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“It Would Be a Shame If…” is a phrase that is used in image macros to foreshadow an impending misfortune or mischief about to be carried out by the subject portrayed in the image. Featuring the “progressive zoom” perspective in the style of Tenso, the caption usually begins with an observation about a new, clean or otherwise desirable object belonging to someone else, followed by the contemplative “it would be a shame if…” and ends with a revelation of how the subject plans to ruin that aforementioned object.
The earliest archived comic of this nature began circulating online as early as July 2012, depicting a bird with the overlaid text referencing a freshly-washed car. On July 24th, it was submitted to Reddit, where it only earned 9 points. However, the following day it was reposted on We Know Memes, where it was shared more than 3100 times.
Prior to its colloquial usage on the Internet, the rhetoric of drawing attention to a nice person, place or thing before threatening to destroy it had long been associated with Mafia bosses or thugs in popular films and TV shows, usually as a way to imply that if the person does not comply with their wishes, they will destroy his or her coveted item. The phrase began to gain popularity online in 2010, when it became associated with Creepers, a hostile mob found in the video game Minecraft that silently chase players before emitting a short hiss and exploding, through a two panel comic posted by deviantArt user TurnThePhage on July 14th.
In July 2012, the “shitting pigeon” image macro was reposted on Cheezburger After Dark, among other sites. By September 2012, a thread for these image macros had appeared on the BodyBuilding.com forums, but was not very well received. In October, an image macro lamenting the distraction posed by the Cheezburger site Memebase during an exam week reached the front page of Memebase, yielding more than 2600 upvotes. Additional instances can be found on Meme Center, Tumblr and on MemeGenerator, where the phrase has been used in captions nearly 29,000 times.
BodyBuilding.com – Lets start a.. “It would be a shame if…” meme thread! 9/25/2012