
this is what part of the article used to say…
Recently, the poster has become a cult status symbol, particularly among college students. The popular social site FaceBook has a group dedicated to the poster, with over 50,000 members. Many find the poster’s melodramatic appeal humorous, and hang it on their dorm room walls. Other individuals and groups that have appropriated the poster without permission from Flinn Scientific have sometimes added color accents to the graphics. The poster is also able to be found on the internet, such as the YTMND pages “Why Carol Why?” and “Adventures of Carol and Her Safety Goggles”.
While a good part are photos from people posing with their poster, the first sight of an exploitable trend appeared in this picture, dating from September the 13th 2006:
The user, named Ryan, who posted it added:
Behold the new Carol poster.
This is why we wear our safety goggles people.
We miss you, Carol.
It was a matter of time before someone jumped on it to make their own version of the poster, and it is in that state of mind that the meme spread to other websites.
The 17th of October 2006, SexualJudas made the first YTMND out of the meme:
NOTE: this YTMND is scheduled to be deleted in January of 2010
Although it got less than 500 views, another YTMND variation showed up 1 month later:
- http://whycarolwhy.ytmnd.com/ from Wingeh and gathering more than 5,000 views this time. (Has now been deleted)
- http://dianefinley.ytmnd.com/ in 2008
While the first instances are essentially based on the initial untouched poster with “dramatic” music in the background, the further evolution was inspired by the exploitable trend.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlxaroktS6I (embedded link deactivated for this one)
This exploitable trend went through several websites, some that were entirely dedicated to it:
- Photobucket’s album
- Gamespot’s thread
- Another more recent Facebook’s fan club
- 4chan’s archive from 2008
Finally, an Urban Dictionary entry was created in 2008.
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