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Hungaromém (also spelled as Hungaro mém, Hungaro-mém or Hungaromeme), alternatively known as hungarizált mémek (literally “Hungarianized memes”) is/was a regional meme in Hungary, which appeared around early January 2013. It generally consists of photoshopping a black, curvy mustache onto various characters and adding a Hungarian caption or modifying the existing one, but in a faux language style which could be considered rural, gentlemanlish, gipsy-like or somewhat archaic to modern-day urbanized audiences.
The meme was initially applied to rage/reaction faces and other meme characters, but soon arbitrary character/entity depictions followed, using, for example, screen captures, posters, photos or even logos in some cases. Some instances of the meme are not simple image macros, but highly photoshopped or redrawn images with a “Hungarian” theme added.
It has to be noted that a lot of common memes were “Hungarianized” before the appearance of Hungaromém (most notably by the visitors of Hungary’s equivalent of 4chan, lohere.net), but they didn’t involve the exaggerated/parodic style of grammar or the mustache that the Hungaromém utilizes.
Apart from referring to the whole concept, the lower-case word hungaromém could also refer to individual instances of the meme (for example “six hungaroméms”).
The first instance of Hungaromém, using ’60s Spider-Man, was uploaded to a Tumblr blog named TERMINÁL by the user helloanevemb (literally “hellomynameisb”) sometime in January 2013. The blog has since been deleted.
This first image was made using Meme Generator’s “Spider-Man Approves” template, having the caption “A csudálatos/Pauk-embör”, which translates to “The Amazing Spider-Man” (referring to the official Hungarian title for the 2012 Spider-Man movie), written in a faux-rural grammar style. A stylistically similar English rendering would be something like “The Bewilderin’ Cob-Lad”.
Spread from Tumblr to Facebook and small humor sites
The original image from Terminál was reposted by multiple pages and people on and off Facebook presumably starting from around the 14th of January. The initial repost was most probably made on the 14th, on humorous/parody Facebook pages SzuperBlog and 1 millióan a Csillámfaszlámákért, the latter sharing from the former, and combined, the two reposts received several hundred shares and likes as of December 2013.
Outside of Facebook, humorous image collection site NyúltamPontCom also reposted the same image on the same day. In the following days and weeks, similar low-profile humor sites/blogs also reposted it:
Bigyócsárda.com on the 15th,
Szilvásbukta.com on the 16th,
Mindentaszemnek.com on the 17th,
the newly-created Hungarizált Mémek around the 4th of February,
Mi folyik itt? on the 9th,
and Erős Pista sometime in March.
The original image was also posted on the personal blog FZ blog as early as the 14th of January.
Gaining popularity and evolving
A Facebook user account with the name A Csudálatos Pauk-embör was created on the 16th of January. Two Facebook pages with the name Hungarizált Mémek were created in January, the first one (facebook.com/HungarizaltMemek) on the 27th, and the second one (facebook.com/hungaromemhu) on the 28th.
As of December 2013, the former had more than 4200 likes, and the latter had over 74000 likes. The latter page was extended into an image collection website named Hungarizált Mémek (hungaromem.hu) at an unknown date, its initial post being the original Spider-Man hungaromém.
A third Facebook page was created with the name Hungaro-Mém Hungarizált Mémek (facebook.com/HungarizaltMem) on the 3rd of February, and it was extended into a blog named Hungaro Mém (hungaromem.blog.hu) on the 4th.
Another image collection site named HungaroMém (hungaromem.net) was started on the same day.
Before the second half of February, the aforementioned Facebook pages and image collection sites already posted a relatively large number of (partially user-submitted) hungaromém images, some following the image macro format, some entirely differing from it, but all using the same theme of humorous grammar change. As the idea spread, the meme was applied to screen captures or posters of movies and TV series, whereas an overlay text caption relevant to the movie/series was added. The caption would either refer to the title of the work, or in rarer cases, to a quote, the plot or a character.
Also there were some images that didn’t follow the strict rules of the original “image-macro-with-mustache” format, for example, there were modified logos which were made to bear a curvy mustache, an alternatively spelled trademark and occasionally a “Hungarianized” slogan. Some of the hungaromém images were made by entirely reimagining a certain concept, for example a title card of a television show.
Early media coverage
Early media coverage of the meme included a post on science-fiction blog SF.blog as early as the 15th of January, a personal blog post and its associated thread on IT portal LOGOUT.hu‘s BLOGOUT section on the 17th, and a thread on IT/tech portal SG.hu’s forum SG Fórum on the 23th. A Facebook page named Hungaro-mém (facebook.com/pages/Hungaro-mém) was launched on the 4th of February, which claimed being related to both the Logout.hu and the SG.hu forum thread.
Mainstream coverage and declining popularity
The meme began to be generally considered “overused” and “boring” in February, whereas it started to receive mainstream coverage, which included an article on the Tech column of Hungary’s biggest news portal Index on the 31th of January, and another follow-up Tech article (admitting the rapid evolution of the meme’s original format) on the 8th of February.
Art and design blog Usual Visual, being under the domain of Transindex, Index’s Transsylvanian sister portal, covered the meme on the 4th of February, including a mustache template. According to this blog, there was another Hungaromém Facebook page (facebook.com/HungaroMem) which was created on the 19th of January, and which already had more than 32000 likes on the 4th of February, but this page can’t be found now.
Regional news site Pannon Krónika also covered the meme in its Culture column on the 25th of February. The article stated that the “creators’ Facebook page” received more than 70000 likes in two weeks, but it didn’t stated which page was it.
The 5th installment of Magyar AMV Rettenet (literally “Hungarian AMV Terribleness”, a Hungarian multi-editor project similar to AMV Hell) debuted on the 6th of April at Spring MondoCon 2013, and in addition to using hungaromém images between individual clips, it featured a segment which was edited to have a Hungaromém-appropriate theme both in visuals and music.
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