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Do Not Want, and its positive counterpart Do Want, are catchphrases typically used in reaction image macros to express one’s opinion on an image, video, or post. The phrase can also be modified with varying degrees of desire including “sort of want” and “don’t know if want.” It is used similarly to This Is Relevant to My Interests as a social cue to convey to other people whether the material is worth viewing.
On June 7th, 2005, blogger Jeremy Winterson compiled a set of photos he took of a Chinese bootleg DVD of Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith, comically mistranslated as Star War The Backstroke of the West. The movie included many Engrish translations including the “Jedi Council” becoming “The Presbyterian Church” and “the force” becoming “the wish power.” During the pivotal scene where Darth Vader learns of his death, his famous line “NOOO” was translated as “Do not want" in the subtitle.
On June 17th, 2005, Winterson’s blog post was featured on the official Star Wars blogsite by lead writer Bonnie Burton. Later that day, a link to the blog post was shared on BoingBoing. In July 2005, “Do not want” as a way to express disapproval appeared in a comment on deviantArt. In December 2006, both “do not want” and the positive “do want” image macros began to appear in archived 4chan threads.
In January 2007, the phrase “do not want” was placed over a photograph of the Broccoli Dog and posted in a FARK thread titled “Who’s the Boss Star posts naked pictures of self on web, Sadly is not Alyssa Milano.” In August 2008, “do not want” became associated with the Italian politician Massimo d’Alema after it was used to caption an photo of him on Pundit Kitchen. A year later, it was reposted on Motifake as a demotivational.
On January 27th, 2009, Winterson posted an updated version of his original blog entry with clearer screenshots taken on his computer. The phrases are also used as tags on Tumblr where “do not want” and “do want” are used as commentary about the content of the post. The same thing occurs on Twitter with the hashtags #donotwant and #dowant.
Since “do want” and “do not want” are very common phrases, it is hard to determine search interest. While search for “Backstroke of the West” peaked in August 2005, search for “do want” or “do not want” paired with the word “meme” did not start picking up until late 2009. “Dowant” appearing as one word, possibly due to its use as a filename, had a small peak in December 2008, possibly due to its use in holiday gift guides.