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Internet Tough Guy (ITG) (also known as “E-Thug”) is a pejorative term used to refer to an online commenter who threatens physical violence against other posters when confronted with criticism or trolling. Often found on message boards and blogs, typical actions of an ITG involve boasting about their physical strength and degrading critics with insults.
The earliest known use of the phrase appeared on the Elite Fitness message board on May 13th, 2002, when forum member SSAlexSS asked other board members about the purpose of powerlifting exercises. In response, member t3c responded that SSAlexSS was ignorant about proper training methods, and referred to him as an “Internet tough guy” (shown below).
On November 21st, 2002, the phrase “Internet Tough Guy” was used in a post on the roller coaster enthusiast forum CoasterBuzz, paired with the abbreviation “ITG.” On January 23rd, 2004, an entry for the abbreviation “ITG” was created on Urban Dictionary, five months before the full phrase was added to the site. On January 27th, 2004, SomethingAwful creator Lowtax published an article breaking down the traits of an internet tough guy (shown below).
On August 5th, 2009, the Internet humor site Cracked published a history of internet trolling, noting that a stereotypical Internet Tough Guy would offer up a physical address where other posters could meet him for a real life duel. The first archived 4chan thread from the /b/ (random) board mentioning the phrase was posted on May 3rd, 2007, in reference to a raid on the virtual avatar site Subeta. The phrase was also used on the /v/ (video games) and /x/ (paranormal) boards that year. Since 2007, more than 4700 threads have been archived with the phrase. People have also used the term as a way of calling out users who fit this persona, which can be seen on MiltownKid.com, a personal blog, and writing forum BunnyRabbitSex. There is also a TV Tropes page and a Tumblr tag for Internet Tough Guy related content.
Shit Was So Cash
The “Shit Was So Cash” began circulating on 4chan in 2007, with the purpose of trolling other users from the perspective of an Internet tough guy. The copypasta was accompanied by a photo of a young tanned man holding a bottle of alcohol next to a tanned blonde woman.
Guido Sensation was a video uploaded to YouTube on May of 2009, which featured an angry man talking into a webcam making strange threats to a person named Nick (shown below). Several parody versions of the video were subsequently created on YouTube, mocking a variety of social and ethnic stereotypes.
Stop Calling Me a Homo
The phrase “stop calling me a homo” comes from a video by YouTuber ChristianU2ber, who angrily threatened others users who were calling him a “homo” (shown below), leading many to label him an “Internet tough guy.”
Navy Seal Soldier Copypasta
A popular piece of copypasta associated with the internet tough guy term are a series of stories and statements of a Navy Seals soldier about his past achievemens and current capabilities through military force. Various versions exist of the copypasta, with each part often being used to create derivatives of the original. The first archived instance of the copypasta was posted on 4chan’s /r9k/ board on October 31st, 2011. It was later added to the Encyclopedia Dramatica article on May 6th, 2012.
What the fuck did you just fucking say about me, you little bitch?
I’ll have you know I graduated top of my class in the Navy Seals, and I’ve been involved in numerous secret raids on Al-Quaeda, and I have over 300 confirmed kills. I am trained in gorilla warfare and I’m the top sniper in the entire US armed forces. You are nothing to me but just another target. I will wipe you the fuck out with precision the likes of which has never been seen before on this Earth, mark my fucking words. You think you can get away with saying that shit to me over the Internet? Think again, fucker. As we speak I am contacting my secret network of spies across the USA and your IP is being traced right now so you better prepare for the storm, maggot. The storm that wipes out the pathetic little thing you call your life. You’re fucking dead, kid. I can be anywhere, anytime, and I can kill you in over seven hundred ways, and that’s just with my bare hands. Not only am I extensively trained in unarmed combat, but I have access to the entire arsenal of the United States Marine Corps and I will use it to its full extent to wipe your miserable ass off the face of the continent, you little shit. If only you could have known what unholy retribution your little “clever” comment was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your fucking tongue. But you couldn’t, you didn’t, and now you’re paying the price, you goddamn idiot. I will shit fury all over you and you will drown in it. You’re fucking dead, kiddo.
Tough Guy Animals
The original instance in the Insanity Crow image macro series and an image and a zoomed in photo of a cow featured captions associated Internet tough guy responses, including “What the fuck did you say?”, “Fight me IRL” and “Do you even lift?” (shown below).
The Suburban Hardass advice animal series often features captions associated with boastful and aggressive Internet commenters.